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» Forbidden Fruit 2
by Nicole Crosier parker
Part 1 | Part 2
I don’t think we should be doing this.” Deanna’s voice had a little quaver in it. “Dad said to stay completely away from the tree.” She glanced toward the tree on the last row of the orchard. “Oooh!” she squealed. “I think I see it! Maybe it wouldn’t hurt just to look.”
“Come on!” Logan bounded to his feet and led the way.
Soon the three children crowded under the tree and peered up through the thick mass of shiny leaves.
“There it is!” Logan pointed at a bright ball of color about halfway up the tree.
“Wow, it’s big, isn’t it?” Holly craned her neck to get a better look. “I wonder how it tastes!”
“You shouldn’t even say such a thing,” Deanna scolded. “That orange isn’t for us—it’s for the fair! Anyway, big oranges usually don’t taste very good, you know.”
“I know that! I was only saying—”
“I bet it looks even bigger from close up,” Logan headed toward the tree trunk with a determined air. “I’m going to find out.”
“Oh, don’t, Logan!” Deanna cried. “You’re going to get us in trouble.”
“Don’t be silly!” he retorted. “All I’m going to do is look at it.” He swung onto the bottom branch of the tree and began pulling himself up. Soon he shouted down to the girls, “Boy, it is big! Bigger than it looks from down there. I can’t even reach all the way around it with both of my hands. It’s a winner for sure!”
Logan cradled the giant orange in his hands. What a beauty! No wonder Dad was so protective of it. He leaned forward to sniff its rich fragrance. Suddenly his feet began to slip from their perch. In the split second before he regained his balance, Logan’s hands instinctively closed on the orange. Before he even realized what was happening, the orange snapped from its slender stem and lay in his hands.
“Oh, Logan!” the two girls screamed. “What is Dad going to say?”
Logan slid down the trunk and joined his sisters under the tree. He held out the giant orange. “Well, here it is. Now what?” Somehow the celebrated orange did not look so glorious anymore. They gazed at it in mute horror.
“Well, we can’t tie it back on,” Holly reasoned. “We might as well eat it.” She grabbed the orange and began tearing off the thick peel. The fruit inside was tough and dry and hardly edible, but the children dutifully chewed their portions.
“I don’t think any other orange in the grove could taste worse than this nasty thing.” Logan spat out a tough membrane.
“It hardly tastes like an orange,” Holly agreed. “Oh, why did we come over here, anyway? How can we ever tell Dad?”
Deanna wiped a tear from her cheek. “We will have to tell him, of course.”
“Yes, I guess so.” Logan kicked at a spongy piece of peeling on the ground. “He’ll notice and ask us anyway if we don’t.” The remorseful little group marched back to the front yard to wait for Dad’s return.
About an hour later, the children heard the familiar sound of Dad’s pickup truck. A few moments later, he turned into the driveway. The children stood up and dragged themselves toward the truck. “I feel like I’m going to a funeral!” Logan whispered.
“Me, too!” Deanna nodded. “Dad’s going to be so sad.”
“What’s the problem?” Dad called. “You look like you’ve just lost your best friend.”
“Worse than that, Dad.” Logan swallowed. This wasn’t going to be easy.
Dad looked quizzically at the children. “This wouldn’t have anything to do with my prize orange, would it?”
Logan nodded, then blurted out the whole unhappy story.
“It’s my fault, too,” Holly interjected. “It was my idea to begin with. Deanna didn’t want to go.”
“That’s not really true,” Deanna confessed. “I wanted to see the orange as much as anyone. I probably could have stopped it, if I’d really tried.” All three pairs of brown eyes focused on the dirt at their feet.
For a long moment, Dad stood silent. Finally he spoke. “I’m really, really sorry you disobeyed. Can you understand now why I didn’t want you to even go near the tree?”
The three children nodded, miserable.
Dad looked with disappointed eyes at the tree at the end of the first row in the orchard. “I know you didn’t mean to pick the orange, but even so, the deed has been done. You picked the orange, and you ate it. Now we have no entry for the fair. This means, of course—” he paused for a moment, and three pairs of anxious eyes looked up at him.
“The consequences, of course,” he continued, “are that we won’t go to the fair this year.”
“Oh, no, Dad! Please! Punish us some other way!”
But Dad was firm. “No exhibit, no fair,” he repeated. “I’m just as disappointed as you are, but that’s the way it will have to be.”
The lesson was a bitter one, and it was not easily forgotten. Even when they were grown, Logan, Holly, and Deanna remembered the day they learned to stay away from forbidden fruit.
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