The Harvest Queen incorporates Celtic fairy magic into a story that highlights the closeness between Brigit and her grandmother. The last pumpkin of autumn has been saved for a special purpose: it is to become the head of Carlin, the Harvest Queen. Together Brigit and Grandma build Carlin from sunflower stalks, corn leaves, and other riches of the harvest.
They weave her a necklace of red beets for protection. When Grandma tells Brigit of how the fairies come to dance with Carlin, invisible to all but the one wearing a four-leaf clover, Brigit determines to find the magical leaf. As darkness falls, she sees the fairies dancing with Carlin and is almost caught in their circle. But she pulls Carlin’s skirt around her and claims the Queen’s beet necklace as protection, and the fairies leave her alone. Brigit’s experience may be a dream, but her reactions suggest that it marks a new maturity, and perhaps a new sense of identification with the female power that Carlin so clearly represents.
The tacit approval of her grandmother, and a hinted-at connection with her mother (who has a four-leaf-clover pendant) seals the pact of understanding between the generations. Carlin’s wild dance with the fairies and its revitalizing effect on the garden suggest fertility and abundance and the positive value of being female.