The Fig Tree: by Ron’s Mom
chapter 11 of the Crow series
To have a fruit tree in your back yard is awesome! As children Ron, Eric, and Alesha had a fig tree in their backyard. Ooh! Just to imagine those carefree days.
On many hot, sweltering, Georgia days, if they were not on Mitchell Grove Road or some other country road looking for a creek to fish, all three could be found in the backyard under the fig tree—well, maybe not ALL three. Eric once related that Gramp had long grown weary of pressuring him—with no luck—to try those sweet, purple-skinned, delicious, and nutritious bites.
The tree is known as the Ficus tree (Ficus carica), which is a member of the Mulberry family. It is unique in that it has an opening, called the “ostiole” or “eye,” which is not connected to the tree, but which helps the fruit’s development by increasing its communication with the environment. Hmmm, I wonder if Ron and the others were able to communicate with the tree? Or, if the tree could see them with its unblinking eye?
Figs range dramatically in color and subtly in texture depending upon the variety. Sometimes figs are dried, either by exposure to sunlight or through an artificial process, creating a sweet and nutritious dried fruit that can be enjoyed throughout the year.
Ron, his siblings, and friends—don’t forget the friends—would complain of sore tongues from eating too many of the prickly skinned figs.
When asked if they remember harvesting figs from the tree so that Gramp and Mrs. Janie could make good ole buttered biscuits to eat with the fig preserves for their eating enjoyment, they answered with a hearty YES! As if they could just imagine the sweetness flowing over their taste buds.
This little tidbit could not end without telling you something about the crow. After all this may end up in the Crow Series.
The Naughty Crow
Crows aren’t very popular birds. They’re loud and messy, and they’re generally considered sneaky pests.
According to Greek mythology, that wasn’t always the case. Originally, crows had silver-white plumage and beautiful voices. But a naughty crow angered one of the gods, who transformed all crows as part of the punishment.
The story is told in three constellations. Corvus, the Crow; Crater, the cup; and Hydra, the water snake.
The tale says that one day the god Apollo gave the crow a cup and sent him to fetch some water. As he flew toward the nearest spring, the crow saw a fig tree and dropped in for a snack. But the figs were still green, so he had to wait several days for them to ripen.
By then, Apollo was mightily displeased, and the crow knew he would be. So, the crow grabbed a water snake and flew back to Apollo, telling the god that the snake had blocked his way. But Apollo knew the crow himself was to blame. In anger, he gave crows black feathers and a raspy voice. He then flung the crow, cup, and snake into the sky, where they remain today.
Look for them in the southeast as night falls. Corvus is the easiest to find, because its four brightest stars form a pattern that looks like a compact sail. The cup is to the crow’s upper right – just out of reach of the thirsty bird. And the water snake slithers above them—stretching halfway across the sky.
Also, watch for Master Story Teller, Ron Brown”s Version of “The Barren Fig Tree”