For those who missed it the first time, Hugh’s Views and News presents…
Tales from the Garden
Christmas Magic in the Kingdom of Magia.
by Sally Cronin
It was the depths of winter and snow lay deep on the ground in the magic garden. Christmas was just two days away and beneath the roots of the old magnolia tree preparations were well in hand. The bees, that had been forced to hibernate in the special honey chamber when the Winter Fairy brought early snow; hummed festively in the background.
Queen Filigree was very excited, not just because she adored Christmas but because her favourite son, Prince Toby, was coming home for the holidays. He had married a princess who lived in the gardens of a Royal Palace many miles to the north and she had not seen him for many years.
They were due to arrive tomorrow and the ladies of the chamber were bustling around in the guest apartments preparing the beds for the visiting royalty and their two young children. All the activity and noise were giving her majesty a headache. She wrapped herself in a spider spun silk cloak and popped out to get some peace in her snow-covered kingdom.
She was invisible to humans but the stone statues which were the guardians of the garden could see her and were delighted that she had taken this opportunity to visit them. As Queen Filigree made her rounds; wishing the Stoned Band, Fluffy, Fizzy and the other creatures a Happy Christmas, she caught sight of the old owner of the villa at the edge of the garden. He was wearing a shabby coat and tattered scarf and his mittens clearly would not keep his shaking hands warm. He was also clearly distressed and tears rolled down his cheeks as he stared off across the valley to the distant mountains that glowered under the dark snow-filled skies.
The Queen was deeply saddened that the man who had taken such care of their sanctuary should be so unhappy and intent on finding out the reason she headed for the font of all knowledge here in the kingdom. Sir Hugh was one of the two head guardians of the magic garden and could be relied on to have the facts to hand.
She perched lightly on the shaggy stone mane and whispered in her knight’s little ear.
‘Your majesty,’ the guardian bowed his shaggy head in her direction. ‘I have indeed sad news to impart about the master of the house we protect.’
Tears filled the queen’s eyes at the sadness that had overwhelmed the old man. ‘Did you manage to ascertain the cause of his distress?’
‘It would seem that he has not seen his son and family for many years and they have written and told him that they will be here tomorrow to spend Christmas with him.’
‘Well surely that is joyous news for him as is my own son’s visit with his family?
‘Apparently, he has little money now and it all goes on the upkeep of the house and garden. His needs are few but he has not sufficient money for a tree, decorations, food or presents for them and he is ashamed.’
The queen shook her gossamer wings beneath the warmth of her spider thread cape.
‘Well we cannot have that, he has been a wonderful caretaker of our garden,’ she rose in the air and zoomed off back to the magic kingdom beneath the magnolia.
All the courtiers and servants were summoned to the throne room and stood chattering about the urgency with which they had been taken from their duties.
Queen Filigree clapped her hands and the room fell silent.
‘Listen carefully we have work to do and not much time to accomplish it!’
The next morning the old man rose as usual to light a fire and prepare some simple bread and vegetables for the arrival of his family.
He walked into the cold and sparse living room and a sight awaited him that brought tears to his eyes. The floors and the furniture shone with wax whilst the candles on the chandelier sparkled like diamonds. The sight that took is breath away however was to be found in the corner of the room. There stood the most beautiful Christmas tree with lights that sparkled; with many gifts at its base with gold and silver wrappings.
Unable to believe his eyes and fearing that he had passed into heaven overnight, the old man wandered the rooms of the house. Every room sparkled and new bedclothes adorned the guest bedrooms. The kitchen tables were laden with festive foods of every kind including several bottles of his favourite honey mead wine.
Just then he heard the large brass bell at his gate chime and with a spritely step he rushed to open the front door. Standing outside in the wintery sunshine stood his son and family beaming with delight at the sight of him and bearing hampers of food and even more presents. Within moments he was wrapped in their loving embrace.
Many hours later, Queen Filigree sat with her own son Prince Toby and they watched through their magic portal into the house above them as the old man sat contentedly by his fireplace.
From now on her majesty would keep a better eye on the old man. He had served them well and deserved every bit of magic that had been woven about him this last night and day. She smiled at her son and knew that Christmas this year was indeed very special.
©SallyCronin 2015 Tales from the Garden
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The above story was written by Sally Cronin, for this month’s guest feature “Ladies & Gentlemen, meet…”
Please click here for more details about Sally, ‘Tales From The Garden’, and her other books.
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