I’d like to try something different than my usual fare. My kids are pretty awesome. They love when I share a bedtime story with them. I used to search online for bedtime stories, but all the ones I found were lackluster at best. So I usually wound up using them as springboards for coming up with my own creative interpretations. I’d take a character or concept from them and turn it into something much grander.
Last year, I ventured into my own unique creations. These stories came from my own imagination and experiences I’ve had over the years. I’d like to share them with you from time to time because I enjoy writing them as much as telling them out loud. Plus, they’ll last longer this way when they’re not just somewhere in my memory.
I’ll share a story and then explain what inspired it and other notes I’d like to point out about it. This first one is probably the most complex one I’ve ever done. I hope you enjoy it. Feel free to tell it to your own kids, if you like.
The Strange Fruit
Once upon a time, two brothers were journeying through a pleasant part of the countryside they had never visited before. Growing tired, they sat under a nice shade tree and discovered there was strange fruit growing on it that looked prickly and entirely foreign to them. But they were hungry, so they each pulled some fruit off the tree and ate it.
They continued on their journey until they came to a small village. A villager saw one of them holding one of the strange fruits and gasped in horror. She asked if they had eaten any of it, and they both responded yes, which only increased her distress. The older brother asked why she was so shocked, and the villager told him he and his brother needed to speak to the village elder immediately.
After listening to their story, the village elder told them that the fruit was poisoned, and it would kill them in the next three days.
“But we didn’t know!” cried the younger brother in a panic.
“Is there anything we can do?” asked the older brother gravely.
“Yes, there is hope,” replied the village elder. “You must follow my directions exactly. Each of you must climb to the top of that mountain,” he said, pointing at a nearby one. “Find a yellow flower that only grows on it and bring one back here. You must both complete the journey in the next three days, or you will die.”
With no time to waste, the two brothers set off immediately for the mountain. The older brother had to encourage his younger brother to keep going many times when the younger one complained about the difficulty of the journey. As they began to climb the mountain, the air became thinner and the terrain more hazardous. Eventually, the younger brother stopped and refused to go any higher.
He said, “There’s no need for both of us to go all the way up the mountain. You can simply pluck two flowers when you reach the top and give one to me when you return. I’ll wait for you at the bottom of the mountain.”
Too tired to keep fighting, the older brother agreed, and the two parted ways. One continued to ascend while the other gingerly made his way down. After hours of struggling, the older brother finally made it to the summit. He saw many yellow flowers and plucked two of them, which he then carried to the bottom of the mountain.
Surprisingly, his younger brother wasn’t there. Shrugging it off with the thought that he must have returned to the village, the older brother continued on to the village alone. The village elder was waiting for him, and the young man smiled as he handed the two yellow flowers to him.
“I’ve done it,” he said. “Can you now create an antidote with these flowers?”
“No, my boy,” said the village elder. But before the young man could protest, he continued, “There is no need. You have saved your own life by simply making the journey. The flower is superfluous.”
Under the young man’s questioning, the village elder explained that the effects of the poison in the fruit were neutralized in a low-oxygen environment. To be healed, all that’s necessary for anyone poisoned is to make the effort to breathe hard on their way to the top of the mountain.
A terrifying thought suddenly dawned on the young man. His younger brother had only gone halfway up the mountain. Had that been enough? He apprehensively inquired after his brother’s condition.
The village elder frowned and shook his head sadly. “I’m afraid your brother is dead.”
Some villagers had found his dead body at the foot of the mountain and carried it back to the village. The older brother grieved over his younger brother, buried him, and placed the two flowers he had plucked onto his brother’s grave before sadly continuing on his journey.
Thankfully, he took it as a valuable lesson about the importance of following wise guidance with exactness, even when it’s difficult and not always clear why he’s told to do something.
Notes About This Story
I started with the concept of a poisonous fruit, and the story just flowed easily from there. My oldest son was distraught by the ending, so I hastily modified it to have the younger brother fall into a coma. Then the older brother and a few villagers carry him to the top of the mountain where he makes a full recovery. In either case, the lesson is the same.
I like fairytales with a bit of a dark edge to them to let children know that the world isn’t always a safe place. But my son reacts unreasoningly to touches of injustice and death, so I do my best to introduce painful shocks to him sparingly.
This is the Deja Reviewer bidding you farewell until we meet again.
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Want to Support the Deja Reviewer?
If you’d like to support the Deja Reviewer, please consider donating a few dollars to keep this site going strong. I’ll even send you an original joke if you do! Try it, and prepare to enjoy a good chuckle.