At night in the Garden of Hesperides, glowing fruits on a tree are emitting a soft yellow light through a sparse forest. Three nymphs, the owners of the garden, are sitting and talking together near the glowing fruits. These compelling nymphs are said to be daughters of Atlas, the titan. Under the tree, there lies a dragon, Ladon, who has a hundred heads. He was placed there by Hera, the Queen of Olympians. Hera has asked the nymphs if she could grow her apple tree in their garden. They agreed, but they have tried to take the apples for their own. Therefore, Ladon is there to protect the golden apples from the nymphs and outsiders, and the nymphs will not allow others to steal the apples from them or Hera. Many have yearned to possess these rare fruits because of their beauty and natural golden glow. Although they are solid gold, when their skin is punctured, they are instantly similar to regular apples. It is said that they can grant immortality once eaten.

There have always been ninety-nine apples, but one day, another apple suddenly appeared. Its appearance was similar to the other apples, but it lacked the natural glow. The apples whispered to each other and looked at the new apple. Not being able to move, the apples spoke softly to each other by word of mouth to tell the first and oldest apple. After hearing of the new apple’s arrival, the oldest apple loudly spoke to the new apple. The whispers went silent after they heard the oldest apple’s voice.

“Hello, young little golden apple. How are you hanging? Get it? Instead of ‘how are you doing,’ it is ‘how are you hanging,’ because you are on a branch. Nothing? Anyway, how did you get here?” said the oldest apple.

The new apple, scared of the unknown world, was speechless.

To help the new apple, another apple chimed in, “Don’t think too much about his bad jokes. Lately, he has been trying to crack jokes in order to not feel ancient. He's usually not like this.”

The oldest apple shushed the apple. Then, he tried to question the new apple further. “My apple comrades tell me that you just arrived. Why do you look like us? I am sure that you are not of one us because we have been here for many centuries. Also, there is something about you that looks different. Are you a god pretending to be one of us in order to steal us?”

The new apple was not sure where to start. “No, I am not trying to steal you,” reassured the apple.

Feeling a sense a relief, the oldest apple responded, “Good then. It is peculiar that after many centuries, you appeared before us on our tree. Although I am the oldest, I am puzzled about how you came here. I have an idea. I will tell you about some stories about those of us who have never returned. We have not left this garden, but the nymphs have heard some stories. While they were talking to each other, we overheard their conversations despite the fact that we are unable to converse with them. We can only converse with apples like us.”

“These stories are filled with love, war, and a weight lifted off one’s shoulders. The love between an unrelenting woman, Atalanta, and Hippomenes, who desires to win over her. War between three beautiful goddesses, Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite, who wished to keep one of us. And… weight lifted for a god, Atlas, who desperately needed to relax his shoulders. Perhaps these experiences may jog your memory,” said the oldest apple.

Image Information:
Tree with glowing fruits: Web source