About the book

Sitting centrally in the Irish Sea between England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, the Isle of Man is a beautiful gem in the belly of the British Isles. Storytelling is very much part of the island’s traditional culture. This collection of fictional short stories were inspired by and conceived at Smeale Farm and refined by breezes and sea salt. Narrated by the creatures that dwell in this stunning landscape, the tales explore both the joys and harsh realities of farming life and the natural world.

“There is tenderness, darkness and a wonderful wry humour in these vivid tales which are bursting with life. From an adventuring ant to the polecat who didn’t like chicken, we are right there with Beth Martin’s tale-tellers, tasting, touching and smelling the world in a myriad different ways. Beth has a way of turning the ordinary into something extraordinary, getting under the skin of each character and enabling us to experience their lives in a way that’s full of wonder, without shying away from the often harsh realities of nature.” – Janet Lees, poet, artist and facilitator of creative writing classes

“What a delight! Beth’s stories display their knowledge with a light and engaging touch, witty, charming and sometimes shocking as the realities of animal and insect life are revealed. From the new earthworm beginning its life in a ‘rice-grain of a cocoon’ to the queen of the hive who will soon ‘cease to bee’, Beth lays bare the life cycle of the natural world around her farm in all its teeming and relentless glory.” – Vicky Lloyd-West, co-author of Story from Stone

For orders outside of the IOM/UK, please email songofthehawthorn@gmail.com.

About the author

Beth Martin

Beth grew up on a dairy farm and went on to study agriculture at Bangor University in Wales. She swore she would never marry a farmer. Somehow she did just that but at least he was a sheep and arable farmer with no milking involved.

Steeped in history, Smeale Farm has been her home for many years and provided the inspiration for this collection of short stories. Covid 19 lockdown boredom gave her the time and incentive to write them down before she might expire. She hopes you will enjoy reading the tales as much as she enjoyed immersing herself in the lives of these extraordinary beings that we mostly take for granted.

About the Illustrator

Carola Colley

Carola is a multi disciplinary artist who knows Smeale inside out, having spent many happy childhood moments staying with her grandparents who lived there, and later lived there for years herself, running art workshops just round the corner from Smeale Farm. Manx landscape, myth and histories have always provided huge inspiration to all her work and informed her illustrations for these stories.