Saturday, September 6, 2008

Treasures! And stealing! Hurrah!

I've been feeling like a bucket of slop these last few days, and Lin brought me treasures to cheer me up.

And what glorious treasures!

Two apples of the sharp, juicy, sweet kind you only get in September, a white dragon egg with glimmering cut-outs, and really strong, spicy tea.

And speaking of apples: one of the Inners is the land of stealing apples. I was dumbfounded when I discovered that there is no word that expresses this precisely in English. In Norwegian, 'slang' entails sneaking into someone's orchard or garden, usually in the dark, and stealing fruit or vegetables, which are to be gobbled up, unwashed, unpaid for, unbeliveably tasty, in the nearest safe alley or ditch. It's not considered exceedingly naughty (except maybe by the owner of a single apple tree), it's just something kids do come autumn.

(I do realise that you might get shot if you trespass in the USA, so maybe it's not so strange after all. I'm so glad we don't have all those guns lying about).

Anyway, Apfeld is an Inner, a wide, beautiful valley full of orchards and dewy fields, where all the inhabitants steal apples and cabbage and carrots and plums for a living. They make the most wonderful pies and stews and ciders, and enjoy their loot in front of roaring fireplaces while wispy fog gathers in the night. Only problem is, they have to avoid The Farmer, a faceless, dark man with a deadly shotgun and the ability to move silently and very fast.

I think maybe this would be the Inner I would choose to live in. All the days golden and crisp, all the nights tingly with cold and excitement.


Laini Taylor said...

What a cool, magical place -- and I love the idea of The Farmer, and that he's faceless. Very dreamlike and scary. Out of curiosity, have you read The Book Thief? Stealing from orchards features in that book, among many other things of course. I'm sure looting fruit is a hobby in the US of many kids too, but I never lived by an orchard. Which now seems like a shame.

tone almhjell said...

Oh yes, the Book Thief! Love it! One of my favourite books last year.

Fruit loot. Giggle.

kendalee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kendalee said...

n England we talk about "scrumping" for apples, which involves - exactly as you described - climbing over the orchard wall under cover of darkness, avoiding the farmer (never actually seen but definitely felt in the air and known to be scary), probably a bit of nervous giggling while running away to enjoy the fruit, which tastes all the better for having been stolen! The apples might even be turned into Scrumpy Jack cider. As far as I know it only refers to acquisition of apples in this way, not other fruit or veg. At least, in our family we only ever use it for apples...

I think this is a particular usage in the UK though because in parts of America I know scrumping is slang for a quick, probably illicit, sexual encounter with clothes on (possibly also in an orchard?!). I discovered this when I used the term amongst a group of my cousin's friends in New York and they all looked at me very strangely as if to say, "we've only just met and here you are talking about ...!"

And here I am doing it again, and we have never even met. Sorry. But did think you should be aware so that you don't suffer similar embarrassment :)

Love your blog btw, which I arrived at via Laini's, a long-standing favourite of mine.

tone almhjell said...

Ah! An accurate word for apple stealing! With worrying connotations. Darn :)

Thank you very much, kendalee, for the word, the save from embarrassment and the compliment.