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Daisy – The Donkey Woman

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Donkeys illustrating children's stories from Ballyyahoo in IrelandDaisy the donkey-woman isn’t called Daisy the donkey-woman because she loves cats and dogs – although she does.

And, she’s not called Daisy because she loves daisies – although she does.

No, she’s called Daisy the donkey-woman because, as you might have guessed – she’s stark, staring mad – about donkeys.

Daisy is a small woman, not more than five feet tall. She has a mass of thick red curls that are always trying to escape from her little green hat.

Her back is so crooked she looks as though she is bending over looking at the ground.

This is because she is looking at the ground. In fact, she spends most of her time looking at the ground. You’ll find out why if you read on.

Daisy lives near the edge of Ballyyahoo and her back garden is very close to the Witchy Woods.

There is a big overgrown hedgerow at the bottom of Daisy’s garden and this hedgerow is what separates her garden from the Witchy Woods.

Daisy’s hedgerow is no ordinary hedgerow, although at first glance you might think it’s nothing much.

But the hedgerow is actually quite special. It’s a line of Hazel trees that fill up with light green leaves that rustle in the wind and it becomes rich with brown-hatted hazel nuts in September and October.

In between the Hazel trees there are lots and lots of blackberry and raspberry bushes and these drip with fat juicy berries in late summer.

The hedgerow is quite noisy too – with the chatter and songs of the birds as they fly from branch to branch in search of berries.

Underneath the hedgerow, hidden under the sticks and fallen leaves there are all sorts of tiny creatures and insects who forage around the earth seeking food.

There is also a family of hedgehogs. You can’t see them in the daytime but sometimes they come out at night.

If you shone a torch around Daisy’s garden you might be lucky and see them coming out to hunt and play.

But you’d have to be quiet so not to scare them away.

Daisy likes to keep her hedgerow large and bushy.

This is because if she cut it the hedgehogs would have nowhere to hide, the birds couldn’t feed from the berries, or build their nests and all the little creatures would have nowhere safe to live.

Another reason she lets her hedgerow grow wild is that her donkeys love to eat the raspberries and blackberries.

Daisy also lets them go down to the fields near the Halfamoon beach.

The donkeys love to graze there and eat the grass. They also love to hang about with old Paddy Plant’s apple-mad donkey, Daffo.

Daisy is quite a mild-mannered woman and nobody has heard her say a harsh word about anyone or anything since 1975.

That was because she woke up one morning and found a useless half-eejit from Ballyuseless throwing stones at her donkey.

She was so mad she boot-propelled him all the way back to Ballyuseless.

That was one half-eejit that was never seen next, nor near Ballyyahoo ever again.

She doesn’t mind if the kids from Ballyyahoo eat the raspberries and blackberries that grow in her front garden as they pass by.

And Daisy doesn’t mind one little bit if Biddy, comes and picks a few herbs from her front garden.

In fact, there’s hardly anything that Daisy minds.

She likes hot weather, cold weather, rainy weather, snowy weather and even likes Brussels-sprouts pie and custard.

She just an easy-going woman who likes to share.

Her favourite motto is ‘live a lot, share a lot and leave my donkeys alone.’

But there is one thing that makes her very, very mad. It might surprise you to hear that what makes her mad is a plant.

One single yellow plant.

That plant is called ragwort and Daisy would tell you it’s the scourge of her life.

field of yellow ragwort illustrating a children's story from Ballyyahoo in IrelandRagwort is actually quite a pretty plant and it’s yellow colours look lovely against the green of a field.

But pretty isn’t always good.

You see Ragwort is poisonous to donkeys and horses. If they ate it they could die.

Most donkeys and horses instinctively know to avoid Ragwort but occasionally a younger donkey might eat it.

Daisy knows she has a baby donkey on the way as one of her donkeys is with foal.

So if you’re wondering why Daisy has a bent back- it’s because she spends all her time looking down, scouring her garden and the fields for the dreaded ragwort.

If she finds some she stomps her feet and let’s an unmerciful roar that can be heard throughout the town.

Then she grabs the ragwort and pulls.

Daisy might be a little woman but her right arm has a streak of magic going through it and when she pulls at a ragwort it comes straight out of the ground – roots and all.

It took Daisy less than ten minutes to clear the field in the above photograph – that’s because not only has she got a magic arm – she’s also got the fastest legs in the west – of Ireland.

Daisy the donkey-woman’s new foal is on the way, so be sure and come back again soon.

In the mean time if you like cats…

…you’d love to meet Maggie-Many-Cats.

 

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