A Tale of Three Apples

 Once upon a time there was a tree that had upon its branches three apples. One was red, another green, and the last was golden.

     When the time came for the apples to be plucked, three cloaked figures approached the tree, each selecting for themselves the one they desired most. The first selected the red, in hopes that it's shiny, vibrant skin would grant long life. The second selected the green, in hopes that its tart newness would grant adventure. And the third selected the golden, in hopes that its warmth would provide a contented state.

     Indeed, when the first hooded figure threw back its hood, a gnarled, warted woman revealed herself. Crunching into the gleaming red apple, the woman waited, then began to change. Suddenly, where the old bent beldam had once been standing, in her place stood a girl with hair as black as night, and lips as red as the apple she had just eaten. Feeling the strength and vigor of youth coursing through her veins, the girl looked and saw the other two hooded figures. She glanced at the remains of the apple in her hand, then up again. Fearing that they would soon desire that which had bestowed her such a gift, she turned and ran, as fast as her young legs would carry her.

    The second figure took the next turn, throwing back its hood and revealing another gnarled woman, every inch an aging hag. Taking a bite of her green apple, the woman waited, and then began to change. At once a spry woman of middle years stood in place of the hooded figure. Then, whirling through the air, came a flying broom making its way directly for the woman. Eyes lit wide with excitement, she caught it. Then her eyes fell on the remaining hooded figure. Fearing that it would soon desire the remains of the apple she had chosen, the woman sat astride her broom, and took off into the air as quickly as she could.

    It was the last figure's turn to toss off the hood, unveiling a third gnarled woman. Taking a bite of her golden apple, the woman waited. And when no change occurred, the old crone smiled and thought that all was as it should be. She finished her apple and planted the seeds in the ground. From those seeds grew a whole orchard.

    And to this day anyone who eats one of those golden apples is satisfied.

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