Aug 13, 2010

The Keeper of the Garden

I wrote this story, and thought that you might like to read this shortstory set in Italy!:) There are probably a few rough spots, but I hope you enjoy! (And some parts I just added for the pictures:)
Written by me
The familiar sound of the old wooden gate squeaking reached my ears as I stepped off of the regular road and onto a pebble-strewn path and into my serene little garden. I breathed in the familiar scent of herbs and flowers misted by the early dew, and the crisp morning air filled my lungs. The buzz of the bees, the beds of soft greenery, the bird’s sweet melody all welcomed me as I ventured farther into the garden that my Italian grandfather so long ago carefully planted and tended to its lush vegetation. The garden seemed to have a sort of magic about it, and never changed it’s balmy summer weather even if the outside did. Il mio giardino segreto, or my secret garden, was the only place where I could settle the most baffling questions that swirled within my head, the only place where I felt peace from my strange life, the only place where my burdens of the day’s events would lighten; the only place where I could spend time with the Lord. I came every morn, before most of the household was awake and every evening after the eventide meals. If that particular day was busy, I made time to visit my garden.
Papa and Mama did not spend much time at our palazzo, or Italian home, and travelled abroad, leaving me in charge of its household and, my sister was wed but a month ago, and my dear brother was sent off to boarding school a year ago. The only other residents who lived at the palazzo where my elderly aunt and my dear cousin.
My parents were disappointed in me, and said they could never make a good match with me. “She is too timid and reserved with not the slightest bit of talent to tempt a gentleman, and even though she has high connections with relatives, in her disposition, they could not be used to her advantage,” I once overheard Mother discussing with Father on one of their rare visits. “And to think that she dresses like a common peasant!”
It was true, that my sister had wed a very wealthy man and was nearly titled a “duchess,” but such connections could not be used to my advantage for I was the shyest of creatures. At balls, instead of flirting or dancing with the handsomest of men like all the other young girls, I would sit in a quiet corner and be content watching. For you see, I am a writer, always observing everything around me and trying the best I can in my ability to store the vivid scene and write it on paper. I do most of my writing in my garden, where everyone in my acquaintance with the exception of my dear brother has never known about, therefore I can write in peace.
One day I received a letter from my dear friend and hurriedly went to my garden to read it, taking with me the supplies to write a reply. My friend was the only person who knew of my garden, and we had spent such wonderful memories in it.

Dearest Emma,
Your sweet letter brightened my day and made me wish to be back home again with you. How I wish we could go back to our precious childhood and sit amongst the greenery in our garden on a balmy summer day and look upon the blue, blue sky, and hear the birds chirp once more! Such fond memories we made there. How has our little garden been doing of late? Have you planted the new orange trees that you have ordered?
How is your latest manuscript progressing? I cannot wait for you to read it to me. In the future, you shall have one of your works published, I am sure of it.
Your’s truly,

Edmund was a childhood friend, and one of the keepers of the garden. As we grew older, he became one of my very few suitors, but when he became serious of asking my hand, my parents objected to the courtship, for he was "not eligible." Soon after, he traveled away, but I still kept lettering him, and when my parents left the palazzo, I was able to do so freely.
I quickly wrote a reply:

Dearest Edmund,
I am sitting here, in our garden as usual, as I write this letter. Our garden is fairing quite well, and I am sitting under the huge citrus trees that were planted earlier this year. We are so blessed to have good climate to grow such lovely trees.
I must admit that I have not been completely content with my latest manuscript, and am having a difficult time thinking of a clever plot-
I was startled to hear voices and the rustling of the tree branch that hung over a high wall. Suddenly, there appeared two village girls climbing over the wall.
One was older, and helped a younger girl climb down.
“I am scared, Elsa,” the little girl whined. “I will catch you, dear,” she replied with outstretched arms.
“I shall never let anything happen to you,” she added and hugged the little girl. “That’s why we left that horrid convent, little Mary.”
Buon pomeriggio-(or Good day),” I greeted which startled both girls.
The older girl scooped up the younger one, and was about to run, and I cried after them to wait. “Please do not go,” I said. “I will not hurt you.”
The girl stopped, and I gestured for them to follow me. They were hesitant to obey, but they did, and I lead them back to the tree under the shade.
“Here, have a bit of water from the fountain. It is freshest, purest, sweetest spring water you ever did taste. And please pick some fruit from the trees, if you are hungry. ”
“Thank you,” the girl whose name was Elsa said timidly and sipped the cold water in her cupped hands. “Why are you being so kind to us, for we are poor peasants?”
“I want to help,” I replied and smiled. “My name is Emma, I am the owner of this garden which my grandfather planted many years ago. My good friend and I promised him that we would take care of it when he passed away. Now my friend is traveling abroad, and I am the only keeper of this garden. It is a secret one too, for no one knows of it, except for you now.”
It was the older girl’s turn to smile. “I am Elsa and this is my younger sister Mary. We are both orphan girls who were living in a convent, until now. We ran away for we were being mistreated, and Mary could have been taken away. I could not bear that,” we both glanced at the sweet little girl picking the flowers. “I promised my parents I would take care of her,” she added.
“How do you plan to support you and little Mary?”
Elsa shrugged. “I suppose I will go find work in the city. If I do not find work, I will go into the fields and try to earn my keep.”
“But what if the convent sends people to find you. Wouldn’t their first thought be to go to the city? No, you need a safe place to hide, until the people give up their search,” I sat their deep in thought. “Perhaps, you can stay here.”
Elsa looked around. “In the garden?”
I nodded. “There is plentiful fruits and vegetables here, you have water, and I can bring you bread and blankets and anything else you may need. No need to worry about the cold, for the garden remains warm, day or night and winter as well.”
“Oh, thank you so much! You are a true friend,” Elsa exclaimed gratefully and hugged me. And so it was settled. Weeks passed, and I enjoyed every moment spending time with Elsa and little Mary. I enjoyed it so much, I thought, why not invite more poor and orphaned needy girls to my garden? I smiled at the thought, and was eager to go to the village the next day in search for more little girls. I had always wanted children, but it was probably not to be that I marry as I am all ready in my twenty and eighth year.
Each month I went to the village, finding more and more young girls in need of a home, and soon the garden was full of sweet laughter and song.
One day, two young maidens were on my door step of the palazzo begging for a bit of day-old bread. I smiled at the shy creatures and invited them in.

“Follow me,” I gestured, and led them to the familiar squeaky gate by the road and into my garden. “This can be your home if you like.” The two gasped in delight, set down their bundles, and started dancing in the garden. I smiled. So many delighted faces, so many sweet smiles and giggles. Perhaps, that was to be my new novel: the story of a children’s secret garden and keeper who started it.
I passed the girls sewing and greeted them. “Buon pomeriggio, (good day) Emma!” they chimed in unison.

I passed some girls harvesting the plump oranges from the citrus trees, and smiled.

They waved to me, and I returned their gesture. I sighed contently. Soon I will be under the shade of a tree and write all of what I have seen. Soon I will write the ending of what is probably my first complete novel. I sat down, and hugged my dear friend Elsa who, after all this time, stayed by my side and helped with the garden. “Writing the ending?” she asked when I set up my writing table.
I nodded. “Finally, it has been about two years writing, editing, and then rewriting all of it.” I pulled the string that tied my manuscript.
“Two happy ones,” she adds. She looks at two little girls who remind her of Mary and sighed.
I took her hand. “You miss her, no?”
“Yes, it has been a year since dear, little Mary left for school.”
“She will be home soon. And she is such a bright little girl that I know she will come home with a good future in front of her.”
I returned to my brown paper wrapped package and write on the last page:
And the garden was full of happiness and song. All the little girls grew up and bloomed with such radiance that when they finally left the garden they spread it throughout the world, and touched the lives of everyone they knew. However, they always remembered and were grateful to the Keeper of the Garden.
The End

I sighed contently. During this time, Elsa was reading over my shoulder. “What are you to call it?”
I shrugged. “Do you have any ideas?”
“Perhaps, “The Keeper of the Garden,” for you are the keeper, and the main character is the gardener.”
“Wonderful idea,” and I scribbled down the words:
The Keeper of the Garden
Just then, I heard the gate squeak open and looked up. There stood my dear friend Edmund. He looked astonished to see so many children in the garden and teased, “Did someone find out our secret?” I hurried over to him, and embraced him.
“Oh, dearest Edmund! How I have missed you so!”
“That is what lettering is for,” he chuckled with a twinkle in his eyes. “When I did not receive word from you, I began to worry. And so, I decided I had to pay a visit back home, and more importantly to you.”
I blushed. “I am so happy that you are here. Come, I have so much to tell you.”
“But first,” he knelt down. “I know we have been good friends ever since we were young, and I want to ask you something as I have before. Your parents objected to this once, but since now you are free from them will you, my dearest Emma, become my wife?”
I smiled and hugged him and whispered in his ear, “Of course, my dearest Edmund. Of course.”
The birds sang, the bees buzzed as they always had, the air was filled with laughter and song.
And Edmund and Emma were wed, and happily lived with their many adopted children, and were very content being the Keepers of the Garden.

La Fine-The End
I do so hope you enjoyed it! I liked the Italian twist on it!:)
Love always,


  1. Oh, that was a beautiful story! And I loved the ending because you didn't make them have mushy gushy romance!

  2. You are such a great writer :)

    I just thought I would let you know that I have switched my blog from to

    I hope you have a great day :)


  3. Great story! I like how you put all the pictures in. :-D

  4. Georgiana,
    Wonderful story! To coin a phrase,"I laughed,I cried,it moved me.":)
    Lots of love from your sister in Christ,
    Lizzy Darcy

  5. Hi Grace,
    That was a wonderful story! I loved it!

  6. hey grace, i had a question.
    if you r an only child than how do you have a niece. sorry if it seems nosy but maybe she is just really close to you so you call her your sis. sorry again.

  7. Dearest Rachel,
    Thank you so much for the sweet letter! Yes, I do have an older sister, though she does not live with me, therefore I am technically an only child:)
    Hope you are having a lovely day!

  8. Grace,

    WOW!!! That was GREAT!! I loved it.. you construct your sentences really well. That was very enjoyable to read. Do you actually know Italian???!!

    Ok, so I finished up my story for your story contest.. what do I do now??

    Love ya! Sarah

    PS Your letter will be arriving just as soon as I get soem more stamps!