Mary Ellen Hill ~ Storyteller & Teacher


The Love Fruit

Storytelling as Wisdom

As Published in Earthlight Magazine, Summer 1996


strawberriesThe Love Fruit
by Mary Ellen Hill

We are a storytelling species. For at least 97 percent of human existence the primary mode of learning happened through observation and by listening to stories. All peoples everywhere have used stories to teach about life, their culture and the universe. The IndoEuropean root for story is "weid" which means wisdom. Embedded in every human is the natural way to pass on information and teach wisdom.

Our minds, consciousness and being are shaped by stories. Thus, when education is mentioned there must be a good story available. What stories are you listening to? What stories are you telling? Stories that celebrate the creative genius and mysterious dynamics of the universe are a great place to start.

The following story has been handed down from Gayle Ross, a Cherokee. It can be found in "Homespun" by Jimmy Neil Smith. Joseph Bruchac, an Abenaki, retold it in his book "The First Strawberries". The following is my adapted version.




Once there was the very first man and the very first woman and they lived together in peace and in happiness. They enjoyed swimming in the river during the day and looking at the night stars. They loved each other very much.

Until they had their first argument. They got so mad at one another that the woman left their home and started walking towards the east where the sun comes up. The man stayed in their home and yelled, screamed and stomped. But after a few days his anger left his heart and all he felt was sadness. He sat down and cried.

The one who created all things came to the man, "Why are you crying? Where is your wife?"

The man looked up and was too upset to answer and kept on crying.

The creator asked, "Would you like your wife to come back?"

"Oh yes, oh yes, I am sorry for what happened," the man said sobbing.

"She is walking towards the east," the creator said.

The man jumped up and rushed out of their home heading east. He ran and ran but could not catch up with her. You may know that an angry person can walk very fast. The man sat down discouraged.

The creator said "I will think of something that will get your wife to slow down," and a sudden wind blew through the air.

All the berry bushes along the path where the woman was walking--the blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, salmon berry--all of them turned to flower, then to fruit. Juicy ripe berries hung on the branches, but the woman, she neither looked to the left nor to the right; all she could see was the anger in her heart. She kept walking very fast. Too fast for the man to catch up to her.

He sat down on a rock and began to cry. "I have another idea," thought the creator, and again the sudden rush of air swished by the man.

All the fruit trees along the path where the wife was walking--the apple, cherry, lemon, peach, and plum--all of them turned to flower, then to fruit. Juicy ripe fruits hung off the branches. But the woman, she neither looked to the left nor to the right; all she could see was the anger in her heart. She kept walking very fast. Too fast for the man to catch up to her.

The man sat down by a tree crying. The creator said, "I must think of an entirely new fruit, one that grows close to the ground. That will get your wife to slow down." A large gust of wind blew.

Along the path where the woman walked appeared little green leaves then tiny white flowers the shape of stars. And from these tiny white star flowers came a fruit the color and shape of the human heart. The woman stepped on one and the fragrance filled her senses. She stopped and said "It smells as sweet as love itself." Then she bent down and picked one of the fruits and took a bite. "And it tastes as sweet as love." She picked more, more, gathering them into the apron of her skirt. As she was bending down, she saw her husband. When he came up to her, she handed him one of the fruits. He liked it also. They said they were sorry.They both picked some more fruit and went back to their home. They lived the rest of their days in peace and love.

This is the story about how the first strawberry come to be. And this is why strawberries are called the berries of love, for they brought the very first man and the very first woman back together again.


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Oakland, California, USA, North American Continent, Earth, Solar System, Milky Way Galaxy, Universe
Mary Ellen Hill ~ Storyteller & Teacher
Telephone 510-636-4155
Email mehstories@netzero.com
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