Friday, 9 July 2010

False Hopes





The garden was long and thin. Eva had permission to play in it if she stayed off the vegetable beds and kept away from the chicken coop. She was allowed to go down the narrow path to the gate at the bottom which led to the rear access for the terraced houses.

Whenever she came out the man who owned the garden kept a close eye on her. It was summer and his vegetables were ripening. She had been told not to touch any of the fruit and vegetables and she was too timid to disobey.  But she could look.

On her way to the bottom of the garden she passed a row of tomato plants. Their fruits fascinated her; she had been watching them develop from the moment the flowers appeared and now, several weeks later, the fruits had set and begun to show colour. Every day she visited the plants, measuring them with her eyes, looking at them from underneath, above, sideways on.

Along with the tomatoes, a plan ripened in her. She would take one, perhaps the one which was at the back of the truss, and therefore slightly hidden. Her visits became more frequent. She was going to wait until her chosen tomato had turned fully red, plump, and juicy looking. She would say it had fallen off and been eaten by animals.

Another day maybe and then she’d come out while no one was about and she’d pick it, take it into the alley behind the gardens, and eat it. Just thinking about it made her mouth water.

On her chosen day she came out early and made straight for the tomato plants. There was no red anywhere, only green and yellowish fruits remained. The man had picked all the ripe tomatoes during the previous evening, after she been sent to bed.




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35 comments:

  1. O the poor little thing! After all that careful planning! Lovely story!

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  2. Isn't that always the way it is!!

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  3. If the old man kept such a close eye on you, I'm sure he did of his tomatoes too. You were probably spared a big tongue-lashing by this disappointment. But poor little Eva ... after delaying gratification to wait for the perfect tomato, and then....bummer.

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  4. Poor Eva - that tomatoe had her name on it and that meanie of an old man stole it from her - yes I know it belonged to him but surely he could have spared one. I hope that she now has all the tomatoes she can eat (and enjoy). I'm off to check to see whether any of my tomatoes have ripened given the heat we've been experiencing all week.

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  5. Oh poor Eva. all that anticipation. He should have shared a tomato with her knowing she had watched them so closely.

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  6. A brilliant evocation of childhood desire and an insightful slice of human nature. Beautifully simple tale, well told.

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  7. Poor little Eva's patience was not rewarded, but the old man's was. That's life. I'm sure that he was aware of the plan, having been a little boy, himself, long ago.

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  8. eine interessante und spannende Geschichte um eine alltägliche Begebenheit - auch eine Art von Kunst, dies so zu übertragen. Ein tolles Post!
    Renée

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  9. After all that careful planning !
    Perhaps it was just as well . It could have been the first step down a slippery slope , she could have become a cat burglar ( do they still exist) and led a Life of Deceit in some island getaway .

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  10. The plan ripening in her ... wonderful way with words. I so enjoyed your Magpie!

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  11. Another lovely Eva story. Poor little mite.

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  12. Oh, poor Eva. As I watch my own tomato plant, with one tomato, almost hidden, turning the most delicious red, I can almost taste it...

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  13. Rats! That selfish man should have invited her to have a bite and take home a few!

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  14. oh man...heartbreaking....kinda like the dear eating all mine this year. nice magpie!

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  15. So,he was on to her!
    poor kid....someday she'll grow her own
    very nice story

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  16. I can taste her disappointment - well written!

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  17. I know she was disappointed, but she shouldn't have planned to steal, and he should have offered to share. Nicely written.

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  18. I check our tomatos every day, often leaving one that's almost ripe for one more day----only to come out the next day and find that birds/squirrels, raccoons also thought it was just right and tucked right in! So I can sympathize with poor Eva!

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  19. Oh no, how unfair after all that waiting and anticipation.

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  20. This story resonates with me for two reasons - I stole tomatoes as a toddler (there is quite a story to this) and my new gdd is called Eva.

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  21. Thank you for dropping by - I came back and realised this was linked to Magpies Tales, I posted there too! (I am proud of that because being new to blogging this was an entirely new skill for me to learn)

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  22. Wonderful short story.

    Sounds to me like the man passed up a great opportunity to garner a key employee...and it would have only cost him one tomato.

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  23. Hi friko

    I have just eaten a tasty cheese (New Zealand Mainland ) and tomato sandwich on sourdough bread fresh from the market and I could smell your tomato vines...

    Happy days

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  24. aww that ending just makes you want to cry! Great story!

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  25. Hi Friko,
    A lovely story I loved the plan and could taste the ripe tomato and the disappointment.
    Love
    Herrad

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  26. I detect an allegorical dimension to your story...life, long and thin?

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  27. A lovely story. Reminds me of the time I was planning to pick the strawberries on my deck. We would have a strawberry dessert the next day. Only the deer had one first, and they gave my plants a crew cut. They like the leaves as well as the fruit.

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  28. What a disappointment! But well-written.

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  29. Oh! Oh! I had the same feeling reading this as I did when I first learned that Christmas oranges were a treat for children who never otherwise had any. Unimagineable that food could be so treasured and longed-for.

    The tomato I will be having with my lunch will take on a slightly different significance than usual, because of Eva. Poignant little vignette, Friko.

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  30. A day late and a dollar short. Know the feeling.
    Great Magpie :)

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  31. Well, well, my first attempt at a Magpie and it seems to have gone down well.
    Thank you all for this encouragement, I shall look out for many more, I hope.

    There's not really anything I can say to you individually, perhaps that's not done with magpies?

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  32. I love the notion of a ripening plan!

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  33. This is a cruel little story. The moral of the story is – don’t wait for what you wish and put it off till later as it may be gone.

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