I was inspired by the topic titled "Beginning with the Ears" and decided to make a tall tale of my own.
As with most tall tales, I used a little bit of the truth and mixed it with a whole lot of fiction!
So, I don't know if you are or not, but some of you may know a man in American History called Johnny Appleseed.
If not, here is a link to some information about him:
That much is true.
Now, I have written something to go with it. This part is fiction...mostly.
Once upon a time, there was a young maiden named Apple. She was very beautiful, well groomed and had a right good upbringing. Her mother had taught her that purity was essential to the essence of being a woman. And her father had taught her that you cannot get something for nothing. Apple heeded both lessons, and obeyed.
When Apple was in her house, she helped her mother make her famous apple pies. So delicious were these pies, it was the sole reason that Apple's father married her mother, and hence the name that was chosen for their daughter. An only child, Apple helped her father too. They picked apples from the small apple orchard her father kept, and it was a source of funds for the family to sell apples and apple pies in town.
Apple's father never let his daughter go to town with him.
"There are worldly influences in town, my dear daughter. And I shan't want to see you fall prey to such influences." He had said. But now, Apple was a mature sixteen years old, and after much pleading, Apple's father allowed his daughter to accompany him to town to sell pies and apples.
So the next morning, bright and early, Apple and her father journeyed to town. As Apple and her father rode into town in their one horse cart, Apple saw street performers juggling, harem girls belly dancing, and taverns. They passed inns, and travelers, saw livestock, and vagrants begging for alms. Apple's father hopped down from his cart, and opened the back to begin selling his wares. Apple was amazed at the wonderful chaos around her. It was a bubbling and churning of a busy town that Apple was not used to, and a welcomed change from her sleepy farm six miles from town. After half a day of selling his wares, Apple's father came to the front of the cart where she sat and said;
"The sun has taken its toll, I am hot and thirsty. You stay here and mind the horse, and the wares, and I'll step inside to that tavern and have myself some ale. I shall return momentarily, and bring you a cool drink of water for you. But while I am away, do not speak to any strangers, and do not fall prey to the pretty poisons of the town." He said, sternly. To this Apple replied, "Yes, father."
There was only one thing that Apple's father loved more than her mother's apple pie, and that was ale. He was gone for ever so long, but Apple hardly noticed. There was too much to see, and be amazed with. Suddenly, the crowd of people began to move in one huge wave, surrounding a wonderful melody that echoed through the town and glided over to Apple's ear. A songster, in the center of the crowd was singing, and he was the most handsome man Apple had ever seen. The songster was taken in just as wholly when he laid eyes on Apple, and soon, he was walking over to the cart, singing in a wonderfully gravelly voice, and making Apple blush when he focused his gaze upon the young girl.
"And so we sing. And so we dance. And we will have such fun at last." He sang. The crowd cheered, and Apple clapped her hands. When it was apparent that the two were lost in each other's eyes, the crowd dispersed, and when the songster extended his hand, Apple took it, and stepped down from the cart, just as easy as you please.
When Apple's father returned to the cart, it had gotten dark, and he was thoroughly inebriated! But from somewhere in the distance, he thought he heard someone singing.
"It is the best! I cannot lie! For I've had me some apple-ly pie!"
Apple's father followed the singing, and found his daughter, and the young songster standing by the town riverbank, laughing and carrying on. Apple's hair was a mess, her dress was dirty, and she had the look of a woman's knowledge of carnal things in her eye. Apple's father flew into a rage!
"What have you done!" he shouted in his ire, shooting a deadly glace at the both of them, and then settling on the songster.
"Oh father, fear not. For this songster loved mother's pies so much, he wrote a song about them, and bought five!" Apple lied.
"And where is the fare for our wares?" Apple's father's demanded. The songster shot Apple a worried glace, for he had little money, and no doubt not near enough to pay for five apple pies!
"Your daughter has been so kind as to let me pay for one pie now, and the rest tomorrow." He lied. Apple's father gave a gruff grunt, took the payment for one pie, and grabbed his daughter's arm.
"Tomorrow then, and should you not have the balance, there will be trouble for you!" he threatened.
The next day, Apple and her father returned to town. He worked a half a day and left Apple in the cart to get an ale from the tavern. The songster found Apple again, and off they went to delve in the forbidden fruit of flesh. Again, Apple's father returned to find her missing, and in a rage. And again, he heard the songster's tune.
"It is the best! I cannot lie! For I've had me some apple-ly pie!"
As before, he found the lovers by the riverbank, Apple looking a fright, but sickeningly satisfied. He had no proof of what he suspected, so he grabbed his daughter by the arm, and shouted;
"The time has come! You owe me for four pies! Pay up!"
Apple cooed to her father.
"Oh father, fear not, we shall have what is due. But this songster loved mother's pie so much, he bought a jug of milk from the milk maid, and can only pay for one pie today." Apple lied. The songster frowned at Apple. He had indeed bought a jug of milk that Apple had helped herself to, but he wasn't a wealthy man, and although he delighted in making love with Apple, she wasn't worth the price of a pie, in his eyes. Nevertheless, the songster paid for another pie, and the parties parted ways. As the songster left, Apple's father called out;
"And have the money for three pies tomorrow, or there will be trouble for you!"
The same things took place for the next two days. And each time Apple would lie for the songster and he would become increasingly irritated at paying for pies he never purchased, and still, only one at a time. On the fifth day however, Apple and her father rode into town, and after a half a day's work, Apple's father went to the tavern. Apple waited impatiently for the songster, but he did not show. After some time, she became worried, and anxious, so she hopped down from the cart, and went in search for him. She came to a barn with horses and cows.
Then she heard the singing.
"Milk maiden, milk maiden, hair and skin fine! You're better in bed, than a warm apple pie!"
Apple flew into a fury! She grabbed a scythe from the wall of the barn, and promptly beheaded the songster, clean and easy. The milk maiden screamed, and pressed herself against the stall in the barn.
Meanwhile, Apple's father searched for his daughter. By midnight, she was still no where in site, and he paid for a room at the inn, and decided to go looking for her in the morning.
Apple left the town, and journeyed to the east. Months passed, even years, and still she journeyed. She nearly froze to death in the winter, and died of heat the following summer, but finally, she dropped anchor in a wide and hilly place that she called home. With the secret of making indescribably wonderful apple pies, Apple soon made quite a place for herself. She had her own orchard, one horse cart, and soon, she began selling her own pies in a town not far from where she had settled. She became famous in the small town where she lived, and people from miles around would come to buy one, or even two or three of Apple's delicious apple pies.
At 29, Apple met and married a delightfully wonderful man named Mr. Chapman, and they had a single son they named John, and affectionately referred to as Johnny. The couple doted on the boy, gave him the finest education, and he seemed to be a natural with plants, and worked wonders in the family orchard. When Apple died, Johnny was deeply saddened by his mother's passing, and it was then that his father told him of her terrible past, and what had happened. It was so much of a shock to Johnny that he left his beloved home on foot, and never returned.
One night, as Johnny lay sleeping beneath an old rotten log in the forest, he heard a voice calling him. He woke immediately, because the voice sounded so like that of his mother. When he awoke, he saw the most beautiful maiden he had ever beheld, and in her face was the likes of his mother, just younger. She seemed to glow with an eerie white light, and as she walked, she seemed to glide; each place she had hovered over sprang up with little green leaves, and a small green stem. Johnny watched in amazement.
"Mother?" He asked, quietly, watching the silent and beautiful specter float over the forest floor.
"Mother, is that you?" Johnny asked a little louder, but she only continued to float away. Johnny got up immediately, and followed. She turned to look at him a few times, smiling as he followed, and as Johnny's eyes went from the ghost of his mother, to the forest floor, he realized that the little plants that sprung up from the path his mother was floating over were baby apple trees! Johnny followed his mother until at last she came to a clearing, and turned to face him. One arm was outstretched in front of her, beckoning Johnny to come to her, and the other behind her back. When Johnny ventured close enough, his mother snatched his hand in a vice-like, icy grip that sent him too his knees. Flashes began to seize him mind. He saw the town, the taverns, the street performers juggling, his grandfather he had never known, and the songster. He saw how the songster wooed his mother, lulled her with his sweet voice and how he so callously moved on when he had finished with her, and ultimately, how his mother had killed him in a jealous fit of rage! The flashes of the past ceased, and he was paralyzed, staring into the ethereal face of his dead mother. From behind her back, she produced a bloody scythe, and leaning in, piecing him with a gaze from two glowing neon blue eyes, she uttered one sound:
A bright light lit up the forest as if it was day, and suddenly, Johnny found himself alone and confused, the baby apple trees that had sprang up were now withering and turning black, and evaporating into a fine black mist that disappeared within seconds. Hair raising as the experience was, Johnny knew that his mother's secret must die with her, and he would see to it that this would be done.
The next morning, Johnny made a decision. He was not a talent in the kitchen and couldn't successfully boil water! So, he would leave something in memory of his mother in the best way he could. He decided that the where ever he went, he would show everyone what his mother was famously synonymous with, and not what horrible secrets her past held, so he made it a point to plant apple trees wherever he ventured, just as he had seen the apple trees that sprang from his mother's path.
Johnny traveled around the New York and Pennsylvania vicinity, planting apple seeds where ever he went and some of those orchards are still there today. Later, he set his heels to the Ohio, Michigan, and Illinois area, and even Indiana, selling his beautiful apple trees in memory of his dearly departed mother, Apple. In history, he was known and recorded as The Apple Tree Man, or perhaps more commonly known as, Johnny Appleseed.