A magical collection of 36 short stories

The garden is an oasis, a pocket of nature in our busy modern lives, full of plants, animals, insects – and a fair bit of magic.

And it’s somewhere that, just behind that rock, or underneath a flower, there could be something magical or mystical: a fairy, an elf or a talking bee.

Folk Tales from the Garden follows the seasons through a year of stories, garden lore and legends. Explore the changing face of nature just outside your front door, from the tale of the Creator painting her birds and the merits of kissing an old toad, to pixies sleeping in the tulips, and an unusually large turnip.

For each of the 12 months, we are presented with three stories. For example, with February, we have First and Last, Town Mouse and Country Mouse, and Rat and Weasel, while June offers Say It With Flowers, A Midsummer Dream? and Not Kissing The Frog.

The author knows how to tell a tale. After all, he is is a founding member of the Scottish Storytelling Forum, Edinburgh’s Guid Crack Club and is currently chief executive of TRACS (Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland) which brings together Scotland’s traditional arts, as well director of the Scottish International Storytelling Festival.

The stories are short enough to pick up and read one at a time, then put the book back down to return to later. It’s charming in every way, with beautiful illustrations from Annalisa Salis.

Folk Tales from the Garden, by Donald Smith, published by The History Press, £12.99.

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