It was a hot day. So hot that Jon and his sister Naomi found themselves walking through the busy market-place dreaming of ice-cold fruit platters on silver trays. As they wondered where they could find such royal food, they stumbled upon the fruit seller’s stand and to their delight, right in front of them was the largest pile of fresh, juicy apples they had ever seen! Hundreds of crisp red apples screaming to be eaten. They had just enough money for one large apple each. Jon reached out for the first apple he could get his hands upon; he had paid and was munching through it before Naomi had blinked twice. One apple had caught her eye from the beginning. It was at the bottom of the gigantic pile and unlike the rest of the bright red apples, this one was different. At first glance one could be mistaken in thinking it was a little dull with its russet brown shade, but the more she looked, the more she noticed that it shimmered in the sunlight/as the light touched it, almost as if it were made of gold. A golden apple. “What are you waiting for?” cried Jon. “They taste wonderful, choose one and let’s go.”
Naomi only had eyes for the golden apple, she couldn’t explain it; somehow, she knew it was the best apple of them all. Gently, she prised it from the bottom of the pile and immediately saw the fruit seller smiling at her in a strange way. “You like the look of that one do you?” He said, “It’s a special one is that one, it’s a Generous Apple. I’ll tell you what, if that apple is good to you, remember to share its goodness and I will give it to you right now for free!” Naomi was amazed and took little time in thanking the man and skipping away happily with her gift. It was golden like no other apple she had ever seen; even Jon remarked that it looked like something from a pirate’s treasure chest!
Naomi took a large bite of the golden apple and her delight was beyond anything she could have imagined. It tasted wonderful, but more than that it was so juicy that the taste of fresh apple juice stayed in her mouth long after she had swallowed the first bite. It was amazing! She felt as if she had eaten ten apples by the time she had finished. Feeling full, perfectly quenched of her thirst and happier than she had felt in days, she felt it truly was magical. What kind of apple was this, she thought to herself? (And she pondered the words of the fruit seller ‘It’s a generous apple, remember to share its goodness’, what a funny thing to say…)
The two children continued on their way and left the busy market-place, Naomi couldn’t bring herself to throw the apple core away, so she popped it in her pocket. This amused Jon who kept laughing at her, but she felt it was just too precious to discard. Even as a core it still shone with golden splendour. When they got home that afternoon, the apple core was still getting soggy in her pocket and she realised how silly she had been. Quietly she went outside and threw it away, into the corner of the garden. In her mind she thanked the apple for feeding her so well, pondering how strange it was that she hadn’t felt in the least bit hungry or thirsty all day. Even at dinner time later that evening she only needed a small plate of the dinner her mother had prepared.
Next morning Naomi awoke to hear her brother shouting loudly from the garden. Quickly, she ran out into the garden to see what all the noise was about. To her great surprise she saw her brother standing at the foot of a huge tree in the corner of the garden! It took her a while to realise it was exactly where she had thrown the apple core the night before, and sure enough there was now a tree weighed down with its bounty of gleaming golden apples, hundreds of them! She could hardly believe what she was seeing. They were real enough though, so real that Jon had picked one and was happily munching away with a big smile on his face. “Wow, they are so juicy,” Jon remarked, “Now I know why you loved your apple so much yesterday.”
Naomi suddenly remembered the words of the fruit seller. ‘If that apple is good to you, share its goodness with others.’ At once she knew what she needed to do. Quickly communicating her idea to Jon, they excitedly picked a box full of apples and set up a little table in front of their house. Naomi carefully hand-wrote a sign saying GENEROUS APPLES – FREE TO TAKE!
The two children sat behind the table and were surprised at the number of people that walked by shaking their heads and wondering why anyone would give away apples without wanting money. But every person that stopped to talk to the children about the free apples eventually took one away to eat. To every customer Naomi politely said that it would be a good idea to plant the seeds in their garden and if the apple proved to be good to them, to pass on its goodness to others. No one really understood what Naomi meant by this, but they thanked her all the same and went on their way with one of the golden apples.
By lunchtime the children had given all the apples away. The next morning when they looked out of their window, they were amazed to see that the tree in their garden was once again laden with golden apples! This happened day after day after day.
A few weeks went by and the town was abuzz with the news of these magic, golden apples. Every person that had taken Naomi’s advice now found themselves with huge apple trees of their own in their own gardens and were also generously giving their apples away. No matter how hard the people tried, they couldn’t out-give their apple trees, the apples kept growing back.
Word soon spread throughout the surrounding area and many people visited the town to taste these amazing generous golden apples. Everyone marveled at how tasty the apples were, and even more so that they were free. Generosity was slowly spreading throughout their town and their county. Naomi looked out of her window one night at the apple tree in her garden: the apples shone as the moonlight touched them and she felt so thankful for the gift of the tree, standing strong and tall, and for the way it had brought the whole community together. The simple kindness of giving away an apple had reminded people how good it is to give gifts to other people.
However, during that very night, as the clouds moved in and darkness settled, a terrible thing happened. No one really knew how it was done, or who did it. But Naomi and Jon woke up the next day to find their wonderful apple tree had been ripped out of the ground and it had completely vanished! Someone had stolen the whole tree, apples and all. And what was worse, the same thing had happened to every person in the town who had a magic tree in their garden. Every single tree had been pulled out of the ground (from the roots) leaving a nasty large hole in its place. People were devastated. No trees were left, and no apples had been saved because there had been no need to save them. Naomi was in tears about the loss of her beautiful tree. She sat near the ugly hole in her garden feeling both sad and angry that someone had done something so stupid and so greedy…..after all, the apples had been free, why would someone steal them? What was she going to do? Was this the end of the story for the generous apple tree…..?
(Now you finish the story and decide how this tale should end… When you have finished read your story to someone else to pass it on!)
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez – Unsplash