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The Old Apple Tree

Tavinder Kaur New is primarily a short story writer, who lives in Dagenham Essex. She has a BA honours in English and Cultural Studies.

Gabriel Borin tore and battered his way through the tall vines obscuring the view that lay ahead. They wounded his skin, leaving blo od on their branches and on the forest floor. They acted as an army of protectors for the The Old Apple Tree. Many before had failed to reach it to release the Princess from the ancient curse.

As Gabriel passed the vines in the middle of the forest, he could see thousands of statues of his predecessors. They were worn, frozen and kept in their shapes for not choosing the right apple that would release Princess Giselle from her captivity.

He tiptoed past the  vines to face the old tree. it was huge, with branches that reached almost to the sky and looked as though it were in distress. He was afraid to touch it, as he would have feared touching a crown jewel in a museum.

Gabriel had traveled months to reach the Royal Forest of Evergreen. He tired, worn out and lethargic, but he longed to attempt to set the princess free. The legend told of a beautiful princess who had been cursed and turned into the Old Apple Tree. According to the story, she had golden hair, exquisite green eyes like emeralds, and her release would bring back the beauty of the forest which had become overgrown, wild and violent in nature.

His eyes darted to the thousands of apples that lay among the branches like shining stars. One bite would either bring her salvation or turn him into a frozen statue. His choice of apple would determine which.

His trusty bow hung on his back like an old friend that had never left his side as he had received bruises and scars from traveling to this place. His eyes searched the tree as it overshadowed him like a tower, all the apples looked the same, all luscious and green. Several apples had been bitten into and lay rotting at his feet, devoured by worms. , deposited rolling at his feet. They were rotten. Worms had devoured them, and their smell was bitter, indicating an incorrect choice.

They were a warning to pick wisely. He could see the statues of those who had failed before him. They must too have been courageous and brave as the journey through the forest was not easy. But they had chosen in error.

As he looked up at the apples he could see a small, golden one hidden high in the tree. It shone and glistened like the sun, unlike the other apples, it was ripe and ready to eat. He decided it was the one he must choose, so he pulled out his bow and let an arrow fly. He caught it as it fell into his hand. It was heavy, glistening and shiny. All he had to do was to take a bite. One bite would release the princess or cause his death. He was not afraid. He had to take the chance, as he desired to kiss the princess and hold her in his arms.

As soon as he bit into the apple, the forest began to rumble and shake, he looked at his body. Perhaps he had chosen the wrong apple. But the Old Apple Tree.changed before his eyes, the branches became arms, the trunk a beautiful figure that became the Princess. She was stunning. The stories of her had not done justice to her beauty.

Gabriel I thank thee for saving me,’ she said softly.

Gabriel stood aghast. She knew his name!

Your true bravery released me and freed the Royal Forest of Evergreen from its curse. He could see the luscious green of the trees, and flowers had grown around him. The vines that had cut him died.

My lady….’ his voice quivered.

She glided towards him like an angel and stood next to him.

As my token of gratitude, I give you this new bow and arrow.’

She handed him the weapon, it was leather and had feathers on its end.

Gabriel’…. She whispered.

She came towards him and they kissed.

He held her in his arms close and his body surrendered to her embrace. He could feel eternity.

The Princess Giselle held Gabriel’s hand as they walked together out of the Forest. His eyes and her eyes locked in their love for each other. The frozen statues were broken as the previous contenders all returned to life. They were in awe of the new couple that walked past them: the new King and Queen of Durean.

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Tavinder Kaur New is primarily a short story writer, who lives in Dagenham Essex. One of her short stories ‘ If I had Known’ has been published in City Lit Adult Education Centre in London in their Between the Lines Magazine in 2010. She has been also chosen to read her poem ‘I Want’ in the Barking and Dagenham Folk Festival in 2015. She has attended many writing courses in City Lit Adult Centre and currently in Barking and Dagenham Adult College. She has a BA honours in English and Cultural Studies and also a Level 3 diploma in Counselling Studies. In addition she has a blog where all of her collection of poems and short stories have been published: http://tavindernew.blogspot.co.uk/.
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