The Golden Tup: A dreadful tale of a young couple’s paradise being cruelly taken from them by latent evil.
“But whom sent I to judge them?” John Milton, Paradise Lost.
Can evil be in a place? The tale opens with Verity, a farmer’s wife, recalling how a young couple were arrested a few years previously for killing their new born baby. How could such a nice young couple have done such a dreadful thing? Through a series of flashbacks we learn how they had created their rural idyll, how an enigmatic man had come into their lives and how their idyll and relationship had gradually fallen apart – how, with references to Milton’s Paradise Lost, their paradise was lost. Gradually the young wife reveals a dreadful past, but Verity realises that she is holding something back, but what? What is the terrible truth that caused her and her husband to kill their baby?


This was an entertaining short story with a bit of a supernatural twist. It very much reminded me of the stories that used to be told on a TV programme some years ago called Tales of the Unexpected, which  were billed as sinister and amusing stories, each with a twist in the tale. That description works well  for this.

This story begins at the end, well, over 10 years after the end, when Verity is retelling the events running up to the arrest and prosecution of Constance and Matthew for killing their baby the only question anyone wants to know the answer to is why?

Verity, a farmers wife had befriended a young couple that had moved to the small village and bought a farm, very cheaply, that had been empty for years. As any new owners normally do with an old property, the young couple wanted to modernise it and make it their own. The couple decided that the old tree in the yard had to go but before it was chopped down, an old man called Gabriel simply came to the farm and told them to leave it be. The couple had made their minds up and the tree was chopped down but from then on the couple’s luck seemed to change and not for the better.

This really is a strange story that I found myself intently hanging on to Verity’s every word but there again 10 years was a long time and I thought how much is the real story and how much, if any has been changed just so that she can get an audience. Everything is her word. Will you believe the strange goings on.


Leslie Garland was born in 1949, qualified as a Chartered Civil Engineer and worked for several years on projects in the UK, the Far East and Africa. During this period he won the Institution of Civil Engineers “Miller Prize” for a paper on tunnelling. Changing times resulted in a change in direction and after qualifying as an Associate Member of both the British Institute of Professional Photography and the Royal Photographic Society he started his own stock photograph library and wrote for the trade press. An unexpected break in his Internet connection fortuitously presented the time to make a start on a long cherished project of a series of novella length stories, and the first story of “The Red Grouse Tales”, was drafted. Three more tales have followed and he is now working on a second batch of tales. He lives with his wife in Northumberland, England. More information on Leslie Garland’s website

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