In honour of Valentine’s Day and to share the latest review for Tales from the Irish Garden, here is how Queen Filigree found love in the Emerald Isle.
The Magic Garden comes to Life
A month after the arrival of Queen Filigree and her court, springtime had brought magnificent colour and creatures to the magic garden. However, there was still sadness in the heart of its queen as she had lived in her magnolia tree palace for over 700 years. She had been married twice in that time. Once for over 450 years to a tall and dashing king who had made her heart sing. But he had fallen for one of her ladies in waiting, and after fifty years in exile, had been banished to the world of humans.
The Queen in those fifty years had been romanced by many who were keen to be king of her magic palace and its riches, but only one had captured her heart. A blonde and very handsome prince who was some years younger; with the singing voice of a lark. They had married one summer and had been blissfully happy for twenty years until one day; completely out of the blue, her king had been struck down by a bite by a mosquito and had never recovered. Her majesty had been heartbroken but she was still a young woman as far as fairy queens go, and she yearned to find someone to dance and laugh with, and to kiss beneath the glittering firefly chandelier.
Apart from this lack of male attention, she had to admit that their move to this green and welcoming island had been for the best. Despite missing some of the refinements of her palace in Spain, she appreciated that those had taken place during her 700 years on the throne. There was no reason why she could not bring some of those niceties to this palace in time. Income was beginning to pick up from sales of the very special honey that was being produced by the Queen Bee and her subjects. A local amber nectar brewery had commissioned a barrel a month to add to one of their special brews for the coming summer festivals they so loved here. A barrel of honey took a great deal of bees and time to produce, but the income would keep the court in food and necessities for an entire year.
The people were a delight too, and she was particularly fond of the Storyteller whose life had also held sorrow. He was reluctant to talk about his family but she sensed that one day he would share what was troubling him. He had been so generous, and clearly she and her court filled a void in his life; which brought her joy. And as for the Dapperman, he was a positive gift for any woman of taste, and she delighted in her new wardrobe of such exquisite design and colour.
The storyteller assured her that the magic garden that surrounded the magnolia tree was completely safe to venture forth into, and with the warmer weather of late spring, Queen Filigree found herself in a wild part of the garden with the scent of roses perfuming the air.
She sat on top of a broad headed mushroom by some old steps; guarded by her faithful eagles who attended her whenever she left the safety of the palace. They had flown across from Spain at the wing tips of her carrier goose, and now resided at the top of the palace with the pigeons until needed.
She was wearing one of the new day dresses that had been designed by the Dapperman, and her hair had been newly styled by her chief lady in waiting. She crossed her legs and admired her new emerald green shoes that matched the silky material of her dress, thinking how sad it was that there was no handsome suitor to admire it.
As the heady scent of the roses filled her nostrils, she closed her eyes and let the rays of the sun fall onto her flawless complexion. Was she really destined to spend the next thousand years of her life alone? Was there anyone in this new and strange land who would be suitable for a woman of her position? Suddenly she sensed that her eagles were moving around in an agitated manner and opened her eyes… She was somewhat reassured that the Storyteller had been adamant that no harm would ever befall any of the court in his magic garden, but something had spooked her guardians.
‘Well now, aren’t you a sight for sore eyes’. With a gasp of outrage, Queen Filigree turned to find herself staring into bright green eyes beneath an unruly mop of red hair. She blushed as she realised that she was staring, but she had to admit the face that went with the eyes and the hair was remarkably handsome.
‘Do you know who you are addressing?’ she demanded haughtily. She was even more annoyed when this was met with very manly laughter, and turned to her guardians who were standing wing to wing in front of their queen.
‘Be gone you impudent wretch or I shall set my guardians on you and you won’t be laughing then.’ She crossed her arms and gave the man her most regal glare.
‘Suit yourself darlin’, but I have come a long way to meet you, and the least you could do is invite me down to that palace of yours.’
‘Darlin’, who are you calling darlin’ you ruffian.’ With that Queen Filigree got off the mushroom and began to walk back through the garden with her eagles close behind.
From behind her she heard footsteps along the stone path and looked over her shoulder to see the tall stranger following. She had to admit, in his heather coloured linen trousers and fitted tweed jacket he looked like a fine figure of a man, and for a moment she wondered if she had conjured him up when day-dreaming of romance in the sun?
‘Why are you following me you horrid man, go away or I will order my eagles to tear you to pieces.’ Even her eagles looked at her sideways when she uttered this bit of nonsense. They hadn’t picked anything to pieces except their dinner for centuries; relying on their size and wingspan to intimidate.
‘Allow me to introduce myself your majesty,’ the stranger softened his voice to a rather alluring tone. ‘My name is Prince Ronan, and I have come to pay the respects of my father and mother, King Patrick and Queen Seren of the Kingdom of Sean-Choill in the forest to the south of here.’ With that the prince stopped on the path and waited for the queen to respond.
‘Well why didn’t you say so in the beginning?’ Unexpectedly, the queen felt a little fluttering in her heart at this surprising turn of events.
‘You may follow me and make your formal presentation to the court, but please maintain your distance.’ She had to say, she didn’t appreciate the grin that spread across this impudent prince’s face but, as she turned back to the path, she found herself smiling in anticipation.
Her heart was not the only one that was all of a flutter at the appearance of this strikingly handsome redheaded man, as he crossed the threshold of the palace, and was escorted by the royal guard into the throne room… The queen flounced into the velvet covered seat and crossed one elegant leg over the other. She beckoned to Prince Ronan to approach; waiting for him to drop to one knee in respect… Instead he walked right up to her and took her delicate hand in his own. He grinned at her, winking, as he leant over and kissed the captured palm, before returning it to her lap. Despite the audacity of the man, Filigree had to admit that she had not felt this young in the last 50 years.
He stepped back and stood with his hands behind his back, and once Filigree had regained her composure, she smiled regally and gestured to one of the footmen to bring across a chair to sit on.
‘You may now speak,’ she announced imperiously.
‘Thank you so much your majesty,’ he smiled charmingly. ‘I am here on behalf of my mother Queen Seren, to ask if she and my father might pay a visit next month, when they travel through the magic garden on their way to their summer home in the land of Meath.’
His green eyes stared directly at the queen and she felt a blush rising up from her neck to bring a glow to her cheeks.
‘That would be entirely acceptable, and please convey my pleasure at the prospect of meeting the King and Queen. We would be delighted to accommodate them in the guest chambers and hold a dinner in their honour.’
She gestured to her court social director and rose from the throne. ‘Please accompany Sir Justin to his office where you can discuss the dates and times of arrival and please convey my best wishes to your parents’
He bowed elegantly, and dismissed, turned and followed Sir Justin out of the throne room.
However, just as he reached the ornately carved doors, Prince Ronan turned and winked at her, causing her to gasp with irritation, tinged with a little bit of excitement. Perhaps it might be time to call in Dapperman to plan her new dress for the royal visit.
©Tales from the Irish Garden 2018.
About Tales from the Irish Garden
The queen of Magia and her court have fled their sun filled Spanish homeland and the palace beneath the magnolia tree.
Arriving on the backs of geese and swans, they seek sanctuary in the magic garden of The Storyteller who welcomes them to the Emerald Island, a place where rain is almost a daily feature. Grateful for their safe haven and the generosity of their host, the queen and her courtiers embrace their new surroundings with delight.
As the seasons change throughout the year, they come into contact with many of the human and animal inhabitants of the garden and the surrounding forest, all of whom have a story to tell. This is a magical fairy story infused with fantasy and romance, as well as opportunities for mischief in the company of goblins, witches and Lerpersians. Suitable for ages 10 to 100 years old…..
One of the recent reviews for the book on Amazon Australia.
In the frequently confronting context of contemporary literature, how delightful to be lured into quite another territory and immerse yourself in a fully-fledged fairy story! With royal pigeons lovingly reared over centuries, minute messages written and rolled up on onion paper, the symphony of fairy gossamer wings as fairies dance around in a panic, and diets of quail’s eggs, served on oat and almond bread toast and more, this is indeed a magical feast.
Yet ‘Tales from the Irish Garden’ is far more than a fairy story …
In this stand-alone sequel to her introduction to the magical world of Magia, author Sally Cronin tells the story of Queen Filigree and her court who, obliged to flee their sunny Mediterranean home, seek refuge in the very different landscape of the ‘Emerald Island’. The characters they meet there, and the stories they in turn tell in their quest for personal and collective happiness, deftly hook us in from beginning to end.
Supernatural her characters may be, but they share some very ‘human’ traits – from minor squabbling to dealing with dressing for a cooler climate or the ramifications of property development and building like many of us! Seeing their struggles, their imperfections, and their all too human tendencies is a sobering experience, as we recognise ourselves in them. Thus, the tales function at one level as a myth about the human condition, leaving us that much more self-aware, as well as entertained. In lively and whimsical fashion, the author skilfully blends elements of traditional folklore with a sensitivity to contemporary issues; the result is an enchanting and enriching fictional journey.
The fanciful nature of the story and the sometimes capricious nature of its characters is perfectly complemented by the beautiful illustrations by talented artist Donata Zawadzka.
The author’s flair for story-telling and her innate sense of humour ensures that the book will delight anyone with an imagination, of any age and background.
Read the reviews and buy the book on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tales-Irish-Garden-Sally-Cronin-ebook/dp/B07HMXTFKG
And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Tales-Irish-Garden-Sally-Cronin-ebook/dp/B07HMXTFKG
All my books in Ebook are available for Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6
And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2
You can read more reviews and follow me on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7979187.Sally_Cronin
About illustrator Donata Zawadzka
My name is Donata Ewa Zawadzka. I’m Polish born artist living in Gravesend, Kent. After completing a Diploma in Interior Design in Poland I moved into United Kingdom and here I obtained a Diploma in Illustrating Children’s Books in London Art College in 2010. Since then I finished 2 ebook for children in collaboration with British and American writers. I took part in 2 exhibitions in Dartford and London. I’m continuing to work as freelance artist available for commission.
Connect to Donata Zawadzka
View her website : http://www.artdonataezawadzka.com
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