Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Unicorn and the Pomegranate

Knowing he was resigned to his fate, the unicorn huddled as far away from the fence as he could in this tiny pen. His neck burned under the human-made collar that bound him to this tree.

“We are two sides of the same coin,” a voice said.

The unicorn looked around him, tossing his wild mane about, but saw no one.

“Who is there,” he asked proudly, trying not to show his weakness and fear.

“I’m here. I’m the tree you’re tethered too,” the soft, feminine voice said.

The Unicorn began to think, “How strange, the tree is talking,” but then he remembered that he was a Unicorn so all bets were off in regards to reality. The unicorn looked up at the branches of the tree. He stood and peered closer, the waxy green leaves touching his withers. Hanging from the branches was a leathery red fruit.

“We are both misunderstood,” the tree continued. “Our reputations, that is.”

“How do you mean?” The Unicorn asked.

“Well, they have taken my story and made me a thing of fear. Do you know my story?”

The Unicorn shook his head. “What are you?” he asked.

“I am the pomegranate.” she replied. “Let me begin at the beginning.”

The tree explained, at length, that she was originally a symbol of marriage. Greek men would give the fruit to their new wives as a symbol of their union. As time went on, different myths were told and the story of Persephone was gravely misinterpreted. In the story, Hades gives Persephone a Pomegranate and that is what makes her have to stay in the underworld. Even though her mother wants her back, she can’t return because she had eaten the fruit of Hades’ kingdom.

“But in truth,” the pomegranate concluded, “Hades had simply given her a marriage present. They loved each other, they did.”

“I never knew that,” the unicorn said. “But I do understand what you mean. I was hunted and captured because they think that I am a magic thing when all I really want to do is frolic in fields of flowers.”

“They have made you into a symbol too,” the tree said. “One day your story will be forgotten by humans.”

The Unicorn sighed and lay down next to the tree roots. He felt the strength of the trunk on his back. “I suppose we’ll both just stay here until no one remembers us.” He felt something wet on his hind quarters. He looked back to see bright red juice droplets staining his pearly hair.  He thumped his lion's tail on the grass.

“Are you crying,” he asked.

”Yes,” she said. “I am sad for a day when we will both be forgotten.”

The Unicorn closed his eyes. “I am too,” he said. And he fell asleep.

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