A story to fall in love with...
I first came across this story book when my children were still too young for its written length. Yet the pictures are so beautifully full of the feeling of the story that it is completely possible to tell the happenings with a few words whilst soaking up the old woman’s nature as she goes along on her search for apples to make her delicious apple cake - for which there is a recipe on the back. This cake is more like bread and requiring time to rise, and somehow even within its baking the gradual accumulating warmth of the old woman’s being is reflected.
The singing of this song of wonder about the the dreams of apple pips whilst preparing the fruit for the cake seemed also to extend and contribute to filling the room with cherishing.
My nice red rosy apple
Has a secret hid unseen.
You’d see if you could look inside
Five rooms so neat and clean.
In each room there are living
Two pips so black and bright.
Asleep they are a-dreaming
Of lovely warm sunlight.
Perhaps it was the very process of initially telling rather than reading the story which allowed me to be aware of holding its message within myself whilst the atmosphere surrounded us on the story telling cushions. By the time they were old enough to want all the words I had developed an awareness of my children's highly perceptive natural aversion to any deliberate enforcement of moral message.
And so, though this story holds the feeling of the importance of giving what you have to give, of relationship with the wishes and needs of others, and of the golden rule of return as well as many other nuances of moments of a day and life;
I ensured that I always told it as a story of an old woman who wakes up with a real wish for an apple cake and of all the different people she meets and exchanges gifts with along the way.
This is one of those stories that dwells in you, remaining and growing simply as a warm embrace..
This summer I re-read it for myself before taking a copy to a dear family friend who’s generosity has been there through moments of life since my childhood; her large staircase wooden where I used to sit and draw, her little high up room of holiday sleeps, her cooking, were all imbued with the same gentle comfort as this story book, which she will now in her kindness give to her grandchild.
In re-reading this story and reabsorbing the expressions on this old woman’s face I experienced new tones of resonance, pertinent personally, and in my connected belonging to womankind within the struggles of relationship between people in the world and the constant concern for sufficiency…
In trust the world is bountiful and plentiful as are our hearts, and interactions in kindness sustain not only that which is a necessity of survival but those small satisfying wishes that in their fulfilment render us grateful for life
And it is in this spirit that I share my telling of some parts of the story