A young Australian travelling for academic purposes in Europe visits a monastery in Spain and is waylaid by an old man selling his produce by the roadside at a nearby war cemetery. He innocently asks about the massive eucalypt trees in the monastery grounds and is then entranced by the old man and the story he tells of their history which weaves together the secret 16th-century exploration of Terra Australis, the Emperor Charles V, the dedication of a botanist,
fundamentals of gardening and the wonder of Nature.
"I found myself translating a story written by someone I hardly knew, about some apparently incomprehensible fantastical old man in the middle of nowhere telling his story involving ancient Spanish historical figures, to an unnamed and bewildered young foreigner with little command of the language." - Irene Esteve Gurpide - translator