Remember picking one of these colourful flowers and one by one pulling off a petal saying... "she loves me... she loves me not...she...". How did this simple rhyme start? Each petal represents a story.

"Would you tell me a story, Mother?", asked Belle. Each night her mother, Daisy, would tell her daughter a bedtime story. The girl fell asleep quickly, usually before the story was finished. Daisy asked Belle, " would you like to hear a Margaret story?" "Oh yes mother", she replied, " the last one was nice."

"Right", recalled Daisy, " the one about the saint, Margaret of Cortuna. Her belief was so strong that those who came to her burdened with sadness were relieved. Word of her work was spread far and wide, and she became famous. Well, this story is about an amazing woman."

wp4cb18d0e.gif She started to tell ..."In the third century, before people knew much about medicine, healing was entrusted to a saint, Margret of Antioch. Imagine the faith, the hope and the patience of those coming before her. She would wave a daisy above them, chanting incantations, candles flickering. Yet the sick were healed. How could it be possible? "

Belle was asleep before the story was over and Daisy stopped talking; just watching her daughter. The girl was easy to care for... a good thing too because Daisy had lost her husband several years ago. She had also recently met a man who just couldn't settle down with a wife. Every time was the same; an initial attraction, then a breaking off. But then, Chris was a dreamer and this did not appear to be a promising relationship either, or so he thought.

Chris looked up from his paper and asked... "So how did she do it?" A bit taken aback, Daisy told him the ending. "She used the herb of the margarethes. She loved the flowers and kept their elixir a secret. In those days the alternative medicine was too horrible to imagine." Chris shuddered, " I've read about some of the things they used to do to the sick".

wp3f2e5e4c.gif The next night, Belle heard a bedtime story about another brave Margret. Daisy started, "I'm going to tell you about how Margueritha went with her husband St. Louis of France on the 6th crusade and fought against the Moors. They went on their harnessed horses with armour and spears, colourful shields carrying the family colours. The emblem was a French lilly, a marguerithe and a cross. All the knights and footmen must have been a colourful sight, but... terrible as any war. It was not a place for a woman, but she went anyway."

Daisy soon discovered that Chris couldn't help but listen in. Now, Chris was embarassed to admit he wanted to hear the story, and had stayed quiet for the first few nights. But the gleam in his eye gave him away as her muttered... "Imagine the trouble all those knights had undressing... it must take hours..." he tossed his paper down like a shield..." Clang", he muttered. He pulled of his sweater imagining it to be a coat of mail..."Cratch." Daisy's shoes followed with a "Clatter".

Now, Daisy, thinking on Chris's interest, started to tell more advanced stories. Just at the most thrilling part she would stop, using the excuse that her daughter was asleep. Finally, Chris was just bursting to hear the end of the story and told Daisy so.

This night the story was about Milka, a king who appeared to have magical powers. He ruled the land wisely but something seemed to be wrong with the many royal children. For some reason they never seemed to grow very tall. The children also seemed to dissappear after a while. No one dared to ask, until one day the king was caught feeding his children daisy flowers. It seems that daisies are fairy food. The king was sending his children to the fairies, and they in turn gave him the magic. Chris snorted, " These cookies don't have any daisy petals in them do they?"

wp3aba209d.gif Daisy was telling Belle a scary story. "Margaretha of d'Anjou carried her beloved flowers from France when she married Henry the 6th. On her castle in Greenwich, beside the well known Tudor rose, are her daisies etched into the pink stone walls. She was a brave Queen, who did not accept defeat easily, even when the king was slain and battle raged all around. She would have been killed too, having been found hiding in the castle by a robber. She pleaded for her life, calling on his honour for the unborn son of the king. The robber escorted the queen over the Scottish border to safety." Belle was asleep, but Chris sais," That robber sounds a bit like Robin Hood to me." With that he started to raid the kitchen..." Let's take from the rich!"

wp87a9b4cb.gif The next night, Belle didn't want another Margret story. Daisy said," Let's tell one based on a Greek myth about Belinda, a beautiful nymph. She was always being chased by Vertumus, the God of the orchards, who was in love with her. She fled as fast as she could, but the God was faster. She called for the other Gods to help her and they took pity on her. They quickly changed her into the pretty daisy that grows in the grass, with pink edged petals." Chris walked with wide heavy steps that night..."Ho Ho Ho... I am Vertumus" but Daisy was already at the other side of the room. Giggling.

wp5b1915e8.gif Daisy was starting to love Chris, but maddeningly, he gave no response when she told him this. Daisy had just the right story to tell. "Let me take you back a thousand years", she said. "There once was a powerful Sultan. He was a horrible man and feared everywhere. Each week he would take another wife and then have her killed after he got tired of her." " What a cruel man", said Belle, " were they ugly?". Daisy looked fondly at the little girl. "No, the Sultan had lots of pretty girls to choose from. It was him. He just never saw what was inside." "I do not like this story", complained Belle. Daisy said softly, "Tell me, Belle, who are the world's most beautiful women?" Belle thought dreamily..." Well, the Queen is and... you!" Daisy bent her head and smiled. She was just an ordinary girl like thousands of others. " Your eyes are in your heart", Daisy said softly. Her daughter was already asleep. But, Daisy went on. "The Sultan claimed another wife, Sharenade. But she managed to escape the Sultan's death sentence. You know how she did it?" Daisy stopped, knowing full well that Chris was intently listening. "Belle is asleep?", he said sadly. Daisy nodded. "I'm not" said Chris with his eyes gleaming.

Belle sat down beside Chris and continued. " Sharenade was the eldest of 3 beautiful sisters, forced to live at the palace by the Sultan's guards who regularly patrolled the Sultan's kingdom for eligible women. Sharenade would tell her youngest sister stories, but stop at the most suspenseful part. The Sultan was listening of course, and looked forward to hearing the rest of the story the next night. ( forgetting all about his death sentence ) Sharenade's stories never quite ended, each time showing another facet of a women's mind. In the end, the Sultan realized that he couldn't live without Sharenade. " Chris was quiet for a while; the point not lost on him.

The next night, Daisy told a story to both Belle and Chris. " This story follows the story of Margarethe d'Anjou and King Henry of Navarre... how they had to marry for political reasons. She was only 15. Henry was the leader of the Hujuenots, who had left the Catholic church. They were persecuted and killed by the thousands. Margarethe had helped the people and they offered her the french daisy as a token of their love. She in turn made them a beautiful garden in Navarre. Her happiest memories were in that garden, those of her coming from her chappel on one side, meeting halfway with Henry coming from his protestant church on the other side. She always loved daisies, and later on made a famous garden in Paris." Belle was already asleep, and Daisy found Chris's eyes shining again. Stately, he approached Belle and kissed her hand. " My beautiful Queenchild", he murmered.

wp1c143ce0.gif The stories weren't over of course, but I'm out of petals. Just look into the eye of the flower and you will see...