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.