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The Key to Planting 4 Leaf Clovers ~ Quilldancing Assignment #3

It’s March 15th! I hope you’ve published your story and come to link up! Your assignment was to write a complete story in approximately 500 words using the photo below to kick-start your thinking:

You were also asked to include a 4 leaf clover and a golden key.


The Key to Planting 4 Leaf Clovers

Brandywine spent months working out the mathematical logistics required to make certain the village’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration was spectacularly lucky. Dispersing the appropriate measures of good luck was her first official assignment as a journeyman Leprechaun.

The Queen gave her orders to distribute four leaf clovers throughout the glen. Brandywine was to allot no more than one four-leaf clover for every five thousand three-leaf clovers. The four leaf clovers were to be evenly distributed across the glen and no closer together than three inches, but no further apart than seven.

Brandywine had mapped every inch of the glen and made extensive surveys on the amount of clover already growing there. She’d even personally visited every known four leaf clover and noted its precise placement on her charts. Her planning was meticulous – but it was worthless without the golden key.

When Queen Saffron promoted Brandywine to journeyman and charged her with the St. Patrick’s Day planning, she’d given her a golden key and an admonition, “Brandywine, this key opens the vault where we store four leaf clover seeds. Be very careful with it. As you know, every four leaf clover is a promise of good luck to the human who finds it, however, leprechaun luck is capricious when used by humans and does not always turn out well, so we try to limit just how much is available to the world at any given time. As a rule we allow only one four-leaf clover for every five billion three-leaf clovers, but here in Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day we make an exception.”

Brandywine knew that St. Patrick had been a friend to the leprechaun and always treated them kindly. In fact, upon learning that leprechaun children were the favorite prey of snakes, St. Patrick had chased the evil serpents off the island, forever endearing himself to the clan. To honor him, they’d fashioned the four-leaf clover and imbued it with luck. The seeds to those clovers were kept in a golden cellar that locked with a golden key – which Brandywine seemed to have lost.

“What do you mean, you don’t have it?!” Her sister, Rosewood admonished. “How does one forget where they’ve put something so important?”

“I haven’t forgotten!” Brandywine insisted. “Last year on St. Patrick’s Day as the sun went down, we celebrated Dandelion’s retirement and the Queen named me his successor. Dandelion gave me the golden key and told me to put it away and forget about it until it was time to plant. I did as he said. I came home and put it in the bottom of Seanmháthair’s tea jar and forgot about it, only now it isn’t there.”

Rosewood grabbed the jar, Dumped the tea into a bowl and sifted through the tea leaves with her fingers. “Are you certain you put it here?”

“Of course that’s where I put it! That tea is ten years old. No one drinks it now that Seanmháthair is gone. This was the safest place in the house.”

“What are you going to do?”

“What can I do?” Brandywine wailed. “Tomorrow I must go to the Queen and tell her I have failed. She will probably have me banished.”

“No! No!” Rosewood wailed. “The key has to be here somewhere. I’ll help you find it!”

The two sisters scoured the house from top to bottom. All night they searched and cleaned. As the sun rose at dawn they stopped, exhausted, and slumped into their chairs. “I have failed,” Brandywine said. “There is nothing left but to tell the Queen.”

Brandywine’s pronouncement was followed by an ominous pounding on the front door. Rosewood jumped to her feet. “Who is here? Quick, hide.”

“Why?” Brandywine said. “We might as well get this over with.” She trudged to the door and opened it.

Dandelion stepped into the room. “Good morning, sisters,” he said. “I trust all is well.” He looked at Brandywine. “You have the key?”

Brandywine shook her head. “I do not. I pit it in Seanmháthair’s tea jar and forgot about it like you said, but yesterday when I went to retrieve it, it was gone.”

“Yesterday?” Dandelion questioned. “But didn’t I tell you to forget about it until it was time to plant.”

“I did!” Brandywine wailed. “And because of that I don’t even know when it disappeared. For all I know, it could have been gone all year!”
Dandelion shook his head. “May I see your Seanmháthair’s tea jar?”

Rosewood opened the cupboard and grabbed the jar. “Certainly,” she said, “but it will do no good. The key isn’t in it. Both Brandywine and I have sifted through it repeatedly.”

Dandelion took the jar, held it above his head and shook it. The tea leaves rustled and shifted as something slithered through them and suddenly, plainly visible through the clear glass bottom of the jar, was the missing golden key.

“You had it all along!” Rosewood accused Dandelion.

“Ach, no.” Dandelion said. “I told you not to look for it until it was needed. You weren’t to look because it couldn’t be found! It can only be seen when it has work to do. You can see it now because it is planting day. Now ladies, if you want there to be a festival, I suggest you open the cellar and call the planters!”

Quilly is the pseudonym of Charlene L. Amsden, who lives on The Big Island in Hawaii. When she is not hanging out with Amoeba, she is likely teaching or sewing. Or she could be cooking, taking photographs, or even writing. But if she's not doing any of that, she's probably on Facebook or tinkering with her blog.


  1. This is how out of touch I am. I read Feb 15th and instead of thinking typo I was immediately despondent over how long it’s been since you’ve posted…

    Someone ought to pay more attention,
    and by that I mean ME.

      1. Actually, I did,
        and quite enjoyed it too!
        I was just so busy being a dork earlier I forgot to mention it.

        Hope you have a great St. Patty’s Day

  2. Wonderful story Quilly, loved how you entwined the picture with the 4 Leaf Clover and the Key with Saint Patrick’s Day. Worth getting up for that drink of Cold Water and deciding to putz on the computer. This is a fun Meme. My Mum used to look for 4 Leaf Clovers and when she found one would save it and press it in the Family Bible., This is kind of how I got my idea for my Story this month with Blanche.

    1. I was beginning to worry that Brandywine wouldn’t be able to present the key. But, I’m glad that it finally appeared on the supposed planting day. Love the story and your new meme. I hope I’ll be able to join in the future. We are currently preparing for a move to Singapore in early May. Have a blessed week 🙂

  3. If Brandywine had spent ANY time with Quilly & Amoeba, she would have known that there was a LITERAL truth in there!

    Very nicely staged, Quilly, and engaging to the end!

  4. One must always pay attention to the wording – leprechauns a very tricky that way.

    Excellent story. I put this assigment in my calendar so i can play next month.

  5. What a lovely story! My maternal grandma could find a four leaf clover in just a couple of minutes…always. She was beautiful and much loved by all of us, especially Grandpa, so the luck of the four leaf clover was hers for life.

  6. .
    This is a nice story, Quilly. Very timely for St. Patrick’s day. In the Army we had a saying, I think auto mechanics do also, “read the directions.”

    I am not sure if you will take it but mine, Snow Drops is finished and posted. It was too wordy and I had to whittle (edit) pretty hard but got it in at 498 words [counted by MS. Word :)]

    1. .
      Thank you, Quilly, for peeking in on my story. I answered your why and how question in detail in a comment. Briefly here, in respect of brevity and importance to the story the why and how of catching the bad guys must be inferred. That part has no bearing to the theme of my story and I didn’t want to emphasize it one bit. I hope its lack doesn’t detract very much.
      I considered the latter during my writing process. My only hint is placement of the three dots, ‘ … ‘

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