Gourd was taken to task when she understood the limitations the garden patch had placed upon her people.
It was early fall and the dancers of the vegetable kingdom paraded their charms in bright, full regalia. Across the earth in splotches of colour, the tomatoes scented a good fall. So, too, the kingly husks of corn and the melons, spinach and cucumber in turn eyed the approaching season in growing faith. Each had a succulent function and dangled their inviting flesh to the beholder.
But, alas, what did gourd promise? She was deeply conscious of lacking the forward brightness of tomato and pumpkin. She lacked leafy greens so evidently prized and when her fellow vegetables covered the brown soil in preparation for the fine day they would bask across a kitchen table, it was almost too much for the sensitive gourd to stomach. Why even squash, which she felt closest to, had more of a function than she. So versatile did the big neighbour seem in comparison to herself, the ugly dwarf.
She was on the verge of casting herself in despair across the rickety fence or joining the long, black embers of a dead fire young boys had prepared months back. Surely, she was the outcast of the plant world. How grotesque her features were, so hard and unpliable seemed her flesh. Even her skin tones were half-caste. No recipes called for her presence. A mood of growing helplessness seemed to envelop her.
A boy, the earlier fire setter, is describing an odd vegetable, tubular and often misshapen, that was excellent for all sorts of childhood pursuits – making paperweights, building scarecrows and decorating mantles.
“If only people knew,” he bubbles.
“Still more success stories,” the little gourd cries on hearing the child’s comment.
“At least I won’t have to be humbled in her presence,” the gourd thought, her self confidence shattered.
And with that the little gourd approached the Vegetable King and asked to use her remaining wish. For in those days all living things were handed one means for improving themselves.
“I resolve to be a new edible,” she sighed, “something other than a gnomish gourd. Make, O King, a glorious . . . pumpkin.” But the Vegetable King decided not to abandon his earlier invention and so gourds live on. Distant relatives of the bright, new pumpkin, but their inspiration nonetheless.
by PAUL CAMERON BROWN (?-?)
Public Domain Poetry