The Apple Tree

'The Apple Tree' is an illustrated story that I wrote in the early 90's. It began with something I remembered from a book I had read about Jeroen Bosch, the medieval painter; a legend about a bewitched apple that screamed and made dreadful sounds. I was also inspired by the fairy tales of George MacDonald, which I was reading at the time.

A brother and sister are hidden in a pair of barrels in the woods by their father, a cooper, in order to save them from a trio of witches. Over time, the old man forgets where he put the barrels, and the children grow older inside them. One day the sister emerges from her barrel, only to find the barrel next to hers empty, and she herself without any idea of who she is or even what sort of creature she might be.

When she is caught in a rabbit snare, the witches capture the girl and force her to be their housemaid. As she grows up she becomes aware of a screaming apple outside the witches' house, and of the spectral form of a boy who sometimes appears there. Gradually her memory returns, and finally she recognizes the boy as her brother; when she does, the boy becomes real, and together they defeat the witches and return to their parents.

I'm not sure that this book is in the proper format as it stands - it seems to me that it might work better as a text-heavy picture book. I still love the story and the mood of it, and I'm sure I will try my hand at fixing it up one day.