Short Story - Épli the Apple

Appeared in The Low Down to Hull and Back News in January 2024

© Oksana Chaun

“I’m the last to fall!” squealed Épli, the tiny, autumn apple, hanging high in the tree clutching a thin, quivering branch. “I’m leaving my home. What will happen to me?”

A dainty white butterfly landed silently on the branch beside Épli and whispered, “I’ll ride on your back all the way down so that you won’t be alone.”

“I’ll give you a gentle push,” volunteered a baby black bear who had climbed up to see what was happening.

“I’ll cradle you in my arms,” murmured the breeze as it rustled through the leaves.

In the end, it was a rainbow-coloured cloud that brought Épli down to the earth. Drifting nearby, it had noticed the small, red apple trembling high in the tree and knew it needed help. With care, the multi-coloured cloud approached Épli and gently wrapped it in a cosy, cottony blanket. Together, they floated down to the ground. Lttle Épli, comfortably bundled up and covered with sweet-smelling fallen leaves and friendly earth, fell into a deep sleep.

One early spring morning two years later, the sun, exceptionally warm and yellow, shone down on Épli and woke it up.

“Where am I?” exclaimed the little apple as it looked around. “I feel different!” It looked down and was astonished to discover that it was no longer an apple! Épli had become a silken, brown seed that had cracked open to reveal a wonderful secret.

“Oh! Something is poking me. What is it?” Épli twisted around to see. “It’s a stem. I’m becoming a stem and bright green leaves are coming out of me!” Épli’s voice was filled with wonder.

“You’re making a new home for yourself,” whispered the cracked seed and smiled. “It might take a while to finish it but I know you are patient.”

Time passed. Épli grew taller and wider; visiting butterflies and bees nuzzled its fra-grant blossoms.

One day, when the flowers had turned into apples, a baby black bear came to visit. “Can I eat one of your apples, Épli? I’m a bit hungry.”

“Of course,” replied Épli. “I have plenty. Just try not to hurt my bark.”

The little bear carefully climbed up the tree just as his mother and father had taught him. Nimbly, he pulled an apple into his mouth, backed down cautiously and ate it gratefully in the grassy shade.

It was in the late autumn that a rainbow-coloured cloud was seen drifting in from the blue, northern sky. The approaching winter was to be especially cold and Épli needed help once again. The multi-coloured cloud floated close to the drowsy tree and with infinite tenderness wrapped it in a cosy, cottony blanket.

Throughout the snow-covered months Épli, The Great Apple Tree, happily dreamed of a time when the warm, yellow sun would wake it up again to enjoy the beauty and kindness of a new spring.



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