Good afternoon and welcome back to the Grimm Expansion Project. This year i am flipping randomly through The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales and finding stories that I am not that familiar with, stories that seem more like outlines of stories than full tales. I am then taking the story as an outline and breaking it out into my version. The story currently being looked at is Mother Hulda. Today we have Part Four of my break out of Mother Hulda. I hope you enjoy it.
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Enid left the now cooling loaves and bread ovens behind and stepped on the path. ‘I’m sure this wasn’t here before,’ she thought as she walked. Still she had no other choice than to follow it. She needed to know where she was if she had any chance of getting home.
The path was wide and curved and clearly well-traveled. No part of it was overgrown and no weeds sprouted from its surface. It looked well used and well maintained. The sight of it gave her hope that she would soon see someone who might be able to help her.
Gradually the forest spread out and instead of the wild trees of the wood, Enid saw a vast orchard of apple trees. The apples had been harvested and not a single apple could she see. Enid frowned at the sight. At home the autumnal harvest was complete, the apple trees bare of both fruit and leaves. Here the meadow grass and flowers were summer high and ready for grazing. If the trees matched the orchard than the blossoms would just be appearing with the fruit to follow later in the season. Yet here she could see no sign of the blossoms and the leaves on the trees were beginning to turn as though the harvest had just reached completion.
As Enid walked, the difference troubled her and she studied the trees. ‘Perhaps it is is too early for blossoms here,’ she thought. She knew if she could just see the buds on the trees she could figure it out.
“Oh shake me, shake me, we apples are all of us ripe!” She heard coming from the orchard. :Help me please!”
The path turned towards the orchard and to Enid the voice seemed to be coming from the orchard itself. She saw a smaller path, leading off of the main one and into the orchard. It seemed to be from where the voices came.
‘Maybe if I help then they will tell me where I am,’ she thought.
Enid stepped off of the main path and onto the smaller trail and moved into the orchard.
“Oh shake me, shake me, we apples are all of us ripe!” She heard the plea come again and she hastened her steps. She stopped when she saw where the voices came from. While most of the trees had bare limbs with leaves ready to fall, there were three trees still heavily laden with apples. The apples were gleaming red in the sunlight and looked like garnet charms as they hung from the limbs. The scent of the fresh apples was strong enough to make her swoon and she could feel her mouthwatering at the thought of biting into the juicy flesh of the newly ripe apples.
“Oh shake me, shake me, we apples are all of us ripe!”
The voice came again. It was filled with distress and Enid shifted her hunger aside to see that the branches were indeed heavily laden, some so heavy that it looked as though the limbs would break. There were discarded baskets underneath as though whoever was doing the harvesting stopped here and forgot to come back to finish these last three trees.
Enid walked over to the slender trees. Seeing no way to climb them, she gripped the trunk and shook the tree. Apples rained down around her. She shook with all her might until all the apples fell. The tree seemed to sigh with relief as it was once more able to life it’s branches. The relief of the first tree made the other two trees seem more distressed and Enid hastened to the other and began to shake again. When all three trees had been relieved of their burden, Enid saw the blood from her hands streaked each of the trunks.
While the trees looked content now that their limbs were not so heavily laden, the apples were scattered all around. Enid took the discarded baskets and set them upright underneath one of the trees. She then scurried around gathering the fallen apples and putting them in the basket. The scent of each was tantalizing for even as they looked like perfectly carved trinkets handing on the tree, in her hand she could tell they were real apples, ripe and juicy and ready to eat.
‘But they aren’t mind,’ she reminded herself. She resisted the temptation to eat them and placed each and every one of the perfect apples in the basket.
‘Perhaps if I find the orchard owner then he will be pleased enough that I gathered them to offer me one in exchange for my efforts.’ She thought. While the thought was tantalizing, Enid could see that the sun passed its zenith and was now beginning its descent. ‘Although I will settle for just directions home,’ she decided.
Leaving the apples gathered under the tree, Enid hurried up the short trail back to the main path, continuing forward and hoping to find someone who could point out the way home.