The Queen's Seed

I am the queen's seed, and I produce the finest apples in the world. I am so vital and dear to the queen that when I was stolen by a magician, the queen died.

The magician gave me to a king who has planted me in his orchard. Alas, he cannot taste my fruit. If he plucks an apple before it has ripened, the taste is bitter and all the fruit rots.

There is only one moment when all our fruit is ripe together, and the king and his sons are asleep when it happens.

The queen's daughter is not. She comes at night, every year, in the form of a snow-white swan, and she plucks all the apples from the tree.

Clearly you can see, then, that my fruit will never be tasted until I am planted where I belong.

The Queen's Seed in The Witch and Her Servants, Yellow Fairy Book. Illustration by Arthur Rackham.

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