Once, upon a middle age time, there lived a good and cheerful woman up high on a mountain peak. No big city to be seen for miles, stretching in the four arrows of the compass. Only company she had were the animals, the trees and her fellow villagers.
And all of them knew who she was, all the people in the village. Because she was a sweet and kind woman but also, because she was fast to gossip and held the knowledge on everyone and everything they did. Scared the people were of her and what would happen to them if she opened up her mouth and started to talk about them. Afraid that if they did not invite her to stay with them that tong of hers could spill truths that they had done and wanted to forget. And that is how the life went on and on in the small village up the mountain.
But then came one time, a rainy day with clouds heavy galloping and swirling in the sky, and a mesmerising smell of pinewood and grass and soil wet from the harsh droplets of the storm woke up the people in the village. Woke up the woman as well who decided to go up the mountain, since the bushes bloomed after the rain with tasteful fruits and she wanted to bring back some of them for her fellow villagers.
And as she thought so she did, she took the way up the mountain following the paths he had known since her childhood years. Crossed the meadow where nettles spawned and the sound of the water gargling led her to find the old wooden bridge in the heart of the forest which allowed her to cross the quick waters of the river. After some time, she finally arrived at the very peak of the mountain where she found the mushrooms blooming on top of the twisted root of the great maple tree. And she knew there to turn left to reach her destination. A small opening between the filbert trees, the pines and the daisies. And there she found a lonely cherry tree loaded with red-blood cherries, chubby and freshened from the rain. Oh, how tasty could they really be?
But as the woman started to grab as many as she wished from the tree little did she know, three creatures jumped out of the greenery and the woman astounded she was from their appearance. The creatures where fairies beautiful and young. The first started to croon a known children’s lullaby, the second to paint her lips with a cherry red and the last flew around the bark of the tree flapping her tiny wings covered with fairy dust.
"If I were you, I would never eat one of these cherry’s” said the first fairy “me neither, me neither” responded the other two.
And the woman kindly asked them “But why my good fairies? They seem so tasty and fresh”
The fairies laughed. “No, no you are mistaken! Listen to our voices, we are creatures of the mountain and legend, we know better than you do. These cherries are so bitter, not even in a pie to be put. Not to be consumed by anyone’s pour and unfortunate soul”
And because they were fairies the woman believed every word they said. She could not question such ancient creatures with so much wisdom. And she moved forward to gather some strawberries.
But “If I were you, I would never have one of these Strawberry’s” once again said the three fairies. And the woman kindly replied “But why not, oh you, wonderful beings. I used to eat them when I was younger and I made of them a jam tasty as anything, no one to complaint”
The fairies laughed. “No, no you have it all wrong! Those you call friends and family are afraid of your big mouth so they lie to you. No one enjoys the sweets and jams you make. Listen to us and prosper because we are ancient beings of this forest and better we do know about all things than you do. The Strawberries on this mountain are sour and it’s a pity for whoever tries one of them”
Sad now, the cheerful woman walked alone in the forest until she came across a copse loaded of berries wild as the forest itself and she started once again filling up her basket.
However, “If I wore the clothes you bear I would never eat one of these berries” “But why my good fairies, they seem so tasty and their smell is pleasant” “No, no you are wrong! Listen to what we have to say, because you know we live in the forest and every one of its secrets lies within our hands. Don’t eat these berries, wishy-washy taste they really have, no one will enjoy them. Better empty handed to go back, all of those who tried them had a stomach ache”
And so the kind woman, who was cheerful no more, took the way back with an empty basket and when she had time to gossip she told everyone how she met three beautiful fairies who had the good heart to warn her that all the fruits of the forest where not to be eaten by anyone, so sour and bitter. “But why good lady, for many years now we have been eating these fruits” her fellow villagers questioned “no, no” the woman was quick to reply “we are mistaken. The fairies are ancient creatures of these woods. They know better than we do” And as she said the story was repeated and the news travelled fast all across the village no one ever had one of the fruits ever again. Except for the fairies of course! Because they had the time of their lives and all the tasty, juicy fruits for themselves, now that they got rid of the easy going dumb people who got convinced without even trying.
Many years later when the woman got older and her daughter went up the mountain to walk between the pines and the maples and the daisies she came across that old same cherry tree, but the fairies where now gone, taking a bath down by the river. So without anyone to stop her the girl took a thick red cherry off the tree and took a bite out of it. The taste was wonderful, so fleshy and sweet, never had the daughter ever before such a wonderful taste in her mouth. She gathered some more and put them in her pockets because she was not carrying a basket at the moment and then she run back in the village to her old mother.
“Eat mother, try them, their taste is magical” And so the old woman took a bite of a cherry to give it a try and she was once again quick to say “No, no you are wrong! Bitter is what they are!” and she spit the rest out of the window.
Years came and years left, years passed plenty and the core of that cherry that the mother spit out the window bloomed and turned into a tree. A cherry tree that was miserable and small without a load of fruit to offer. And the villagers gathered to try the cherries and they were awful, the most disgusting, distasteful thing they ever had. The cherries were bitter and small because the soil inside the village was not fertile enough for the tree to grow properly.
But before they chopped down the tree a beautiful fairy appeared in front of their eyes. She had locks of golden hair braided with wild daffodils and her skin was pale white covered with billows of pearly fairy dust “My good people” she said “Do not refuse the gift nature has given you. Do not reject the tasteful treasure you have in your garden. The cherries of this tree are the best you will ever find. Listen to my voice, I am a being ancient as time, I live in the heart of this mountain and I know the forest and all of its secrets. The other animals and creatures like myself are jealous of your tree and the fruit it bears”
And the villagers filled with pride and joy because they had the best tree in their garden kept it as it was, never to share any of its cherries with anyone else and so they stood there mesmerised by a lie, happily eating their bitter fruit, while all the other animals and fairies laughed at them and feasted on the mountain cherries and fruits and berries with taste magical and irresistible.
It is really a mystery how good something is, until of curse you try it for yourself and if you stay believing everything others say you will never discover the real truth. You too will stay enjoying your own bitter fruit, making yourself believe it is wonderful.