THE LORD OF YOUTH
Martha is an eighty-one year old woman with gray hair. She is always wearing hair up in a bun. Mildred is seventy-five years old. She is short and stocky, and she wears glasses. Martha is the brains of their idiotic schemes. Today, the two women sit on a blanket under an apple tree in, a backyard, that doesn’t belong to either of them. They are drinking apple cider mixed with rum. It’s dark and there are apple trees all around them. Three candles are set on top of some rocks which are next to the blanket. Marthaopens the meeting by taking attendance. She puts a smiley face next to everyone’s name as they respond. “Mildred.” Martha yells.
“Present. We’re all present and accounted for, Martha. And those who missed today’s meeting will be penalized.” Mildred declares.
“How can they be penalized if they are already dead? We are the only one’s left. Why don’t you start off with the daily prayer, Mildred?” Martha suggests.
“Well, alright.’ Mildred says cheerfully. She opens the pamphlet which contains the sacred prayer, and she reads it. “We bless the Lord of the Golden Apple Trees with his apples of Youth, and honor the juices of the golden apple trees. May we be blessed by you, oh Great Lord of the Golden Apple Trees, with your humble gift of eternal youth.”
The two women take turns pouring apple cider into their cups. They raise their cups and make a toast. “To the Trees of Youth. And to their apples of gold. Oh! Great Spirit of the Golden Apple Trees, if you can hear us, show us a sign.” They shout in unison.
The tree begins to shake, causing a golden apple to land in Martha’s lap. A voice comes from behind the tree. “To have youth, you must find the most sacred of all the golden apples.”
“Which one is it?” Martha asks excitedly.
“It isn’t here.” the voice replies.
“If it isn’t in this tree, could you at least give us some clue as to where we may find it,” Martha shrieks.
“All I can tell you is that you must go deep into the woods. You must find it before dawn.” the voice warns them.
“The woods?! At this hour?! But that’s dangerous!” Martha says fearfully.
“Have courage my dear friend.” the voice advises Martha.
“Oh no! No woods for me, thank you. We could get lost.” Mildred says reluctantly.
The voice advises them to look deep within themselves. And cautioned them to beware of illusion. Martha worried about she and Mildred having no sense of direction, but the voice told her not to worry, because he will give them instructions from time to time. He bids them good-bye and wishes them luck on their quest to find the most sacred of the golden apples.
“Wait! Come back! You never gave us any clues!” Martha wails.
“Now what are we going to do, Martha?! After all, this whole thing was your idea for us to get young again!” Mildred complains bitterly.
“We’re going to do as he says.” Martha replied while jumping up and down.
“What?! You can’t be serious, Martha! Why, you know as well as I do how dangerous the forest can be, particularly at night.” Mildred warns her while waving her own hands in the air.
“Where’s your sense of courage?!” Martha says while stomping her feet on the grass.”
“It just left. There’s no way I’m going into the woods.” Mildred declares.
“If you don’t take my hand and come with me into the forest, I will go on without you and you will be left all alone. I will come back looking radiant and beautiful and you’ll still be an old hag!” Martha warned her while bending forward with her hands on her hips and her lips pursed.
“I hardly consider myself a hag, Martha.” Mildred says, offended by Martha’s remarks. Mildred is silent for a moment and then speaks. “You wouldn’t really leave me, would you? Go get young by yourself?”
“Yes, I would. So what’s it going to be? Are you coming, or do I go on ahead and leave you here alone?” Martha says while giving Mildred an ultimatum.
Mildred follows Martha. She helps Martha fold the blanket. Martha blows out the candles and both women proceed into the woods. A glowing apple lays under a tree and Mildred
picks it up.
“Look, Martha. I found it. I found the sacred of all the golden apples.” Mildred says while she jumps up and down, holding the apple in her hands.
Martha picks up a stick and knocks the apple out of Mildred’s hands. “You ninny! That’s not the apple we’re looking for. Don’t you remember anything? Our Lord said to beware of illusion.”
A man with a shot gun approaches them. He’s in a foul mood. “What are ya doin’ on my land?!”
“I beg your pardon.” Martha says surprised to see anyone else in the forest at night.
“This is my property! You’re trespassing’!” the man declared. He raised
“How dare you speak that way to two old ladies. I’ve got a good notion to take you and turn you over on my knee. But I won’t. I will not disgrace myself before the Lord of the Golden Apple Trees, who also happens to be the Lord of Youth.” Martha wails.
“You old hags belong in a loony bin!” the man declared.
The two women walk away and stop at a pond to rest. Mildred digs into her pockets, pulls out some coins from her pants pocket, and tosses them into the pond. She then asks Martha to do the same. “Aren’t you going to throw some pennies or something into the pond for good luck, Martha?”
“No.” Martha says as she looks around the area for the Lord of Youth. She gets frustrated and discouraged. “Where is he?!”
“Where’s who, Martha?”
“The Lord of Youth. Who else would I be talking about, a figment of my imagination? He said he would give us some instructions.”. Martha says disappointedly.
A voice comes from above the trees. “Go by you instincts my friend. You’ve done well so far.”
Martha and Mildred are puzzled, because so far they haven’t got anywhere. They have done nothing, but walk around in circles. “How can that be true when this man with a gun threatened to shoot our brains out for trespassing on his land?!” Martha goes into hysterics while waving her hands in the air.
The voice fades out. A storm approaches over them and Mildred worries about getting sick. “It’s raining pretty hard. What are we going to do? We’ll die of pneumonia for sure.”
The man with the shotgun approaches them again. “I thought I told you hags to get off my land!”
“How can we get off your land when we are lost?!” Martha asks bitterly as she and Mildred hiccup in unison.
The man accuses them of drinking moonshine. But Martha explains to him that she and Mildred had been drinking apple cider with a touch of rum.
“Have you ever seen the Lord of the Golden Apple Trees who is the giver of eternal youth?” Mildred asks with glee.
“As a matter of fact I have. You folks trespass on my land everyday. I couldn’t think of any other way to get rid of you. There is no such thing as the Lord of Youth. The whole thing is a setup. I am the Lord of Youth.” the man informed them happily.
“What?! Young man, how could you do such a thing?!” Martha asks shocked with tears bursting from her eyes.
“I’m tired of you folks trespassing on my land. You scare the dear away when I’m hunting.” the man says bitterly.
The two women get directions from the man for getting out of the forest. Martha and Mildred cut through the trees and take the path home.