Eve topiary

Stories That Never Happened

            Adam and Eve were told not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  They never did.  They learned about eternity.  Peter Rabbit was told not to go into Farmer McGregor’s garden, for it was there his father was caught and made into a pie.  He stayed home, learning about safety.  Giovanni gazed upon the beauty of Rappacini’s Padua garden and Rappacini’s daughter Beatrice, but never called down to her, never ventured nearer.  He learned to trust his instincts, that not all beauty is beneficent.  Mary Lennox saw the robin flying in and out of the garden with no entrance, but never found the key to unlock a secret door.  She continued longing, learned to tuck curiosity in her small breast.  When Larry entered the Hampton Court maze, he found himself at home, but he did not return to Canada to build mazes, instead learning to be content with memory.  Rapunzel’s mother, pregnant, desired the green plant from the witch’s garden, but her husband refused to climb the wall.  He knew that a daughter would be better than a princess.
            After all, even children can figure out that when the bear went over the mountain to see what he could see, and he saw another mountain, he should learn the value of staying in place.  And the little engine, so bright and hopeful, so full of “I think I can?”  Well, “I thought I could,” sounds so self-congratulatory.
            Sit in the garden.  Let go.  Peace and contentment surround you, fruit and beauty.  Don’t spoil it.  Don’t look for the risk, the striving.  Do not look for the story.

"Stories That Never Happened" first appeared in North American Review








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