By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter
Stories told around the campfire are not limited to horror stories but can also entail the legends that describe love and hate.
The story of the avocado is one of a timeless theme of scorned love and the consequences of this betrayal.
The simple avocado’s (Persea Americana) story is one between a man, his faithful avocado, his wife, and a tapir.
This story starts out with a man (Seriokai) out searching for his favorite vegetable, the avocado, in a Guiana forest.
While he is out on his search, a tapir is visiting his wife and encouraging her to fall in love with him.
When the husband returns home, he discovers this nontraditional love affair.
To quench this love, the husband suggests that his wife go to the woods with him the next day. While the husband is collecting more avocados in his basket, his wife is pretending to collect wood. To her husband’s surprise, she hits him in the head and severs his leg.
At this point the tapir and the wife run off together carrying the basket of beloved avocados.
Through it all, the wife thought the husband was dead but to her dismay her husband was only knocked unconscious. When he woke up he began to scream. These screams were heard by his neighbor who found him and took him to his home. There he recuperated and learned how to use a wooden leg.
After that he began to look for the couple. He discovered a trail of young avocado seedlings. As he walked farther and farther into the earth, he discovered that the seedlings became younger and younger until the only thing left were the avocado pits, which were from his basket.
The trail led to the edge of the Earth where the tapir and his wife could be found. At this point, the man shot the tapir in the eye with an arrow. This injury caused the tapir to cry out in pain and leap off the edge of the Earth. The man’s wife followed her lover over the edge.
Today, the chase can be seen in the sky. The man Orion can be viewed chasing his wife Pleiades and the tapir Hyades throughout the evening sky.
While the legend on the surface deals with soured love, it does provide lessons on how the avocado is propagated and adds a kernel of truth to the belief that the Earth was flat.
So until we blog again, plants and stories go hand in hand like peanut butter and jelly. How we understand this relationship depends on where we are in our life and in our garden space.