Fairytale Prompt#8 – Strawberries – My Story

wild-strawberry

In my part of the bush it was common to find wild strawberries growing beside the tracks we followed as we went about our travels to and from the village.

My mother was always telling me to stop and pick a few and bring them home, as it was common knowledge amongst our people that the strawberry had wonderful medicinal qualities.

The wild strawberry in particular was much sought after. In past times our village had been hit on several occasions by a strange malaise that left many people ill and was particularly nasty on the elderly and the very young.

Our elders had heard of plagues from passing travellers who recounted tales of terrible afflictions in villages far away across the seas. They wreaked havoc if they found their way into your village and my grandmother was always on the alert and very wary of strangers who came through the village and who reported themselves as feeling poorly.

Any who did were quickly shunted to the edges of the village and were forbidden to enter any public house or village hut.

But sometimes illness did find its way in. When grandmother was a young woman the plague as it was called struck their village. It was an insidious disease that caused a long strangulation of its victims. No one was spared, the then elders all succumbed, the very young also died quickly only the strong and healthy seemed to have any resistance to the disease that laid so many low.

My grandmother was not long married and was fearful the child she was expecting might be affected. She removed herself from the village and went into the bush to seek shelter and a place to stay while the illness raged and had its way.

She found s spot in cave not too far from the village and sat there for several days with the meagre supplies she could carry with her. Beside the cave there was a patch of strawberries and she ate them while she waited for her husband to come as he said he would when the crisis was over.

She waited four days until she saw him staggering along the track, obviously ill from the disease. She was beside herself with worry for him and helped him into the cave. She had an old rag that she used to wipe his brow and she sat for hours it seemed waiting for him to die and for the disease to take hold of her.

She had earlier carried in a heap of strawberries intent on eating them as the night drew on. He looked at her and sighed, she could see he was parched and offered him some water. She fed him a strawberry in the hope some food might rally him long enough for her to engage him in conversation.

He ate the strawberry, for they were as sweet as the best strawberries might be and fell immediately into a deep sleep. Grandmother tired out herself curled up beside him and soon feel asleep herself.

She awoke when she felt him stir beside her. She sat up quickly for he was quite agitated and she thought he must be at his end. Instead she saw him sitting up beside her, in his hand a strawberry, in his mouth another.

They looked at each other in the slowly gathering dawn and then down at the strawberries still heaped upon the floor. Gathering all they could they stood, Grandfather embraced his wife, tears streaming down his face as they suddenly knew the strawberries were the answer to their prayers.

The outcome of course was that to this day the village has not had a single instance of major illness. The villagers now days die from old age not disease.

The wild strawberries are treasured by the villagers who are all brought up on the tale of my Grandparent’s discovery of the magical qualities of the wild strawberries. Once a year on September 12th, on the anniversary of my Grandparents triumphant return to the village with strawberries for all who still survived, the villagers gather and give thanks, a ceremonial strawberry is given to the oldest villager as a sign of respect and remembrance of that day so long ago when they discovered the healing qualities of the humble wild strawberry.

My Grandparents were one hundred and twenty years old when they died, my mother will turn one hundred and ten shortly, but not before I celebrate my own eightieth birthday next week.

 

Written for: http://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/fairytale-prompt8/

 

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16 Responses to Fairytale Prompt#8 – Strawberries – My Story

  1. CC Champagne says:

    Breathtaking! I saw the whole story as a movie in my head – from the person who wrote this down to the backstory of his grandparents until he finished writing it, closed the book and headed out into the sunny village celebrating this feast! Like I’ve already said: Breathtaking!!!

  2. Anja says:

    Fabulous take on the prompt! I loved it and really got lost in the story.

  3. Lovely! And wild strawberries are so delicious – this made my mouth water in more ways than one 😉

  4. JackieP says:

    Wonderful fairytale Michael. Strawberries are quite healthy and good for you. Mmmm, now I am hungry for them. 😉

  5. Mandy says:

    A page-turner, Michael! Loved this 🙂

  6. Fist punches the air – Bravo my friend. Had me hook, line and strawberry – Well Done! (you old bugga) 😉

  7. RoSy says:

    A strawberrylicious ending!

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