FRAGMENTS FROM THE BOOK
"THE FAIRY-TALE STORIES ABOUT FRUIT"
THE WORLD OF FRUIT
(Lesson and Quiz Program)
The Fruit Fairies' Council
In the springtime, when trees all around the world are in bloom, they are visited by magic fairies who come from the orchards of heaven. The fairies are garbed in white, pink and burgundy petals, which they gather from flowering fruit trees. They wash in water of the purest dew, and every once in a while one of them falls into a deep sleep in a fruit-tree blossom, lulled by the scent which they love so dearly. Out of those favoured blossoms grow the juiciest, most delicious of all fruits.
In the long-ago past people were friends with the fairies. Gardeners would get their orchards ready for the fairies' visit, and would dress up in freshly-washed clothes and pray that all would be well. It was a lucky gardener whose orchard was visited by a fairy - if the orchard brought joy to the fairy's heart, the visitor would be sure to come back in the autumn and kiss each ripening fruit, whispering all the while words of sweetness. Those favoured fruits would keep for a very long time and had wonderful healing powers. However, if nobody met the fairy on her arrival in the orchard, she would be saddened - and such a fairy could bring herself to return to earth only in the spring of the following year, and to that orchard she would not return at all. The orchard would suffer terribly from devouring insects, fungus, or a hail that battered the tender young buds.
As the years went by more and more of the fairies returned in sadness to their heavenly orchards, for people had stopped believing in them altogether. They were poisoning their orchards with chemicals, and the fruits had all but lost their flavour. As for their healing powers - people had totally forgotten about them, and instead they used all sorts of strange pills. Finally, things became so alarming, that the fairies decided to gather together for a great Fruit Council, and before that Council they placed an urgent question: how to help people once again truly love fruit?
On a spring day all the fairies flew into a little island out in the middle of the ocean. The king of that island adored fruit and had ordered his subjects to plant every possible kind of orchard. The king himself was known as the Great Orchard King. In his kingdom all the children went to fruit school, where they could study all the medicinal qualities hidden in the fruit, and learn how to grow them. The factories were busy making fruit into juices, syrups and other nutritious fruit products. Even the hospitals on the island used fruits, and only fruits, to heal the sick. The people in that kingdom were famed for their health, their love of work, and their wisdom, and all the writers, poets and artists praised the beauty of their fruit.
The fairies made themselves comfortable in the flowers of their favourite trees and asked the apple fairy to take notes on apple-blossom petals about all the things they discussed. The king was also invited to the Council, and he brought his chief adviser with him. Opening the meeting was the privilege of the worthy fig fairy, who was known never to wash in the dew of fig flowers, since the flowers of the fig tree are hidden inside the fruit. For that reason the fig fairy - who wore a dress made from ample fig leaves - always carried a large, sweet, dried fig everywhere she went, and whenever necessary she would sit or rest on that.
“We all know that fruits are the purest food on earth, since they are the closest to the light,” she announced solemnly. “The sun is always shining down on them and warming them with its streaming rays, and they contain everything that the body needs. Yet people no longer love their fruit. Let us ask the king and his adviser why this has happened. They, after all, are people, too, and perhaps they can understand their fellow humans.”
The adviser was first to reply.
“With the deepest respect, fairies, it seems to me that your question is rather strange. Who doesn't love a juicy apple, sweet pear, honeydew melon or a fabulous soft peach?”
“It is not so simple, sir adviser. People may be happy to feast on fruits, but they don't consider fruit a decent lunch. Many of them don't understand that fruits are nutritious food, and they have completely forgotten that they have healing powers.”
Now the king replied, “I suggest that we write to the leaders of all the other countries about the important place fruits have in the life of our kingdom. Did you know that on our island you can become king only if you have raised an orchard with your own hands? If all the countries of the world were to follow our example, the problem would be solved. We can even send them helpers who are completely devoted to the cause of fruit, who by their example and their labour would help fruit to prosper in every land.”
When the king had finished, the fairies showered him with petals from their trees as a token of respect and delight with his suggestion. However, the slender cherry fairy interrupted with a gentle wave of her white garment.
“I am afraid, king, that the other countries will not listen to you. Nowadays people respect and listen to only the very biggest countries. Who will notice? Who will believe you? People no longer believe in good things.”
“Maybe we can tell people about the benefit of growing fruit?” suggested the banana fairy with a wave of her golden curls. “People are always looking to get some kind of benefit out of everything. From a square metre of earth fruits and nuts yield far more good than any other product.”
“Really?” asked the grape fairy, concern in her voice as her dress shimmered gold and green, red and purple in the sunlight. “You can grow many more of the beets and cane from which sugar is made on a piece of land than you can fruit. Thousands of times more than grapes, for example.”
“People are always so anxious to get more that they forget about what they are eating, and that is why they get sick so often, and what is more, they don't know what to do about it,” observed the pale orange apricot fairy, who was a famed healer. “For healing properties fruits are among the very best of all foods. People need to know what they are made of and how they affect the body.”
The date fairy, in her modest brown dress with a green leaf wrap, was widely respected for her great learning.
“People have always needed something sweet to eat,” she said, “and from the longest of long ago times they have treasured the sweetness of fruit. But now they have learned to make sugar, and they satisfy their hunger for sweet things without the benefit of fruit. They eat so many sweets that they themselves are suffering - they are getting fat and lazy. As everyone knows, all the good things nature provides in fruit haven been taken out of sugar, even though these good things can be found in the sugar beet and cane that it is made from.”
“We know, dear date fairy. Can you please explain what you suggest we should do?” asked the peach fairy with a wave of her fuzzy, yellow- and red-tinted wings.
“We must tell people that they should remember the sweetness of fruit, for in it they will find natural fruit sugar. The body takes in fruit sugar right away, and gives it more energy than any other kind - and it takes almost no energy to digest it. And that leaves much more energy for growth and life,” the date fairy concluded, and the apple fairy, whose pen was hardly able to keep up with all her wise words, sighed with relief.
“People were different in the olden days,” the grape fairy said, for she felt a need to speak again. “In the Bible story of the Flood I read that the first thing Noah did, after all the waters had receded, was to plant a vineyard. The ancient Greeks lived on nothing but the products of the earth, and every date they ate two dishes made from fruit, and the Romans lunched on fruit every day. Rich Romans used to plant fruit trees right on the roofs of their houses. Many ancient religions teach that we should eat only that which has ripened in the sun.”
The Council continued for three days. When everyone present had spoken their peace, the fig fairy made a solemn announcement.
“We have laboured long and hard these three days. Yet we still need good suggestions about how we can explain the goodness of fruit to the people of the earth.”
Just at that moment the pomegranate fairy in her burgundy dress flew in, all out of breath.
“Forgive me, friend fairies, for being late to such a very important gathering. I live in an old pomegranate tree in the garden of a wise man. Many people come to him for advice. To help people understand how to solve their problems, he always tells them stories, and I help to give him inspiration. I am late because just now he was finishing off one of his tales.”
“Now that's exactly what we need!” all the fairies exclaimed in a single voice. “Let's write stories about fruit, and then people will be sure to listen to us!”
“You know,” said the apple fairy thoughtfully. “Children, especially, love stories, and they are much better than adults at getting to the heart of things.”
Then she carefully folded up the petals on which she had made notes of the many counsels of her sister fairies, and the notes were passed to the Great Orchard king, who wrote the story of the Council. All the fairies also wrote their own fruit tales on petals from their trees. And thus ended the very first Fruit Fairy Council. And then ... in the dignified words of the fig fairy, “We shall wait as long as we must. To those who will listen to us we shall give the very best that fruits can give!”