Monday, 26 September 2011

The Okra And The Tomato

Once upon a time in a faraway land, lived a very poor farmer. His crops were never successful though the land was not barren. One day, he was finally down to his last two seeds. A tomato seed and an okra seed. He planted them and then knelt down and cried to the heavens to bless him and to have mercy on him.

10 years later

The land was so rich that the rows of okras and tomatoes were endless. The heavens had taken pity on the farmer and gave him the best weather for these two crops.

The okras were the best in the land. They produced the best gumbo that ever existed. Montague was their name.

The tomatoes were the sweetest and juiciest in the land. They produced the best and sweetest tomato purée. And they were called the Capulets.

For years the Capulets and the Montagues warred with each other. The Capulets called the Montagues slimy and thorny. The Montagues called the Capulets fatties and squishy. The Capulets boast of their beautiful red hue. The Montagues boast of their giant beautiful leaves. And so the okras and the tomatoes never got along with each other, until that one fine day.

Okra Junior was growing into a fine young okra. Papa Montague told him that he will make very fine gumbo one day. It was during one of those hot days where everyone was hiding under the giant leaves, taking their afternoon nap when he heard a beautiful sound coming from the other side of the plot. Peeking from underneath those leaves, he saw the reddest, roundest and juiciest tomato he had ever seen in his whole life. And she was luscious! And for the first time in his okra life, he fell in love. 'Hello,' he whispered. Tomato-luscious whipped around and saw an OKRA leaning over, TALKING to her. 'Are you trying to get us killed? Do you know what you are doing?' she whispered back fiercely. 'You're just so beautiful,' he replied. 'Of COURSE! I'm a Capulet tomato, the best of our kind,' she snorted haughtily. Suddenly, the wind blew and rustled the leaves and they both immediately stopped their conversation and leaned back into their positions. But Tomato-luscious kept on peeking over from the corner of her eyes whenever possible.

Over the next few days, they met secretly during the afternoon naps. And then it progressed to meeting during the nights. They had fallen in love and there was nothing they could do about it.

One day, Tomato-luscious told Okra Junior that Papa Capulet had told her that the time was drawing near for her to be harvested. Okra Junior was devastated. He could not picture life without his beautiful tomato. He then asked her, 'Do you love me?' Tomato-luscious looked at him incredulously, not believing her ears. 'How could you ask me such a thing? Have I not risked my life by meeting with you in the afternoons and nights?' 'Then come with me,’ he said. ‘Let's escape together. Though our time together would be short-lived, let's spend the last moments of our life together.' Tomato-luscious agreed in a heartbeat. 'We'll escape tomorrow at midnight,' he told her. As he gave her a kiss, Cousin Tomato awoke from his slumber and saw the despicable okra giving his luscious cousin a KISS! 'You bastard! How dare you touch our Tomato-luscious!!!!!' And both crops were jolted up from Cousin Tomato's shouting.

All hell broke loose when it was discovered that a Capulet and a Montague were together. In the midst of the chaos Cousin Okra accidentally smacked Cousin Tomato from his twig and he went splat on the ground. Everyone gasped! Silence ensued. A Capulet was murdered at the hands of a Montague.

'You all will die for this!' screamed Papa Capulet. And bloody murder ensued. The tomatoes broke themselves from their twigs and catapulted themselves over to the okras. The okras used their large leaves to protect themselves from the onslaught of the tomatoes. And the okras broke themselves from their twigs and charged towards the tomatoes, injuring them with their spines.

While the battle was raging, Okra Junior was frantically looking for Tomato-luscious. He was afraid that she would be another casualty. 'Junior, I'm here!' Tomato-luscious called out. As Junior tried to reach her, three tomatoes catapulted towards him and smashed him against the ground. Okra Junior broke into half. 'Nooooooooooo!!!!' Tomato-luscious screamed. She rolled towards him and sobbed uncontrollably. 'We were supposed to watch the last sunrise together.' Okra Junior told her to take one of the seeds from his body and in that way, he would always be with her. And Okra Junior died. Tomato-luscious screamed in such anguish and despair that the battle suddenly came to a halt. 'YOU!!!!! All of you killed him!' 'What is wrong with all of you? What is wrong with being different and yet being with each other? Who is to say that we are better or you are better? Look at all the slain tomatoes and okras. Was it worth it? Neither any of us will ever make it to be the greatest gumbo or tomato puree, EVER. We are all going to die here tonight. I hope you felt that it was worth it!’ she cried.

She gently took out one seed from Okra Junior's body and rolled out of the field to the place that they had agreed to spend their last moments together. The Capulets and Montagues came to realize that they have been very narrow minded, selfish, foolish, arrogant and prejudiced. And now there was nothing that they could do about the situation. They will never make it to be the greatest sauces. Papa Capulet and Papa Montegue decided to call a truce and they swore NEVER to harm or to belittle each other ever again. And they all died that night on the grounds of the field. 

Tomato-luscious rolled to the edge of the field and watched the sunrise with Okra Junior's seed with tears streaming down her cheeks. She kissed the seed, split herself opened over a stone and placed the seed in her. 'I love you Junior,' she said and closed her eyes for the very last time.

When the farmer went to his fields the next morning, he was shocked to see hundreds of tomatoes and okras on the ground. Some were broken into half and some smashed open. The ones on the ground outnumbered the remaining ones on the stems. How was he supposed to make gumbo and tomato puree this year? He sat down on the ground with a thud. He was ruined. Suddenly, he had an idea. This year he would combine the okras and the tomatoes together. He would make the best stew ever with the okras and tomatoes. Who would have thought that one day both the tomatoes and okras would be combined together to make such a delicious dish? But it was paid with a very high price indeed.

3 months later

At the edge of the field, a plant has grown over 6 feet tall. It looks like an okra plant but it has red vines on its leaves, red stems and red twigs. The fruit is red in color and when broken apart, it has less mucus than its ancestor. It is called the Red Okra. And this plant is at the spot where Tomato-luscious died with Okra Junior's seed in her.

"Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast' - William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, 2.3


  1. Of all the 14 blogs u've written so far, this is the best & my fav. Love how u incorporated classic Shakespeare literature of the doomed Romeo & Juliet into a story binding together with your gardening produce. U've created a story of how the rare red okra came about. Simply the best.