Trading Day had come in a flurry of carts and left in a swirl of satisfaction. With coffers and pantries full, the Yarrow Leaf tribe had settled once more into that most pleasant of seasons—summer.
Or, as Heather liked to think of it, Bee Tree season.
On this particular dreamy summer day, she and Clover had spent almost an hour perched on stepladders under the linden tree outside the healers’ cottage, alternately harvesting clusters of the honey-scented flowers and offering commentary on the behavior of bees. Once the healers’ baskets had been filled entirely, the two sisters had retreated to the shade of the spreading branches, where they ‘helped’ separate blossoms from wing-shaped leaves until distraction overtook them both.
Now, the two of them lay on their backs beneath the tree, listening to the drone of bees overhead.
“I’ll never understand how they take the flowers and make them into honey,” Heather commented, the end of a grass stem bobbing at her mouth as she thought out loud. “The flowers certainly smell like honey, but they don’t taste like much of anything…”
“They taste like honey, too.” Violet, much more dedicated than either Heather or Clover, was still sitting with her back to the linden trunk, methodically stripping the bell-shaped linden blossoms from their stems and shaking them into a wide basket. “In tea.”
“Phwoarrr,” Heather spat out the grass stem. “I’ve had linden tea.” She stuck out her tongue at the basket. “Tastes like hay.”
Clover’s head had been pillowed on one of the rising roots, but she’d since moved it to Heather’s stomach. The weight against her midsection reminded Heather of a more pressing ache—namely, the rapid approaching of teatime. Her stomach growled in response to the thought, and she sat up. “I’d much rather just smell the flowers, or eat actual honey.”
“Honey cake,” Clover agreed, sitting up as well. “Come to think of it, we haven’t had it yet this year.” She picked up one of the discarded wing-shaped leaves and blew it into the air. It spiraled down through the warm, fragrance-laden air as she added, “We usually have honey cake right around trading time and your name day, Violet, but for some reason we haven’t yet.”
“’Cause we haven’t any honey,” Heather reminded her younger sister. Her stomach growled again. “All this talk of honey’s making me hungry.” She stood and brushed her skirts free of miscellaneous flower petals, pollen, and dust before extending an imperious hand to Clover. “Come along, Ducky. I think it’s getting on towards teatime.”
Clover joined her, shaking leaves from shaggy chestnut-brown hair. With summer well and truly begun, her skin had already taken on a deeper cast of golden tan than usual. “Sounds lovely.” She blew Violet a kiss as Heather tugged her out of the tangled garden.
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