There was once a beautiful queen. She ruled her land with kindness and care. She loved to travel the countryside and visit with her subjects.
One day while she was wandering, she came upon an apple tree. All of the apples on the tree were plump, shiny, and red. One had fallen from the tree. The queen felt a pain in her heart at seeing the lonely apple on the ground. She picked it up. In its shiny exterior, she saw herself. She was smiling. She was beautiful.
She put the apple in the pocket of her gown and made her way into the village.
The first villager who saw his beautiful queen began to smile. He ran to her. As they were conversing, the queen took the apple from her pocket and began rubbing it in her hands. It brought her comfort to hold it.
The villager turned white. “Where did you get that apple, My Queen?”
She looked at the kind man. His sweet eyes were filled with dread. “I found it on the ground a little ways back. Isn’t it lovely? I dare say, it might be the most perfect apple I have ever seen.”
The concerned villager began to shake. “Your Highness, get rid of that apple immediately! Can you not see that it is filled with poison? Look at its green tint. The edges of the core are black!”
The queen peered at the apple. All she saw was herself. She was beautiful. The apple was shiny and red.
She returned the apple to her pocket and bid the nice man, “good day.”
She mused as she wandered home that he must have been out in the sun for far too long. For this apple was perfect. There had never been one better.
She vowed to wait to eat it. She could not bear to break its perfection.
But the next day, the apple remained the same. And the next. It never withered. It never rotted. The queen marveled at her precious find. She would continue to carry it in her pocket. She continued to stare at her reflection in the smooth surface of its skin.
People wandering by her would whisper to themselves.
“Why does she keep that apple? Can she not see the blackness has traveled now to mar the entire surface? Why does she stare at it as she walks?”
Someone exclaimed, “Perhaps she thinks it is a magic mirror! Look at her, examining her face in its surface. What do you think she sees in it?”
Another villager answered, “Perhaps it is telling her she is the most fairest in the land.”
They all snickered at his joke. And went on their way.
But rumors and gossip travel. Travel faster and harder than an apple falling from a tree. Stories of the queen and her evil apple began to circulate. There was even a story derived from the villager’s joke about a magic mirror.
Years passed. The queen continued to carry the apple. The villagers continued to worry.
In this time, the queen met a man. When she showed him the apple, he lied and told her it was the most beautiful apple he had ever seen. She felt immediate relief. She had begun to question the villagers’ queries. But this lovely man had seen what she had seen. She married him right away.
His daughter stood by his side. Her apple lay in her pocket.
A month passed.
The queen walked one day to the tree where she had found the apple. The tree was still there. Its apples were still plump, shiny, and red.
She stepped into the village where she had encountered the villager long ago.
The villager saw his queen and ran to her. “Your Highness, we are so pleased to see you again. Congratulations on your marriage. What can your humble servant do for you?” He asked.
The queen looked into his smiling face. She saw shadows in his eyes. She saw blackness in his heart. She hissed as her breath escaped her. She brought the apple from her pocket and began to rub it. It always brought her comfort when she felt despair.
The villager began to tremble. “M-m-my Q-q-que-e-en… W-w-why d-d-d-do y-y-o-o-o-ou s-s-still c-carry th-th-that apple? It i-i-is evil.” He stuttered.
He began to back away. She watched him with suspicion. For she knew there was nothing wrong with her apple. She saw his hooded eyes. His hidden agendas. And she knew this villager was the thing that was evil.
She rushed home to her castle.
She began to pace her room. She stroked her apple in reassurance.
There was a knock on the door.
“Come in,” she said.
Her new step-daughter entered her room. She glanced at the apple the queen was caressing.
“Why do you hold that black apple?”
The queen had had enough. “This apple is not black! It is red. It is juicy. It is plump. Why must everyone harrass me about this?”
The girl looked at the queen. She began to ponder. “I will show you! That apple is rotten!”
Before the queen could react, the girl snatched the apple from the queen’s hand. She held the apple before her. And then she took a bite.
The queen gasped. How dare this girl destroy her apple!
“Look at this,”. Her step-daughter said, holding the apple out to the queen. “Do you see the darkness of its core? Can you not see the black lines twisting inside? Can you…”
The girl dropped to the floor. The queen screamed.
Her subjects rushed in. They saw the beautiful girl on the floor. They saw the evil apple with its surface now broken with a bite.
“You have poisoned her! What have you done?” They all began clamoring at once.
The queen tried to defend herself, but they were too busy trying to revive the princess.
She made her way to the apple. She picked it up. She could finally see its core. The bite the silly girl had taken had revealed it. It truly was black. There were green patches tinting its skin. She had never seen anything so ugly. She peered closer. In the still shiny surface of its skin, she saw her face. It was lined with years of distrust. Her eyes were hard and cold from the time she had spent defending this apple. Her lips were pursed and rigid.
She did not recognize herself. The woman she saw was neither beautiful nor fair. How long had she been deceiving herself? She could no longer stand to look at her reflection in its surface. She threw the apple to the ground and fled from the castle.
She ran into a field. There she encountered a farmer. He was traveling home after a long day working the lands. He had been whistling a tune and was all ready picturing kissing his lovely wife and tossling his son’s hair, when he saw the queen.
“My Lady, are you okay? Are you hurt? What can I do for you?” He kindly asked.
The queen looked at him. She did not see the kindness in his eyes. She did not hear the warmth of his words.
She saw hatred. She saw darkness. She saw blackness in his heart. She turned from the concerned man.
The farmer moved along. Intent on getting home to his family.
The queen continued to run. She continued to flee. From the rotten apple. From herself.
Where would she find kindness? Where would she ever find perfection again? Why was everyone in the world out to get her?
These are questions for another day…
For you see, my dear children. The moral of this story is clear…
Beware the bad apple.
Lest you become one yourself.
* I have recently learned my children are googling my blog. Which is sweet. Very sweet. But I also want to know that they are learning something from me besides simple recipes and pretty clothing. These letters are real letters to my children. From their mother. You might not agree with my message, but please respect my sentiment.
* This story is in line with The Daily Post’s Weekly Writing Challenge. The challenge this week is a different point of view. Here we have the view of the queen in Snow White.