There once was a boy whose parents always fed him apples or apple related items. Apple sauce, apple juice, apple butter, cinnamon apples, fried apples, candied apples and baked apples were examples of what he ate for most of his young life. His parents falsely told him that apples were all that there was to eat and all that there ever was, so he believed them. He had no reason to believe they would tell him otherwise. His parents bought nothing but books about apples and how to grow them, sung apple songs, and even wore clothes with emblems of apples on them. The boy grew to love apples. The boy knew no one else but his parents and when they would leave to the orchard to grab another bushel he had to sit and study about the different types of apples.
One day, after finishing his lesson, he decided to venture outside of his home area and found another house where there was another young boy. The young boy invited him over to play a game. They quickly became friends as they played in his yard. Soon the boy got hungry so he asked his new friend for something to eat. Assuming they would eat apples he sat down and prepared himself. But to his surprise the new friend brought out oranges. The boy jumped up and screamed, “What kind of apple is this? “
“This is not an apple at all,” laughed the new friend. “It’s an orange. If you want an apple I have some, and also some bananas.”
“Ba-what?” The boy was shocked and in fear ran back home. He sat in his room and waited for his parents to return. Thoughts of the strange fruit filled his mind and he wondered why his parents had told him nothing about it. When they had finally returned home with a giant bushel of fresh apples he ran to them.
“What are oranges,” he screamed at them. They looked at each other because they knew very well what oranges were but they continued to pretend. They told him that anything that was not an apple was evil and that the person who told him about oranges was trying to poison him. With this information, the boy was comforted. He didn’t want to die.
A week had gone by and his parents had left to gather apples again. The new friend had discovered where the boy lived and knocked on his door. “Where have you been? I have looked for you all week. Do you not like me?” The new friend asked.
“You tried to poison me with your fruit so I left, ” said the boy. The new friend laughed.
“This is not poison, it is just a fruit. You will not die but it will make you strong and healthy.” The new friend took an orange from his backpack and unpeeled it and ate some. “See? I am not dead.” He then took a piece and gave it to the boy. It smelled different and sweet. The boy stuck his tongue out and licked it and his senses went wild. His heart raced. Never before had he tasted anything like it. When he bit into the orange slice, the juices exploded in his mouth. Apples were not half as juicy as this orange. It was good. He waited a while to see if he would die and he didn’t. The new friend gave him a banana and the boy unpeeled it and ate it. It was different from an apple but just as good! They laughed and played some more and when the time came the new friend went home.
When the boy’s parents came home, they smelled the essence of the different fruit in the house and they saw the orange and banana peelings on the floor. In horror they grabbed their son and demanded to know what he had done.
“It is okay! I tasted the orange and the banana and I am not dead. It is good.” But his parents pushed him away. “You are dead. You are dead to us. Get out!” So they forced the little boy to leave. He cried at the front door and yelled for them to let him back in but they closed the window shades and pretended not to hear. The boy could not understand why or how his parents could stop loving him because of oranges. Everything they had told him had been lies and he wondered if their love was a lie as well. The tears flowed down his face as he walked hopelessly in the cold dark night. Soon he came close to his new friend’s house. Seeing him, his new friend ran outside. “Why are you out so late? It is cold and you might get sick.”
“My parents found out that I ate the orange and the banana and they kicked me out. All we ever ate were apples.” The new friend cried as well hearing this horrible news and regretted feeding the boy. The boy hugged his new friend and thanked him and told him not to cry. The world was bigger than apples. There was so much he didn’t know but for the first time he felt excited about knowing. The friend took him inside to his house and introduced the boy to his family. They fed him and educated him. The boy became family. The boy learned that there were other fruits and vegetables of all types. The boy grew to be a strong man who farmed agriculture and had a variety of crops.
One harsh winter, the man took his surplus of crops and packed his truck with intention of donating it to those in need. As he drove his truck through the impoverished neighborhood and delivered food, he arrived at a familiar house. It was red as an apple but the yard was dead and the windows were boarded up. It was his old house. The man trudged through the snow to the broken door and looked inside. There was an unkept homeless man sleeping inside. The man sat a bag of his surplus food next to the homeless old man and nudged him awake.
“Old man, where are the people who used to live here? Do you know where they went?” The homeless man groaned and said, “Last year a harsh snow storm killed the orchard and the remaining apples became rotten with worms. There was a shortage so the man and his wife that lived here became very sick and died from starvation because all they ate were apples. I live here now.” Hearing this the man was shocked and shed a tear.
When spring had arrived, the man went back to his old house one last time. He planted a new apple tree in the yard of his deceased parents. As he stood there watching the leaves sway in the wind, he nailed a sign by the tree saying, ” Tree of Life and Death. Hell no longer exists .” The man took one last look at his old house, then at the tree blowing in the breeze …and walked away.