The Legend of the Cashew
The very first thing that comes to mind is the famous Philippine riddle, "Isang prinsesa nakaupo sa tasa," which literally translates to "A princess sitting on a cup" whenever I hear or think of the word cashew or the fruit itself. What's the answer to the riddle? That's no other than our topic - the cashew.
I have wonderful childhood memories visiting the family's lot back in the province of Zambales where cashew trees grow along with other fruit bearing trees such as mangoes and sour soup trees with towering pine trees. The quiet unoccupied lot and surroundings will be filled with laughter and crisp sound of foot steps as dried piled up leaves are stepped on. We would start the visit surveying the lot that once became a home for my parents as newly married couple. Reminiscing the past while picking cashew fruits and mangoes has been the usual ritual every time we visit. While the ripe yellow fruit is simply sweet to munch on, the seed is often grilled and and eaten. I find it always fascinating as to why the cashew seed is outside the fruit, like a guard on watch to whoever will snatch the fruit.
Of all fruits, have you ever thought why the cashew has its seed outside? This legend will tell us why.
A long time ago, the ashy colored cashew seed was just like any other seeds, it was inside the fruit. But the poor seed, it was unhappy being in the dark, there's no light inside the fruit. It even made the seed more unhappy when it heard the news about a banquet that is about to be held in their Great Forest where all kinds of animals will attend. At the big night, animals big and small and even the plants were there to celebrate.
It was so bright at the night of the banquet from all the fireflies that attended the event. The sounds of the crickets and the croaking of the frogs rhymes with the chirping of the sparrows. All were having fun. The rabbits were happily dancing with the deers, the elephants with the buffaloes, and the zebras with the monkeys. And with the plants, the water spinach was having a great time with long bean, mango and tangerine were dancing, and banana and papaya together were having such a great time.
Everyone was dancing and singing. The whole forest was full of laughter and joy. Except for one. The cashew seed was so sad, it can't watch the event and all the fun around.
"Lucky them. They can see the fun around here," uttered the cashew. "And here I am inside, I can hear all the laughter and singing but can't watch all the fun."
The powerful fairy of the forest just heard the thoughts of the seed inside the fruit.
"I want you to be happy," the fairy told the seed. "Do you have a wish?" asked the fairy to the seed inside.
"I don't want to stay inside this dark place where I am now. I envy those other plants and animals that can witness and join the fun every time there's a banquet here in the Great Forest," said the sad seed to the fairy. "They can hear as well as see all the happenings and joy of all."
Then the seed pleaded. "Please beloved fairy of the forest. Do something to get me out of the darkness. Let me out of this fruit."
The kind fairy felt so sorry for the poor seed. She waves her resplendent wand. In a blink of an eye, the seed was out of what it thought was a prison.
Being out of the fruit, the seed happily watched all the dancing, singing and laughing of all the animals and plants that night of the banquet.
The sound of the cricket and the loud croaking of the frog matches the singing of the tree sparrow. The seed watched as the elephant happily shake its huge body in dancing. And of course the tallest grass was there too, the bamboo swayed back and forth with the turtle getting in and out of its shell as a way of dancing.
Are you enjoying the legend so far?
It was already midnight when the forest fairy waved its resplendent wand again. This was a sign it was time to end the event, all has to rest and so the fireflies turned off their lights.
The cashew seed felt sad when the surrounding darkened. Hearing the lighting and thunderstorm scared the poor seed and it noticed that the animals hide in the nearby cave. The plants on the other hand, tightened their roots, sending it deeper into the ground.
As expected, the rain poured hard. The seed was scared and it was freezing cold outside.
"I.... I didn't know it was like this outside. I didn't realize one could...... could die from the cold weather. One could get deaf with the thunderstorm. And worst, get struct by the lighting. I no longer want to be outside."
But it seems like the fairy didn't hear the seed. As a lifelong punishment, the ashy colored cashew seed stayed outside the fruit, standing just like the way when it was watching the joyous event and it remained that way.
It wasn't because the fairy was mad or something. It was because the forest fairy wanted to teach the seed a lesson.
How Cashew Trees Look Like
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