Some quotations: ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’; ‘Adam was but human – this explains it all. He did not want the apple for the apple’s sake; he wanted it only because it was forbidden’; ‘the apple of his eye’; ‘A goodly apple rotten at the heart’ ; ‘But I, when I undress me/Each night upon my knees/Will ask the Lord to bless me/With apple pie and cheese’.
Adam and Eve and an Apple
Utterly alone in a Garden, with only an apple tree and a snake for company, Adam was invited to invent original sin by his woman. She offered him an apple, not for God’s sake because He had said it was Forbidden Fruit; Adam took the apple with which the serpent had seduced Eve, and all Corruption since knows its source. What must Adam have thought as they were both driven from the Garden by an angel with a flaming sword? Is the treatment fair? What might have happened if Adam had said, “Apple? Faugh! Leave the fruit eating to bats man! Or Cain maybe?”
Andromeda and an Apple
She was the beautiful (and athletic) daughter of one Cepheo, King of Ethiopia. She stayed unmarried though her father sent her Royal suitor after Royal suitor to engage her interest. Cepheo knew his daughter had rejected each suitor because there was a long line of heads (the suitors’) fixed on the garden wall. The idea was Andromeda’s: each suitor had to run a race with her; if he won (she told him) she would marry him and he would become a Royal prince. If he lost, Andromeda’s people would cut off his head.
When each race started, Andromeda would have about her person a golden apple or two, hidden in her garment. She always led at first, but if the panting suitor showed signs of catching up, she would artfully drop an apple. The suitor would see the gold, stop running and pick it up. But by then the Princess would have won, and the suitor lost both the race and his head.
Thus Andromeda stayed quite unmarried, which suited her well. One day she swam out to sea (without golden apples for they would weigh her down) and met a sea monster. Luckless she would have been had it not been for the god Perseus, who happened to be flying past, saw the princess struggling with the sea monster, swooped down, rescued her, killed the monster, and married Andromeda. They lived quite happily for ever after, though Perseus was wise enough not to go running with his wife.
William Tell and an Apple
William is a hero of Switzerland, which in the early 14th century was dominated by Germany. The Emperor was Albert, who caused a ducal crown to be placed high in the main square of Altdorf. He ordered all Swiss to stop and bow down before this when they passed. His overseer, one Gessler, was told that William Tell would not bow. Knowing that Tell was a noted crossbowman, Gessler arrested him and put him under guard in the square. Then Gessler brought Tell’s son, a doughty lad, all tied up, and set him up in the square with an apple on his head. Gessler told Tell he must shoot an arrow at the apple, and added that he hoped Tell was as good a marksman as he had heard!
Everyone gathered to watch, especially the Swiss anxious enough to desire independence from Germany. Tell had two bolts prepared. Gessler asked him why there were two, when only were needed to split the apple – or his son’s head. Tell smiled at this wit, and replied, “One arrowbolt is for the apple, and the other is for you.” Gessler thought this very funny, as he was surrounded by his guards. He gave the signal to fire. William notched up the first bolt, wound back the mechanism, took aim, and shot the bolt straight through the apple balanced on his son’s head. The brave boy didn’t even flinch. He shouted to his father, “And now . . .!” The second bolt caught Gessler straight between the eyes, and most of it emerged from the back of his head. The crowd was inspired, and the battle for Swiss independence was soon successfully completed. Schiller celebrates the story in verse, and Rossini in an opera.
Isaac Newton and an Apple
Sir Isaac was born in Lincolnshire, England in 1642. He became a mathematician, philosopher, physicist and astonomer. He is also reputed to have discovered Gravity, when an apple fell off a tree under which he was seeking shade from the bright sun. The apple landed on his head. He is supposed to have shouted “Eureka!” though it is likely he shouted something else more appropriate to the moment. Newton is also celebrated as the original investigator of the Discomposition of Light.
The Beatles and an Apple
By the mid-Sixties of the last century, the clever North Country boys had become so rich through their records and copyright they could hardly spend the thousands of pounds they were earning every day. John Lennon bought a white Rolls-Royce Phantom V. Paul McCartney bought a castle in Scotland and an Aston Martin to get there. George Harrison bought a 20-bedroom house in Surrey and a Mediterranean island. Ringo Starr wondered what would happen when he was sixty-four, and bought a complex in Monte Carlo. Still the money poured in, until the four discovered a wonderful way to lose money. They set up a production company with headquarters in Savile Row, London, in a five-storey mansion in need of repair. They called the company Apple Corps, and set about wasting cash with an abandon rarely seen. They bought terrible screenplays for films that would never be filmed. They floated companies that sank. But the idea was brilliant and worked. By the end of the Sixties they had broken up the group; John went off with his Yoko Ono to New York, where he was killed by a fan. Paul became a more serious musician and married a super American girl who was just as clever as him, but sadly died young. Ringo went off to Monaco and became the producer of films that vanished without a trace. George became a Surrey mystic; deluded by drugs, and deafened by Eastern music he also died young. An interviewer once asked Mr McCartney why they had chosen the word ‘Apple’ as the name for their Savile Row moneyloser. He replied, “Isaac Newton, Eureka and all that. We tried to defeat Gravity. We didn’t, though.”
Steve Jobs and an Apple
The late Steve was a universal genius who thought of everything his few competitors hadn’t thought of, in the world of information. His Mackintosh/Apple and his iPod and others changed the world as we knew it. He was hardly interested in money, though he is thought to have earned five or six billion dollars in his short working life. His houses are mostly without furniture, and he forgot to fill his swimming pools. He was an adopted child who made it to the biggest time of all, but cancer of the pancreas is remorseless and took Steve Jobs from us after an eight-year fight. Only America could have produced him.