In the wooded realm beyond the Great Divide there sat a small cottage of industry. It serviced a vague sort of construction themed workplace where came and went a vast array of humanfolk. In the small yard to the side of the cottage stood a tree and two plants upon which grew luscious fruits all the year round. The tree bore cherries, red and jubilant of color. The first plant bore strawberries, crimson and juicy. And the second plant bore lemons, zingy and vibrant of flavor. In time a single fruit fell from each and lay upon the cottage lawn. Ill at ease to have been so discarded and not wanting to rot their lives away, the three joined forces and conspired together to go into the cottage. There, they reasoned, they would find fulfillment as someone's breakfast or at least as a garnish and thus would not be sorely wasted. For there is nothing a fruit loathes so much as waste.
So it was that Strawberry, Cherry, and Lemon found themselves within the cottage proper. Such a sight they had never seen for the yard gave no view of the industry within. The coming and going of the humanfolk, the grind of machinery, and the bustle of the rooms inspired a sense of awe in Strawberry. She declared that she would no longer be eaten but would join in the work and make a name for herself. Cherry and Lemon saw the folly in this immediately and tried to dissuade her but in vain. Strawberry got herself atop a table and launched into a racy little song about berries and cream that garnered much attention. One of the workers licked his lips and another reached out to eat her outright but before either of these ends could be met, a Dark Force pushed through the cloud and proclaimed with much ado that Strawberry was a rarity, a sensation, and would henceforth be entertainment. It whisked her away to the main desk in the cottage and bid her perform again, only this time to a larger gathering. Perform she did but so dazzled was she by her own newfound glory that she popped her green topper right off for the finale. The crowd gasped its displeasure. Never had a strawberry gone so far and offended so many. The Dark Force snaked out its hand and swallowed Strawberry whole without so much as a bite.
Lemon and Cherry, hidden still in the dust of the corner, bit back horrified cries. Strawberry had been swayed by folly, it was true, but to be eaten thus without so much as a juicy bite or a smile of pleasure was an affront to fruit everywhere. They vowed vengeance for their fallen comrade and plotted against the Dark Force. That night, while the cottage was dark for slumber, Lemon and Cherry put their plan into action.
The next morning the Dark Force came down for its usual tea. It poured a steamy cup and drained it down. Then, quite without warning, the Dark Force choked. Its hands reached to its throat and it coughed and hacked something terrible. Its face turned from greyish pallor to bluish haze and before anyone could think to do anything, it crumpled and died. This was all very stunning to the assembled workers and they gathered in clusters to talk excitedly amongst themselves. In short order it was discovered that the Dark Force had been siphoning life off the other workers and that its death had released them from mindless servitude. They began to enjoy their work and industry tripled even as creativity burgeoned. It was a widely-held belief that Strawberry had somehow managed to slay the Dark Force after her untimely demise and she was hailed as a saint among fruit.
No one saw the slowly shrivelling lemon and oddly sunken cherry under the tree in the cottage yard. Lemon smiled at Cherry and Cherry winked at Lemon. And only the cat who took pity upon the fallen fruit and ate them up with a miow of delight noted the odd lack of lemon seeds or cherry pit in her marvelous lunch.
The moral of the tale is...
Fame and evil can both be the pits.
Copyright Corinne Simpson