A poem by Frank Letras 14th July 2010. Based on the legend “lenda das amendoeiras”

Long ago and far away

In a kingdom to the west

Lived a handsome Moorish king

Who endeavoured to do his best.

He ruled a province strange to him

Though this he did not choose

To rule the land of the Al-garve

In the west of Al-Andaluz.

He was a fair and wise ruler

Ensuring his land was free of strife

The only thing missing said the courtiers

Was the presence of a wife.

And so it came to pass

That through romance and finesse

Our wise and noble king

Married a Nordic Princess.

Her beauty was incomparable

The stuff of legends, we’re told

Her eyes the blue of the Summer sky

Her hair the colour of pure gold.

They were married in the Spring

Nobility came from far and wide

Bringing luxurious gifts for the king

And gasping at the loveliness of his bride.

Feasting went on for many days

Full of merriment and laughter

The royal couple’s love was evident

They would be happy ever after.

But something wasn’t quite right

With this blissfully loving scene

The gods ever jealous of humans

Sent Fate to intervene.

Within months the queen got sick

Nobody could tell the king why

She was pale and wan and sad

And all she could do was cry.

The king sent for the best doctors

Someone somewhere must surely know

Till a wise tribesman told the king,

“what her majesty needs Is snow”.

“Her wistfulness is very deep

And snow is the reason why

If her melancholy doesn’t change

Then she surely will die“.


“But what can I do old man?

For sooth it doesn’t snow here”.

“Then snow you’ll have to make

And I know3 just how, don’t fear”.

“What you must do my liege

Is plant many an almond tree

When they blossom in the Spring

This the queen must see.

The king ordered almond tree s planted

As far as the eye could see

Sceptical through the monarch was

He determined to wait and see.

Spring came and sure enough

The queen regained her healthy glow

For the fields surrounding the castle

Were completely covered in snow.

“How you did this Lord, I know not

But our happiness is assured”.

She said to her doting, happy husband

And he noted that she was cured .

From then on the almond was the Algarve’s main fruit

Their white blossoms carpet the fields every Spring

And sometimes if you listen carefully

You can still hear the Nordic Princess sing.