To start this tale you must find a comfy spot, a log or stone perhaps, a tree to rest your back against. My tale is not long but this is where it happened, and this is where it ends. For you to become part of the story you need to sit just for a moment and catch your breath with the butterflies and the birds. Everything here breaths and everything is alive, and though the forest breath may be long and smooth, it is very deep, as deep as the heart of the forest itself.
Think how many times the river has walked this valley since the Queen stepped from her royal carriage long long ago. This was the spot her royal feet graced the fertile earth, never before or since has one so high in office come away to this distant place.
But I am getting ahead of myself, and so much time has passed since that day. These trees you see about you today, are the childrens children of those that were part of the secret, the graceful ancestors that witnessed that magic day.
If you are comfortable then I shall begin.
A long time ago their lived a fair and righteous Queen who governed this kingdom well. All her minions had prospered beneath her rule, from the humblest to the highest. Her kingdom was vast and this tiny slumbering valley far from the Queens palace was of no concern to her.
Health and wealth had spread evenly through out the land beneath her even hand, but alas all must come to an end.
On her ninety sixth birthday the Queen celebrated with due pomp and ceremony for one so rich, and visitors came from far and wide to bestow their good will. Lords and ladies, rich and poor, young and old made the long and arduous journey to the palace to see the Queen.
Well indeed, so many visitors came to the Queens birthday celebrations that she could not see them all and many were given lodging and good food but returned at length with out even a moment in the Queens company.
Now in one of the Queens many chambers, a guest lodged from this very valley. He had walked the journey with nothing but hard cheese and a flask of water drawn from this very stream. But when he arrived he was given foods so rich and brilliant they were fit for the gods to dine upon. Never before had his eyes rested upon such succulent diversity.
But if he thought this was the limit of the Queens generosity to her guests then he would be wrong for when he entered his rooms he was dumbfounded indeed. They excelled in grandiosity further than his dreams could stretch. A strange hush came over his soul, as the walls were upholstered from floor to ceiling with tapestries and cloths depicting wild hunting scenes. The ceiling itself was awash with plaster cherubs, dancing with baskets of fruits and showering the room with favours and good will. For his benefit alone a warm fire had been laid in the hearth.
For one used to sleeping beneath the stars and the bows of trees this was like an enchanted world of endless splendour, and this room was typical of any given to a guest of the Queen.
Whilst in the palace he sought time and council with the generous Queen, but she was so busy with all the visitors that she was unable to see him and at length he returned to the West Country unsuccessful of his task.
Walk with me down the valley and I shall continue my tale.