Talking Grapes from story 'The Amazing Grapevines'
Far and wide the young man travelled in his search. One by one he added to his precious collection of seeds and saplings, but on the way home his ship was wrecked in a terrible storm. The next thing he remembered he was lying on a beach at the foot of a gently-sloping hill. Slowly he lifted his head and looked around. The large, dark-red leaves could not quite hide the heavy bunches of long, green berries with a delicate, almost see-through skin. A warm breeze tickled the young man's nose with the sweet smell of the ripe fruit.
“What a find!” he cried joyously. “The waves took everything I had, but this is a treasure beyond compare!”
The young man picked a handful of the plump berries.
The skin split, and a honey-sweet juice trickled down his fingers. Suddenly he heard footsteps behind him. An elderly man was moving along the row, snipping off bunches of fruit with a pair of scissors and placing them carefully in a basket.
“Er, hello,” the young man said uncertainly. “Sorry for coming into your garden without asking. You see, I'm travelling around the world looking for new plants. My saplings perished in the storm. But these amazing vines of yours are a miracle all by themselves!”
The old man turned and smiled.
“You're quite welcome, young friend, quite welcome,” he said. “My garden, as you call it, is a vineyard. Do you mean to say nobody grows grapes in your country?”
“No, and we're the poorer for it!” the young man answered with a laugh. “Where I live it's not as warm or dry as it is here. But if you would let me have a few seeds and teach me how to take care of them, I promise you they'll go down very well!”
The old vinesman looked thoughtful, and then placed a hand firmly on his young visitor's shoulder, “It's the hot, bright sun that makes our grapes sweeter than honey. In colder climes they oft as not turn out sour. But in good hands even the northern sun will ripen a sweet harvest.”
The old man turned again and looked out over the brilliant sea.
“My friend the captain will be back soon from his travels. The next time he sails he'll be glad to take you home, I'm sure of it. For now you're welcome to stay with me.”
Time flew by as the young man studied the secrets of the vineyard. Most of all he was fascinated by the branches, which split at the end into two winding curls that reached out in search of support, and when they found a grip, slowly wound their way along its length. The old vines man was happy to share his knowledge: “Grapes are happiest on a rocky hillside. You need lime in the soil, though, and sulphur. And remember: if you don't cut back your vines the grapes will be sour because the roots can't feed them all.”
There were white grapes and yellow ones, dark blue ones, and red grapes that glowed with rich purple highlights. When autumn came the vineyard was transformed into a magical, multi-coloured carpet spread over hill and valley.
One day he came across some tiny, black seedless grapes – “ Corinth , they're called”, the old man said. When picked and dried in the sun, they turned into raisins. Sometimes the vinesman's wife would bake them into loafs and pies, which somehow tasted best in the golden light of evening at the end of a day's work.
“This is delicious!” the young man exclaimed, trying a raisin for the first time.
The old man's eyes crinkled in a smile.
“Raisins and nuts were a favourite of travellers in ancient times. As rich as milk in goodness, they are. Even the horses would get a share – imagine what a treat that was after a dusty day on the road. They call grape juice the elixir of life. My father will be one hundred and five this year, and he's still going strong. Grapes heal the liver, the blood, even the nerves.”
With that the old man thumped his new friend cheerfully on the shoulder and popped another raisin in his mouth.
Questions and Activities on story about Grapes:
What does it mean for a gardener to have “good hands”? What kind of gardener or farmer will produce the richest harvest?
Ask the children to stand in a circle. Each one of them is a grape. Then ask them to remember their neighbours. Turn on some music and ask them to dance freely around the room. When the music stops, the grapes should come together again in a bunch. If the children get mixed up, the grapes are not yet “ripe”.
What makes grapes sweet?
What else did the young man learn about grapes?
Make up your own recipe for an “elixir of life”.
Read the 2nd story about GRAPES
in the book
'The World of Fruits"
For anyone interested in their child's well-being, “The Storyteller's Guide to Health” series is sure to be of value. Following each selection of delightful stories, games and activities you'll also find recipes for the vitamin-conscious kitchen. The recipes are simple, allowing children to prepare dishes themselves with only minimal supervision, and are also designed to preserve the largest possible share of vitamins and other nutrients in the final serving. Read fragments from our stories: fruits for children