Almonds are a funny fruits. There is a bittersweet taste to them and they are as delicious even if they contain cyanide.
Once in a land forgotten from the sand glass, lived a strange woman.
Her and her baby daughter both survive on the produce of their almond trees growing near their modest cabin on the side of a green hill. The villagers were scared of her and were glad she wasn’t part of the village except during the market day.
At first no one wanted to buy her produce by fear to catch a disease or even to become like this fierce lonely soul who would never come to church or talk to any of them. But once, hunger came upon the families of the area, during a winter month. The woman had a full stock of dried almond she roasted with honey and stored away for these hard moments. The daughter was a new born then and they both survived by exchanging against other produces of the villagers’ farm.
From this winter on, all surrounding people in the region, even the priest, the doctor and the judge went to the cabin on the side of the hill to purchase the golden tablets of almonds crystallized in pure golden honey.
Every morning the woman would woke up before the sun rises and collected one almond from the tree growing closest to their home. It was a magical tree that produced fruits all year long. She then gave the almond to her daughter before asking her a single question:
“Do you love any one daughter?”
And the little girl always answered to her mother:
“Yes I love you dear mother”
Then the little girl would eat the fruit after her mother would break its shell.
Days, months and year passed and each days was introduced with the same question answered the same way.
The harmony was of course broken when the Lord’s son came to hunt in the region, and heard of the savoury almonds made by the strange woman and her daughter. When he arrived at the cabin the daughter was alone attending the small vegetable garden. Her crystal features captured his attention and he decided to marry her even if she wasn’t noble.
The next day while the young lord announced his father his decision, the same question was presented to the daughter by her mother. She answered as usual, but for the first time, her gaze escaped her mother’s eyes.
The strange woman shed a tear and turned away in silence to go into the wood and collect the usual load of almonds….but never came back.
Night fell and the young lord appeared as the sun set, alone on his horse. He announced her that his father denied him his inheritance, and ordered him to exile.
His decision was made and he was coming to take her away with him away for ever.
Even if the girl wanted to go with him, she asked if she could stay one more night in her cottage to wait for her mother return before leaving.
It was a reasonable demand. Her anxiety was fading away as soon as the young man was next to her, even if she noticed that the magic almond tree was suddenly naked, empty, dead and dried except for one almond at the end of a branch. She picked it up, broke the shell and put it between her teeth, inviting a kiss from her lover. He stole it from her lips and loved her with all his body and soul the entire night long.
In the morning she woke up next to a corpse invaded by almond tree roots and a fragile trunk coming out of his chest.
She gave birth to a tiny fragile daughter while the tree grew bigger and gave her the most beautiful almonds all year long.
Everyday she had a question for her little girl before giving her one fruit from the magic tree…however she knew that one morning she will have to go to never come back.
The wheel of life never stops turning but sometimes it has an almond shape, and if it is round and soft on one end, let’s not forget the other is as sharp as a dagger.