The Farmer & The Olive

The Farmer had never really liked Olives
Which was strange
Because he was an Olive Farmer
Of course, he liked them "in a way"
But mainly for what they brought him
Money, fame, and many compliments
For he was a good Olive Farmer
And he produced
Despite his distaste for the actual fruit
Some of the biggest, juiciest Olives in the whole village
But still he was never at ease with them
He found their aroma acrid and it irritated his nostrils
They were generally too hard and salty, he thought
And tended to leave an unpleasant aftertaste
At the back of his tongue
And the skin, he reckoned, was the worst part of all
He could never seem to finish chewing it
Long after the liquid had gone
And more often than not a piece of it would lodge itself
Between his teeth, and stay there for hours
The Farmer really didn't like Olives
And because he really didn't like Olives
But had to be surrounded by a veritable ocean of them every day
He tended to be very bad-tempered
And people didn't really like him
Because he was so bad-tempered
And they criticised him behind his back
And the Farmer didn't have many friends
And this made him even more bad-tempered
And, in fact, a little lonely and sad
But nobody knew that, or if they did, they didn't let on
Well, one day the Farmer was working and grumbling
In his Olive groves
When he saw what he knew was the finest Olive
He had ever seen
It's aroma wasn't at all bitter, like he was used to
And it even smelled rather nice
Although he didn't want to admit it
And he imagined, despite himself, that if he took a bite
It wouldn't taste at all salty, but somewhat sweet
And would be soft and tender like a beautifully ripe peach
And its skin was as smooth as an Angel's cheek
He thought, in a moment of rare poetry
And seemed to glow with a strange green translucence
Like the sea at night when the floating algae
Are caught in the glow of the fishing boat's lantern
And just for a second he thought that the skin
Might not get stuck between his teeth
But rather melt softly in his mouth
And add pleasantly to the flavour, for once
But suddenly all the hate and resentment
Of all those whispers behind his back
And all those shallow compliments
And all those so-called well-wishes
Came screaming back to him like a tornado
And he felt all his frustration
And anger
And pain
Well up inside him
And with one motion from his hunched up frame
He made as if to crush that perfect Olive
With one bitter twist of his powerful hands
And then something amazing happened
The Olive spoke
And it had the voice of a girl, and it said

"Oh Farmer! my Sweet Farmer!
Don't end my paltry life
But look to the horizon
And see beyond your strife

"And in my taste imagine dreams
Of secret lands unknown
With flavours yet untasted
And special plans a-sewn

"And take my unique aroma
And inhale deeply
Breathe me in
Drink from me
And think of me
As the sea-borne salty breeze
Hiding glimmering lights
And promising exotic nights
To bring you to your knees

"And imagine my tough skin that irritates you so
As the wall you need to break through
To reach pure and simple happiness
But in the end, it's up to you"

And instead of bitterly crushing that little Olive
The Farmer placed her gently, with infinite care, into his mouth
And imagining the most wonderful, incredible, unthinkable of futures
He sank his teeth into that most perfect, luscious fruit
Savouring every last millisecond of taste, flavour, colour, texture, aroma,
odour, caress, tickle-your-toes, honey-ooze
As she exploded into his heart and into his mind




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