STAY ON THE PATH
Daniel G. Snethen
“You must never
leave the path which leads to the apple tree and back. There is much danger
waiting within the woods,” said the mother to her child.
For four years,
since he was three, the child would play along the path leading to the apple
tree. Here he would pick the ripest red apple for his mother as she loved red
apples and he loved his mother very much.
One day he saw the
largest, most beautiful, deepest red apple hanging barely out of reach. He
jumped and jumped but could not reach it. He tried a running jump several times
and barely missed the ripe apple each time. Then he picked up an apple branch lying
beneath the tree. He ran and leaped and swung the apple branch and knocked the
beautiful apple from the tree. He hit it with such force that it rolled off the
path beneath a fig tree.
Not wanting to lose
the apple, the young boy left the path to retrieve the apple from beneath the
fig tree. A tiny brown snake lurked in the dried fig leaves beneath where the red
apple had rolled. When the young boy picked up the beautiful red apple for his
mother, the brown serpent bit him on the hand.
The boy ran home
crying and clinging to the ripened red apple. As he ran, he cried so much that
his tears flooded the bite on his hand, flushing and cleansing the wound, but
the tear-fed poison moistened the outer skin of the apple and dried there,
before the young man reached home.
Not wanting to scare
his mother and wanting her to be proud of her young boy, he offered her the
apple without retelling her all that had happened.
When proffered the
apple, his mother said, “Thank you my love, you are such a faithful and loving
son. You please your mother plenty.”
And then, she ate of
the apple and passed during the night, leaving her seven-year-old disobedient
son an orphan, who soon starved to death, because he no longer had a mother to look
Daniel G. Snethen is the owner and
publisher of Darkling Publications. He serves as vice-president of the South Dakota State Poetry Society. In May 2017, 10
pages of his poetry was anthologized in Resurrection
of a Sunflower, a tribute to Vincent Van Gogh, curated by Catfish McDaris.
Snethen's poetry has been published by Bear
Creek Haiku; Cover of Darkness; Danse
Macabre; Dark Gothic Resurrected;
Haiku Journal; The Horror Zine; Miller's
Pond; Pasque Petals: Thirteen Myna
Birds, and several other
publishers of poetry. Snethen also coaches oral interpretation of literature
and Poetry Out Loud. He has qualified two high school students for the National
Poetry Out Loud competition in Washington
DC and has had the SD State
Poetry Out Loud runner-up on two separate occasions. His favorite poet is
William Blake, and his favorite poem is “The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner” by
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
W. Jack Savage is a retired
broadcaster and educator. He is the author of eight books
including Imagination: The Art of W. Jack Savage (wjacksavage.com). To
date, more than fifty of Jack’s short stories
and over a thousand of his paintings and drawings have
been published worldwide. Jack and his wife Kathy live in Monrovia, California.