Tata was feeling very sad. She sat alone in the garden and a tear rolled down her cheek. She looked around at all the pretty flowers and sighed loudly.
“Why me?” she cried. “I have been such a good fairy. I did not pull the wings off the ladybugs. I gently brush the rose petals so they are velvety soft. I always help the baby birds who fall out of their nests.”
Earlier that day the Fairy Queen had given all the five-year old fairies their very own jobs. Now all the flowers and the trees, the birds and the insects, had a special fairy to take care of them. Tata had been named the Dandelion Fairy.
She was so upset that she did not see the Fairy Queen come into the garden. She sat on a little rock, her wings drooping, and sobbed loudly and deeply.
“Why Tata,” said the Fairy Queen softly, “what is the matter? Why are you crying so hard?” She sat down beside the little fairy and gently took her hand.
“Oh your majesty,” said Tata, feeling very unhappy. “Please do not be angry with me. I did so want to be a very special fairy with a very special job. I have worked very hard and I think I deserve to be the Rose Fairy or the Baby Bird Fairy. The Dandelion is just an ugly weed.”
The Fairy Queen looked very grave as she spoke to Tata. “My dear Tata, I think that you are indeed a very special fairy. In fact, I think you are the best five-year old fairy in my kingdom. That is why I have given you such an important job to do.”
Tata looked up at the Fairy Queen in great surprise. She did not understand. How could taking care of a silly weed be so important? She listened carefully as the Fairy Queen spoke again.
“You see Tata, the Dandelion may be just a weed, but it is also very important. It’s leaves are very good in salad, and there are many people who enjoy a hot drink made from them. But the best part is the fruit.”
Tata’s eyes opened wide. “I did not know the Dandelion had a fruit. Is it sweet?” she asked.
The Fairy Queen smiled. “No Tata, it is not sweet. You cannot even eat it, but it brings lots of joy. You see, when the flower dies a big ball of white fluff comes in its place. When boys and girls find these they have great fun blowing them into the air.
On the end of each strand of fluff is a tiny fruit, the seed, which then floats away on the wind. When they come down to the ground again they grow into more Dandelions. So you see Tata, even weeds are important. Now do you understand why I need you to take great care of the Dandelions?”
Tata smiled at the Fairy Queen. “Oh yes, your majesty. Thank you so much for choosing me for this job. I will be the best Dandelion Fairy that you ever had.”
I have lived for about thirty years in Italy. The very first visit to that country was to Genoa in December 1963. All I can say is that when I deplaned and my feet touched the tarmac, my soul came home.
I eventually came to live in Italy in 1969. My first home was in a place called Santa Margherita di Pula located in the southern region of the island of Sardinia. This island captured my heart. The sea is turquoise, the beaches are pristine, the rocks are unbelievable, the people are delightful, and the food is incredibly good.
The last four and a half years of my time in Sardinia were spent on the island of La Maddalena. If Sardinia was said to be the crown of Italy, La Maddalena would be the diamond sparkling in that crown. In my post Poetry- Sharing My Love of Sardinia I already described this beautiful island and shared one poem that I wrote in nostalgia after I left. Here is another poem that I wrote during the course of a revisit.
Hot air hanging languidly in a shimmering haze.
Warm brown bodies proffered to the sun,
Splayed on molten sand.
Still waters reflecting glistening gems
Of cool coral edged with mother-of-pearl
Mirrored under translucent turquoise.
Oh island of my heart, my soul, my mind,
Resplendent as a queen you proudly lie
Royally robed in colors warm and bright.
Your elegant form bedecked with dazzling jewels
Enchanting all who dare to gaze upon you,
By nature so generously endowed.
In sharp contrast is the city of Naples. I returned to live in Italy after spending five years back in the UK, and by God-incidence I ended up in Naples. Naples is a wild and chaotic city that lives by its own rules, as do the Neapolitans! It is a city of wide contradictions and immense fascination. There is a saying that goes, “See Naples and die”, meaning that nothing counts after experiencing Naples.
In my previous post Poetry- The Urchin From Naples, I gave some personal insights into this crazy and wonderful city as well as sharing a poem that I wrote before I ever physically visited there. The following poem describes how I felt about it after being there just one week. Naples had “grabbed me by the throat” (this is what the locals say about the effect their city has on some people!l).
Faded ochre, dirty rose,
Clothed in webs of ivy green
Spattered with dust.
Crooked cracks, crusted crannies
Creeping in all directions
On ancient walls.
In bright profusion.
In loud confusion.
City of love and painted passion,
Full of life and sight and sound,
City of song and laughter.
The dust may cling and spread around,
Crimes may take place each day, all day,
But you are throbbing, alive, and gay.
You are a heartbeat unto yourself.
And as you spawn your hopes, your fears
Into your maddening noises streets
Dad’s back yard was his pride and joy. Actually, his whole garden was good reason for him to be proud. I’m referring now to the garden of the prefab house that I associate with my young childhood – age five through eleven years.
There was a concrete walkway that crossed the full width of the back of the house. This was then bordered by a tall trellis fence with an archway set midway. Both the fence and the archway were painted white and were covered by thickly growing rambling roses. The delicate perfume of these roses when they were in bloom floated on the warm summer air.
Three worn red brick steps under the archway of fragrant pink roses led down to a lush green rectangle measuring about twenty yards by fifteen yards. In the springtime bright yellow buttercups dotted here and there in the grass reflected back the sun’s golden rays. Later on in the summer dainty white daisies danced across the carefully trimmed lawn. Sprinkled throughout the grass patches of sweet smelling clover attracted the buzzing bumble bees.
An upward sloping flower bed completely bordered the lawn, and from early spring through late autumn it was a constant changing riot of colors and perfumes. Large plump pincushions of blue and white alyssum grew close to the grass, their musky perfume hanging heavily in the air. Intermingled with the alyssum, yellow and purple Pansies nodded their pretty painted faces, while delicate sprays of deep pink London Pride swayed gently in the breeze behind them.
Jostling for room and vying for attention was a profusion of red, yellow, pink, purple, orange and burgundy dahlias of the single, double, and pom-pom varieties. Pungent smelling French Marigolds and gaily colored Anemones (my mother’s favorite flowers) somehow managed to find some space. Along the top edge of the flower bed stood majestic spikes of pink, blue, and violet Lupines interspersed with tall stems of blossom-laden antirrhinums (we called them “bunny rabbits”).
Beyond the lawn Dad had created an area dedicated to rambling raspberry, currant, and gooseberry bushes as well as some pear and apple trees. To one side of this area cabbage and cauliflower, carrots and celery, potatoes and peas and beans grew, as well as a variety of lettuces and tomatoes. It was always a garden of plentiful bounty.
Coming up the steps from the lawn and going under the archway, I could turn either left or right to get to the vegetable patch. It all depended on how brave I was feeling! To the left was a long line of “dreaded” larkspurs. These tall graceful plants had clusters of vivid deep blue flowers growing all the way up lengthy stems. In the center of each bloom nestled a fuzzy black thing with a bright yellow mark that looked just like a bee!
However, going to the right I passed the rockery which ran the full length of the garden connecting the front and back yards. The rockery was a magical place full of hundreds of small and most unusual plants with minute yellow, white, pink, and blue flowers that clambered over and around a fascinating collection of white crystal, gray and pink marble, and speckled granite rocks. I was sure that faeries, elves and gnomes lived there!
What a wondrous place this garden was, full of color, perfume and adventure. I felt like a queen as I played there and all the flowers were my subjects. How lucky I was to have had a father who dedicated so much time, energy, and love to create and maintain “my kingdom”.