Microfiction challenge #25: The red tree

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Image: Virginia Frances Sterret

 

The Lady Frances was in a pickle. Things were not as they should be.

Her world was one of order and order was quickly going out the window.

There was one chance and she knew it was risky.

Approaching the leafless red tree was always fraught with the kind of danger you hoped always to avoid.

She knew that she’d have to engage with it and that at some stage the tree would insist she choose one fruit from its red twisted branches. But she needed answers and she needed them today.

So she set out to journey to the tree. It took her half a day during which time she created the questions she needed answers to.

Why was up looking down?

Why was right now left?

And why were the peasants more revolting than normal?

The answers she knew were always within the fruit she was urged to choose. The tree would sway with each question, shake and rattle about before the desired fruit would quiver and do its best to look enticing. She would be required to eat the fruit and let it all happen.

The Lady Frances stood before the tree and asked her questions. At first here was no response. Then the tree did sway, it did shake and rattle and then it came to a standstill. For an entire minute nothing happened.

Then the purple plum on the highest branch began to quiver and she knew what to do. Her outstretched hand reached up and the limbs of the tree bent towards her enough for her to pluck the fruit from the branch.

The plums rich dark colour stood out against her pale alabaster skin. As she sunk her teeth into the plum’s flesh the juice ran down her arm and onto her dress leaving an obvious purple stain.

Inside of Lady Frances the flesh of the plum went to work. It generated its message, it transmitted it to her brain and so overwhelming was it the good Lady Frances collapsed.

Hours later she awoke. The tree was gone; the plum was gone. All that remained was the stain on her dress.

In her mind there was a message and an urgent one at that. Realising its importance, she arose and hurried back to her village. Wrong had to be righted. Up had to stay up and down to stay down.

She found the ancient book of laws and waved her hand over it and instantaneously the book opened and the laws were altered.

She awoke the next morning to find all was right in the world. Each part of her world was where it should be and she was content.

The stain she couldn’t remove and that was good to.

Lady Frances, no longer in a pickle, hung the stained dress next to her other stained dresses and called for her dressmaker.

 

Written for: https://janedougherty.wordpress.com/2016/12/02/microfiction-challenge-25-the-red-tree/

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17 Responses to Microfiction challenge #25: The red tree

  1. The stain was the price she had to pay for putting things right. Good fairy tale stuff 🙂

  2. ellenbest24 says:

    A superb fairy tale , this really travelled it made me read it fast I do believe there was a little magic in your write. Excellently composed.

  3. Well done fairy tale master wordsmith! I do wonder that “Up had to stay up and down to stay down.” meant the poor peasants never got to do their revolting?

  4. Lyn says:

    Another fine tale from the master fairy tale teller 🙂

  5. Heh, that is a story with some pretty dark subtext. Was that intended?

    ‘Up had to stay up and down to stay down.’ – the peasants did know their place and had to be stopped from revolting, else the French Revolution happen.

    So she rewrote the laws to ensure they remained down. Her position was safe and SHE was happy, but her only price was the terrible stain of the actions she had to do. In the end, that was something she could live with.Up had to stay up and down to stay down.

    That’s my interpretation anyway. A good story!

    • Michael says:

      Well I think your response is a good one..the beauty of language is how we respond from our own contexts. So I enjoyed your comment very much. Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Pingback: Microfiction challenge The Red Tree: the entries – Jane Dougherty Writes

  7. merrildsmith says:

    I loved this fairy tale–and your literal fruit of knowledge.
    It’s funny that we both picked purple fruit for our stories. I hadn’t even looked carefully at the illustration to see if there was a purple fruit or not.

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