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Tulip Garden

Tulip Garden

What happened was, long ago you had two choices, you were either kind and friendly to the piskies or you were mean and nasty towards them. They in turn would either return the kindness or give better than they got – either way the choice was yours.

It so happened that on the edge of a small moorland village lived an old lady. Sadly her husband had died many years ago so she was alone in the small, picturesque thatched cottage. She was a kindly old soul who always had a good word for everybody and loved the small children of the village. Most days she would get visits from her many friends and neighbours who often as not would bring her small presents of jars of jam, eggs, butter and the like. In return she would sent them home with bunches of colourful, sweet smelling flowers picked freshly from her immaculate cottage garden. Every spare moment she would spend planting, weeding and pruning the blooms that thrived in her many flower beds. The garden was also home to numerous birds and animals which she doted on. There was always food and water for her many wildlife visitors, especially during the cold bleak winter months.

One balmy summers night the old lady was tucked up in her bed when she thought she could hear music wafting on the still night air. It seemed to be coming from the garden below her bedroom window. Quietly she stole out of bed and tiptoed over to the small cott window. To her amazement, she spotted a crowd of piskies merrily dancing and prancing around her lawn. The music was coming from a small piskie orchestra assembled around the bird bath. The old woman was spellbound and intently watched the frolics of the little people who seemed completely unafraid and at ease in her garden. As the tempo of the music increased she noticed that all the heads of the tulips were swaying in time to the merry piskie tune. At that moment beams of moonlight shone on the tulip bed and she could see that inside the head of every flower was a tiny piskie baby. Every one was fast asleep and was being rocked in its floral cradle by another little piskie. The woman stood for hours mesmerised by the little peoples antics. Eventually the first rays of the morning sun lazily spread across the dawn sky and the piskie revel came to a close as they all scampered off. From than day onward the old woman promised that when ever possible she would always have a bed of tulips in her garden for the piskie babies to sleep in.

After many happy years the old woman finally died and was laid to rest in the small village churchyard. It was said that often as not a bunch of tulips could be seen  laid on her grave – a mark of respect from the piskies some say. 

Her little cottage was bought by an old man who had recently moved up to the moor. After a short while he decided that the cottage garden would serve him better as a vegetable plot and so he set to and grubbed up all the flowers and blooms. The last bed to go was the tulip bed along with the bird bath, lawn and feeders. No longer were the birds welcome as they ate his seeds and plants and wo betide any animal caught nibbling his young plants; many a rabbit ended up in his stewpot. What about the piskies you ask? As far as the old boy was concerned they were “naught but a figment of a mazed ‘ead.”

It so happened that the little “figments of a mazed ‘ead” were mighty displeased at losing their floral dance floor and were even more irate that their babies cots had disappeared and so in retaliation the piskies vowed that from then on nothing would grow in that cottage garden. Accordingly, no matter how much manure, sheep daggings, bonemeal, blood or fertiliser the old fellow put on the soil nothing ever grew again. Within weeks the earth became parched, cracked and plantless and has stayed that way ever since to service as a lesson of what to expect if you upset the piskies.

 

About Tim Sandles

Tim Sandles is the founder of Legendary Dartmoor

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