Sunday 15 April 2018

True Herb

by Kathy Sharp

 herbal tea

“They call it the Herbe Paris.” So says my grandmother, wagging a finger. “It is a herb of good balance, you see.”

I nod, though I don’t see.

“They also call it the True Lover’s Knot.” She wags her finger again. “Seek it out, child. It grows in the deep shades and dapples. Find it. Gather it. Weave it into your hat, and you shall meet your true love.”

This is too much. “Oh, Grandmother! That is witch talk! An old woman could be misunderstood…” I have her best interests at heart.

She shakes her head in impatience. “No, no. It is a balanced herb. That means it is proof against witches. Would I name it if I were a witch? It is wholesome. Now do as I say. Seek out the plant.” She winks her shrivelled eye. “Oh, and bring some back for me, too.”

Well, I do as she says. I gather the plant. I wear it. I bring a sprig back for her.

“Small,” she says, looking at it quizzically. “But it will do.”

And she puts it in her bonnet, and walks off into the coppice. I follow, secretly. She cannot be meeting her true love, I think – she is antique.

But in the clearing she stops. A man, all grey from head to foot glides out to her. She opens her arms to him and they entwine, form a true lover’s knot. “I knew you would find me,” she says, smiling.

About the author

Whales and Strange Stars. Lovely historical novel set in the marshlands of 18th century Kent. 
The sense of place is perfectly captured, and the writing just dances off the page. Highly recommended.’

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