The Strawberry Thief, a short descriptive story to read on-line. 1.
Who is the Strawberry Thief ?
This was a question I had often heard voiced as a child, years later I discovered the answer to this. But I did not solve the mystery about who the strawberry thief was when I was in a garden.The mystery was solved in the least likely of places here is my story of the strawberry thief.
Who Steals the Strawberries?
The Strawberry Thief.
The day the mystery was finally solved began as I gazed in awe at the vast selection of fabrics on show in the fabric department of the Liberty store in London.
One can spend hours looking at fabrics if you love them as I do, well actually not just looking, I have to touch the more tactile ones, fabrics like satin or velvet are always a temptation. Except that day I was in the Liberty Store in London and I dare not touch any of the fabrics, so it was looking only that day. I had the feeling that in those days the staff reserved their smiles for the customers who looked as if they could buy all of the fabrics if they wished to.
I was an art student on a fashion course, who would eventually spend as much as I could possibly afford on a very small quantity of exquisite material. In fact one piece of precious fabric is still stored away at the back of a cupboard, it is a fine wool challis, and the shade of it reminds me of lavender flowers or Parma Violets and then there was the way it would drape beautifully that captured my attention on one of my visits to the famous store.
While I browsed the colours and textures on display there I would imagine what beautiful garments could be made from the different fabrics. The evening wear section had collection of rich deep velvets, next to this was silky soft satins, all in deep jewel colours through to beige,creams and hints of pink like the inside of a shell. I thought that these are the fabrics some women only get to see on TV on a Hollywood film star worn at an award premier. Fabric departments especially one as luxurious as this were like an Aladdin's Cave stocked with treasure for me at that time. I was a fashion student living on a budget and often my ideas for the garments I wanted to make exceeded the depth of my purse or bank balance.
After the exotic, I decided to explore the traditional designs the ones that were based on themes and ideas such as those used by William Morris. These fabrics were in the section for printed designs and I was naturally drawn to the fine cotton versions of theses and the cotton lawns and almost transparent voile. This was because my dress designs were often influenced by the fact that I was fond of the descriptions of characters such as those that populated Thomas Hardy's books, and so the era of the clothes that I imagined the women of the day wearing, filtered through to the romantic style of clothing I was designing and making while I was a fashion student.
I discovered the strawberry thief by accident as I was browsing in the printed cotton lawn fabrics section. Do you know what lawn fabric is? It is like a very fine lightweight cotton, Liberty cotton is I believe world famous. Well, there on the shelf, the polished wooded shelves of Libertys was the fabric called 'The Strawberry Thief' which made me curious when I read the name on the label. Libertys labels are the small card tags which swing from a fine piece of string attached to the fabric and threaded through a hole punched in the top of the card ta, which is probably not much more than an inch square. I guess you have to have very neat writing to label up the fabrics if you work there. I am a person who finds questions in places that others might not, so the who is and what is sprung into my mind as I read the name written on the back of the small white card price tag, which identified the name of the fabric on the reverse side to the one with the price that the fabric cost per yard.
Why was the fabric called 'The Strawberry Thief' and who was being called the strawberry thief? Depicted in the pattern of the fabric based on garden plants, is the small bird that no doubt is or was the strawberry thief.
Why has this memory lingered with me for so long, well you see for a long time I had always secretly thought that the strawberry thief was me; until I saw it named there. As a child my parents had grown strawberries in our garden and to aid the ripening of the berries and possibly to stop the birds from stealing the ripening fruit they had put old glass jam jars over the fruit. I can remember my parents having a conversation wondering how the birds had managed to steal the ripe fruit from inside the glass jars. I said nothing but quickly wiped the juice my from my fingers onto the fine white cotton tablecloth that was close by.
Was I a Strawberry Thief?
Anyone who grows fruit will be aware of this problem. One day you are looking at the strawberries, watching them ripening on the strawberry plants in the sun. Happily, you then congratulate yourself in the knowledge that tomorrow you will be able to feast on a magnificent bowl of fresh strawberries. You can see the fruit is almost ripe and nearly ready to eat, just one more day of sunshine and the fruit will be soft enough to yield its fresh juicy flavour as you enjoy it and experience what you consider as the taste of an English summer.
Yet the next morning in the garden, as you search beneath the leaves of the strawberry plant, in vain, you discover that you have to ask yourself two questions. The first question is -
"Where have the strawberries gone?" and the second question is
"Who is the strawberry thief?" now you have read this story you have discovered an answer or possibly two to this reoccurring mystery.
The Strawberry Thief, a fabric by William Morris is.
I have added the above at a later stage as a way of displaying the fabric named 'The Strawberry Thief.'
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