Rainbows, Roses and Raindrops

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This is a little story I wrote 20 years ago! I wrote it for some competition at the time for a well known brand of tea here in the UK which uses little Tea Folk as part of its advertising campaigns. (I’d better not name this tea – I don’t want to be accused of advertising!) But I never did anything with it and the other day, I found the manuscript in an old file I’d kept. The paper was all yellow round the edges, reminding me of the way schoolchildren try to make stories and treasure maps look authentic by staining the paper with coffee or tea. Well, I didn’t need to do that. Anyway, I made the characters into gnomes, gave them different names and changed a few details and typed it up.

I love the film Gnomio and Juliet and am quite partial to gnomes. My husband refuses to have any in the garden, so I have to use my imagination. On one occasion, my mischievous daughters, Nicola and Louise, bought a few gnomes and hid them around the flower beds. My husband’s growls as he found each one, were quite hilarious.

So here’s the story:

Rainbows, Roses and Raindrops

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One warm and sunny summer’s afternoon, the Garden Gnomes of Greenwich were relaxing in Gerald’’s favourite tea garden. Horace was brewing the tea and Michael was sharing his plans for his next detective story, when a sudden flash and a puff of smoke made them all jump.

Seven pairs of eyes blinked as an odd little man, no bigger than a nearby plant pot, became visible through the smoke. Seven gasps of astonishment caused the little man to wobble precariously on the rock he’d landed on at the edge of Gerald’s delightful fish pond.

‘You’re a leprechaun!’ young Freddie blurted, pointing at the tiny figure.

‘Of course I am!’ the indignant elf snapped in crotchety Irish tones. ‘Sure, isn’t that plain fer all t’ see?’ He brushed down his velvety green jacket and breeches then, holding on to his tiny green cap, he sprang from the rock like a grasshopper before he found himself spluttering with Gerald’s goldfish beneath the lily pads.

‘B…but how did you get here? I mean…er…where did you –?’

‘Do stop burbling Freddie,’ Gerald reprimanded. ‘Remember your manners. That’s no way to greet a guest to our tea garden, no matter how he arrived!’

Samuel, the kindly grandfather gnome, decided it was time to intervene. ‘Won’t you join us for a nice cup of tea, sir? I didn’t catch your name…?’

The leprechaun proudly stroked his shiny, golden beard. ‘Me name’s Leopold,’ he replied, his beady eyes scanning the garden. ‘I’ve followed the rainbow all the way across the Irish Sea t’ this very garden. Me crock o’ gold must be here somewhere. So now I’m going t’ find it!’

Leopold clicked his bony fingers and six garden spades magically appeared, hovering over the beautiful flower beds, ready for work. Gerald’s face turned a ghastly white as he imagined his cherished roses in tatters.

Just then, a mouth-watering aroma of baking wafted across the garden. Leopold’s nose twitched and his tiny tummy gave a loud rumble.

‘My delightful cakes must be ready. Do excuse me.’ Tanya smiled at Leoplod, then rushed off towards the kitchen.

Gerald, tactful as ever, took the opportunity to repeat Samuel’s earlier invitation to Leopold, who now gratefully accepted.

Over a refreshing cup of tea, with a morsel of one of Tanya’s delicious cakes, the little leprechaun even managed a smile. Michael opened his notebook to jot down suggestions for helping Leopold to search for the gold, without spoiling Gerald’s roses, when a few glistening raindrops plopped in the middle of his page.

They scanned the clear, blue sky for the offending cloud, just as another few raindrops tinkled onto Horace’s teapot. A stifled chuckle drew everyone’s attention towards the fish pond, where Cyril was perched, with his fingers in the water. ‘Just my Rainy Day joke,’ he chortled.

Then, as he looked down, Cyril’s face took on a puzzled expression. ‘There’s an odd-looking goldfish in your pond, Gerald. It isn’t swimming about like the others.’

Gerald hurried over to investigate. ‘My goodness!’ he gasped. ‘I see what you mean, Cyril. But…wait a minute. That isn’t a goldfish…but it is gold!’

Later, Leopold stood clutching his crock of gold, his elfish grin stretching from ear to ear.

‘How did your gold get into our pond?’ Freddie asked.

‘Leprechaun magic,’ Leopold replied, tapping the side of his tiny nose.’ Now I’ll be thankin’ yer all an’ making me way home. The cup o’ tea was just what I needed. Following rainbows is thirsty work.’

With another click and a flash, Leopold and his spades vanished.

‘He must be travelling across that rainbow,’ Cyril remarked, pointing up at the sky.

Freddie now looked really perplexed. ‘But rainbows only come after it’s been raining…don’t they? And it hasn’t been raining!’

Everyone looked at Cyril, and laughed.

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About milliethom

I am a reader and writer of historical fiction with a keen interest in the Earth's history and all it involves, both physically and socially. I like nothing better than to be outdoors, especially in faraway places, and baking is something I do when my eyes need respite from my computer screen.
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103 Responses to Rainbows, Roses and Raindrops

  1. Imran Ali says:

    Beautyfully cute !!!

  2. Such a lovely story, Millie!

    • milliethom says:

      I’m glad you liked it Daniela. It’s not the sort of thing I generally write nowadays.:) It’s odd to think it’s been hidden in my old file for 20 years.

  3. draliman says:

    Cute! No finder’s fee? Notoriously tight-fisted, these leprechauns.

    • milliethom says:

      Yes, Leopold showed no gratitude whatsoever! Tight-fisted little…er…elf! (I believe leprechauns are elves.) I’ll have words with him later. 🙂 Thank you; Ali.

  4. Heartafire says:

    magically delicious!

  5. So cute… I like the idea of gnomes brewing tea, planning detective stories, and brainstorming ways to save roses from overzealous digging. I also laughed out loud at your husband’s growls over hidden gnomes in the garden. You’ve just given me an idea for an April Fools joke for my own husband! 🙂

    • milliethom says:

      Thank you, Jean. I really wasn’t sure whether to post this story or not.It’s so unlike most things I write nowadays and a 20-year-old story seems an odd thing to present. I’d forgotten all about it until the other day, too.
      A few gnomes could work well on April Fool’s Day – depending on your husband’s sense of humour. 😀

      • I think it’s great you posted the story… it’s a wonderful way to appreciate how your writing style and interests have changed over time!

      • milliethom says:

        Yes, I suppose there is that. And I do have a soft spot for leprechauns… 🙂 Thank you for the reassuring comment.

      • We have a leprechaun that visits our house around St. Patrick’s Day every year… 🙂 He leaves a trail of gold glitter, chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil, and occasionally “magic” pudding/custard mix (when you add milk to creamy white powder it magically turns green!).

      • milliethom says:

        Really? That sounds like a wonderful tradition, which obviously comes from your Irish ancestors? And that pudding mix sounds totally intriguing. Green custard …Hmmm. I won’t ask you to divulge any secret recipes here. 😀

      • The leprechaun “visits” started when I was teaching first grade (6yr olds). For about a week every March, the classrooms were nagged by the mischievous tricksters… desk were rearranged, chairs overturned, etc. We would have the children make their own leprechaun traps from everyday items- shoeboxes were a popular choice. The week culminated in setting out the traps, eventually discovering a treasure map (accidentally left behind by one of the leprechauns), and finding the pot of gold- or in our case, the Magic Pudding which is really Jell-O brand pistachio pudding/custard. The powder is white but when you add milk it magically turns green. 🍀😉🍀 Sorry for taking up so much space, Millie! x

  6. Awww! Millie this is such a sweet story 🙂

  7. Aquileana says:

    This is such a lovely brief story, dear Millie..
    `Somewhere over the rainbow…Blue birds fly
    And the dreams that you dreamed of
    Dreams really do come true´…
    Sending love and best wishes. Aquileana ★🎇 ~

  8. Very cute!… he sprang from the rock like a grasshopper …. Can see him!

  9. Lina says:

    A lovely story Millie! It was a really good read! So glad you posted it! 20 years back is a long time…☺

  10. Loved loved loved it! 🙂

  11. Millie, this is such a fun story. You should see about publishing it. Now I’ve added to your already heavy “To Do List”! I have gnomes in my gardens, too. i’ll take a photo and put it in a blog post some day. Clare

  12. Wonderful children’s story Millie!!! 🙂

    • milliethom says:

      Thank you! I was a mere younster myself when I wrote this, Andy (well, I was a lot younger than I am now!).:D Do you know the tea I’m talking about? We bought it when we lived in Devon for a while because they didn’t have Nick’s favourite Yorkshire Tea down there! Our youngest was 11 and insisted we bought the little houses for the Tea Folk characters. We still have them in the loft.

      • I’m not really all that sure which tea it would have been, my parents used to buy ’99’ tea from the Co-op, but I don’t think that had characters with it, it used to come with the cards with pictures and info on the back (butterflies and birds etc).

  13. Millie!
    Lovely story!
    A favorite spot to hang out!
    Enjoy your Sunday!

  14. inesephoto says:

    Thank you for the lovely story, Millie! I have seen a glimpse of leprechaun, and even have some photographic proof 😉
    If your husband found Leopold in the garden, he would have to hear out a lot of opinion 🙂

    • milliethom says:

      Thank you for reading it, Inese! I can imagine just how opinionated those little men are, especially when they’re on the hunt for that crock of gold! Now I’m totally intrigued regarding your photographic proof of the existence of leprechauns! I’d really love to meet one myself. My husband really didn’t like garden gnomes years ago.Now he’s watched the film, ‘Gnomio and Juliet’ he’s softened towards them a great deal… 😀

      • inesephoto says:

        To be honest, I find garden gnomes somewhat scary 🙂 As to my experience, I will write a post one day 🙂

      • milliethom says:

        I’ll look forward to reading that! I’m supposed to be posting my next award post tonight, but I think it will be tomorrow now. I’ll be over to read your recent posts then, too. I’m sure I’ll have some catching up to do and it’s too late to do them justice now. 🙂

      • inesephoto says:

        I don’t think you have missed much – I post only once a week 🙂

      • milliethom says:

        Well, one post a week sounds good to me. Once I’ve posted the two more blog awards I have, I’ll be going down to one post every 7-10 days. I haven’t yet decided whether or not to kick off with a complete blogging break for a couple of weeks. But I do want to keep my blog ticking over while I write. I’ve spent a lot of time last year writing flash fiction stories, which I love to do. I might even get them all together and have them published. But I’ll still visit other blogs as much as I can.
        Thank you for following me on Twitter, by the way, Inese. I’m very new to that, and just finding my way round it.
        Looking forward to reading your post(s) tomorrow. 🙂

      • inesephoto says:

        Millie, my Twitter account is neglected, I visit it quite sporadically, and re-tweet some of the fellow bloggers. That is it 😦
        I truly enjoy your books – the more you write, the better 🙂 Have a happy and productive week! 🙂

  15. Lovely story Millie really enjoyed it especially the leprechauns accent.
    Hope you had an awesome holiday?
    How’s the book coming along?
    I sent you an email, let me know what you think.

  16. Magical and fun story dear Millie! Love this!

  17. milliethom says:

    Thanks, Lynn. I’m quite glad I found it. I have other short stories in my Documents file, but this one was written before I gave a thought to saving things digitally. I only printed out one copy, which was the one I found. 🙂

  18. That’s a great story, Millie! Industrious little gnomes and an enterprising leprechaun 🙂 I love the garden setting and care of the roses too. I have a little solar gnome house in my backyard, my husband is a big fan of it, but the collie keeps knocking it over so we keep having to glue it. I guess I need to move it.

    • milliethom says:

      A solar gnome house sounds fascinating! Evidently your collie’s not a fan. 🙂 We still have no gnomes in our garden, L.T. Despite loving the movie, Nick still hates to see gnomes in gardens, or even on sale in garden centres.
      I was hoping to get the award post up, but I’m really having problems finding nominees. I’ve done the ‘Sisterhood’ one three times now, and I’ve nominated so many people for it before. Apart from which, so many blogs are now Award Free. I think I’ll just have to ‘throw it open’ to anyone. I don’t like doing that, but I need to post pretty pronto. Lol Sorry – this isn’t your problem. It’s just that I said I’d post yesterday and still haven’t done, so this is the reason. It will be posted … eventually.

  19. Lovely tale. I’m glad you got it out of cold storage. 🙂

  20. J.C. Wolfe says:

    Aww, what an adorable story! Can’t go wrong with gnomes and leprechauns, haha. Great job, Millie! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  21. I read it to my son he enjoyed it 🙂

    • milliethom says:

      If I wrote this story now, knowing a bit more about writing than I did 20 years ago, I wouldn’t include so many characters for a children’s story. There were 7 Tea Folk, and I thought I should mention them all when I wrote the original story. Too many character names aren’t good in children’s stories, so I hope your son didn’t find it too confusing. But thank you for the lovely comment aboout reading it. 🙂

      • He asked what a leprechaun was but apart from that he seemed to be following along nicely

      • milliethom says:

        Thank you for telling me – I won’t alter it all just yet! Lol Leprechauns aren’t something we come across in many stories so it’s understandable your son asked that. 🙂

      • I will try him on it again, weirdly though he does know that at the end of a rainbow there is treasure

      • milliethom says:

        Perhaps he’s had a story read to him at school, or maybe seen it in a children’s TV programme. It’s interesting where our children learn things – so many places. 🙂

      • there was an episode on lazy town but there it was sports candy not treasure. I gave up trying to figure out my son 😉

      • milliethom says:

        He’s obviously soaking up a lot – all useful stuff as he grows and figures out what life is all about. We’re all only young once. I know how proud you are of him, and rightly so. 🙂

      • I am very proud of him, while he is a nightmare toddler and his strops are stuff of legends he does have his amazing moments. And those make up for every strop 🙂

      • milliethom says:

        The strops will soon pass, they always do. It’s just a question of patience – and not letting him see how much his strops get to you. His amazing moments will keep you going. 🙂

      • I hope so but I am dreading the teenage years. He can already slam his bedroom door like a pro

      • milliethom says:

        Teenagers are all very different. I’ve had four sons and two daughters, and in our family, three of the boys were more prone to tempers than the other children. If you have a great relationship with your son before teenage years, and he isn’t used to having his own way all the time, or allowed to slam doors etc. unchecked, you’ll be able to handle the hormonal ups and downs. Mutual respect is a big thing in parent-child relationships and children won’t want to rule the roost. Firm but fair – and always lots of love.
        As I said, it’s always difficult to give advice and I’m pretty sure you’ll simply learn the best way to deal with things over the years. One thing that rarely helps children to grow out of tantrums/tempers – whatever the age – is shouting and screaming back at them. Stay calm and speak firmly and tell him, ‘No, you’ll break it’ when he slams doors. He needs to know it’s unacceptable to you.

      • I agree that screaming back doesn’t work, I tried that, when he really pushed my button, I think it set us back about a month. We use time outs a lot, for me and him. That works well for us at the moment,

      • milliethom says:

        Yes, that’s meant to good. It gives you both time to calm down. You see, you’re already on the way to success! Be calm but firm. If you ignore the tantrums, many children will simply keep going until they get your attention. Some schools of thought suggest that you do ignore them, and when they see it doesn’t work to get your attention, they’ll shut up…eventually. Doing this would depend on whether or not you can stand the tantrum for that long!

      • My son is the stubborn type he can go on for hours. However what does work is sitting down and talking to him about what is wrong, yes there is still a tantrum, but if he sees that you are trying to understand no matter how crazy the reason then it ends a lot quicker. The time outs are for me not him. He gets fireman sam. I get a time out in the kitchen

      • milliethom says:

        Well, if that works better than
        anything else, that’s the way to go. Toddler tantrums do end naturally, as a rule. Be careful that he doesn’t see giving him Fireman Sam as a reward for having a tantrum.

      • good point, I don’t think he does, but it is certainly something to look at thank you 🙂 I might start writing it down strop vs fireman sam and make sure I am not rewarding

      • milliethom says:

        I just thought that if he sees a strop as a way of getting something he wants, he’ll keep on doing it. Just see how it goes.

      • Its an excellent point and one I hadn’t thought of. Unless he has something to distract him, I don’t have the time to calm down (I have a temper)

      • milliethom says:

        Staying calm yourself seems to be the key thing. Children often behave far worse when a parent constantly shouts or loses control of the situation. Believe me, it’s the same with teachers who try to keep control by shouting at every little thing. Calm and firm.

      • this is true, I have hopes he is going to be amazing. Although he has my stubborness, my temper and my hair

      • milliethom says:

        Is your hair red to match your temper? I love red hair, and have a few relatives who have it. But it isn’t only redheads who can lose their cool. Anyway, bed calls, and I’ll come over and read some of your posts tomorrow. You do so many, I’m afraid I can’t keep up. Lol Persevere with the calm treatment for the tantrums. You could try avoiding.g drinks containing artificial sweeteners too. If you don’t already do that. It makes some children throw huge strops and go quite wild.

      • Matt (the son) only drinks water and no I have brown hair but a mediterranean temper.

      • milliethom says:

        Ah, I’d forgotten you’re half Maltese. The Meditarranean temper is as famous as that of the Celtic redheads! Best not to ‘let rip’ too often in front of Matt, or he’ll think that’s how he should behave, too. I realise that you have problems controlling your temper, so it won’t be easy. I really hope things get easier as time moves on. 🙂

      • So do I and thank you. He takes after me in the temper department, added to this the usual toddler temper, and he can get really angry, but because I remember what it is like we are starting early on how to control it,

      • milliethom says:

        Good for you. Good luck with it all.

      • Thank you and thank you for your advice

  22. Cute – and they are so polite! 😉 I love your new header image, by the way!

    • milliethom says:

      They are polite, aren’t they? I’m not sure that gnomes are well known for that! The ones I’ve read about are all down-right grumpy.
      Thank you for liking the header. I just put it up today. I’m not sure whether it’s a bit dark, but I’ll leave it for a while. I was fed up with the last one, anyway. 🙂 Hope all is well up there in Finland. It seems a while since we spoke. I’ll be over to read your latest posts tomorrow. 🙂

      • I don’t think the header’s too dark, it just adds a bit of mystery to your blog’s look, in a good way. The picture is awesome, anyway, and it looks very polished 🙂 I’ve been busy, still posting but not stopping by blogs I love to follow as much as I’d like to. Things will slow down soon a bit, luckily 🙂 How’s your book coming along?

      • milliethom says:

        I’m still not sure that the header suits my page, but I may get used to it in time. Thank you for the kind words about it, anyway. I’m not complaining about the banner itself – it was done by the lovely illustrator who did my book covers.
        I won’t be on my blog much at all after this week as I’m having a break to get on with my book. I really have to prioritise now. You sound very busy! I hope it’s not getting you down. Winter gets many people down without further stress from elsewhere. At least the snow you’ve had give a radiance that SAD sufferers like me could do with. 🙂

  23. Cecilia says:

    Congratulations to your nomination! I am happy for you and wish you all the best.

  24. What a cute little fun story! ❤ This is a kind of story I would love my mom reading to me before bed time over and over again if I were still a kid. The magic and rainbow added a delighting note to the story and they are what make the story the most fascinating to me. Well done Millie! 😉

  25. Hemangini says:

    Rainbows, Leprechaun and Gnomes! A quest and a wonderful little fella! what a delightful read… thanks for sharing

  26. You and I do have a lot in common. I too harbour a secret desire to have more garden gnomes. ( I only have two left, as they met an unfortunate end with a cement mixer!! ) Although there us a limit to the amount of gnomes one can have in the garden before one tips over to kitsch-essness! Great story. I imagine you would be a famous children’s writer if you so desired and your stories of course would covertly teach children about history and historical figures no doubt. I look forward to more and perhaps a photo of your garden gnomes?

    • milliethom says:

      Hi, Amanda. This is a very overdue reply to your comment, and I apologise for that. As you realised, I haven’t been posting for three weeks now, and have probably missed several comments along the way. Thank you for liking my story. It was an unusual one for me, but I did write it a long time ago! I quite enjoy writing children’s stories, so who knows … I might just write a children’s book at some stage in the future. Unfortunately, I haven’t got any photos of our gnomes. Perhaps I should take a few. Hope the new year is treating you well. I’m missing your Proverbial Thursdays, but if I start looking at posts, I’ll get hooked again. Right now, I need to spend a little bit longer concentrating on my book. 🙂

  27. It is always so enriching to go and get lost in the world of your tales, Millie. Loved watching the quest of gold of the little elf and the magical powers of tea 😁
    And also, I never thanked you for your caring emal. Thank you from the bottom of my heart 😃
    And a very happy 2016 😘

    • milliethom says:

      Lovely to hear from you, Prateek. I haven’t posted on my blog for almost three weeks now as I’m trying to concentrate on Book 3 of my trilogy. But I do miss my blog! I should be posting again soon, I hope.
      Thank you for liking my little story. 🙂
      I hope you are OK now. I won’t go into detail here, but I’ve thought about you many times since then, and wondered whether to contact you to see how you were bearing up. But I knew you’d find it hard to keep talking about things. So, it’s good to know that you are on your blog again. I’ll hop over and read any new posts as soon as I come back to blogging myself. Keep well, my friend. 🙂

      • I’ll give credit to you, Millie. Your words have always been around and your words are what that brought me back here 🙂
        And I know for sure that you will be as amazing with the book 3 as you were with the previous ones. Don’t worry about the blog, you will find us all waiting to hear more of your lovely tales and historical accounts whenever you are back. 😃😃

      • milliethom says:

        I’m dying to get back to doing my posts, Prateek, so thank you for the kind words. I do feel as though I’ve abandoned everyone, but it’s the only way I can devote more time to my writing. It was a lovely surprise to see you back on your blog, too. 🙂

  28. Julian Beach says:

    A delight, Millie.

    I shall share it with my boys.

  29. empathy75 says:

    I enjoyed reading this, hope I can read the continuation of it.

    • milliethom says:

      I wrote this story 20 years ago, and only recently came across it again, Hninn. It was just written as a one-off, so I have no plans to continue it as a story. But it was lovely of you to say that, and enjoy reading it, too. It’s a bit of fun, and I enjoyed writing it up again. 🙂

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