Tales of the Supernatural
Tales of Laughter
Tales of Heroism

The First Bananas

Once upon a time, a very beautiful young woman was wooed by a handsome young man, whom she had never seen before, and who did not look like any other person she knew. His countenance was divine, his every movement graceful. Surely such a magnificent creature could not come from this world!

"I live far, far away," was only what the stranger told her at the start. "In my land, everything is fair and good, reminding me of you."

He enjoyed speaking about his land. Whenever he and the young woman were together, he spoke about such wonders and delights that the young woman was tempted to believe that he had not come from this world. At last she brought herself to ask "What are you?"

The young man seemed to blanch at this question, and he did not answer it at once. He stood up and walked around. He looked troubled. When he looked back at the young woman, it was with a beautifully sad smile.

"Alas," he said, "you have asked the question I had been warned to put from your mind. It is partly my fault for being so careless, I am sorry. This will be the last night for us to meet."

The startled young woman asked at once, What did he mean? The young man readily answered "There is nothing more to hide. I am an elf-prince. I had only asked to be placed in the world of Man for some time. During that time I found the most radiant creature I have ever seen, and I fell in love with her. I made haste to tell my Father the King, who said ‘If she loves you enough to accept you as you are without question, marry her. But if at the first opportunity, she asks, you must leave her, leave the world, and return home.’ " The elf-prince shook his head sadly. "But I have done myself wrong. I should not have said so much about myself. I have made you curious of forbidden things."

Dawn broke just as he was ending his story. "My kinfolk will be coming for me if I do not leave at once," he told the young woman. "I must go." But the young woman, who had fallen in love with him, held on to his hands until the sun was well into the sky. It was then that, all of a sudden, and in the middle of his gentle pleadings, the elf-prince disappeared. As the young woman could not disappear with him, he left his mortal hands behind, which the girl would not release even after he had gone.

But the girl knew that he would have to hide those beautiful fairy hands. Thus she dug a hole in the ground where the fairy prince had stood, placed the hands in the hole, and marked the place of their short burial with a stone. She came back to the same spot day after day, paying reverence to the only memory she had of her love.

Then, one day, a plant started growing beside the rock she had set to mark the small "grave". She tended to it lovingly, until it blossomed to be a tall plant with cool, broad leaves, and sweet yellow fruit which grew in clusters. The girl noticed that the fruit looked like fingers, and it was then that she realized that the plant was, in fact, her lover’s final gift to her and her kind.