PostHeaderIcon The custard seed


He was only six years of age, but already he had that instinct to grow things. He had learned from his great-uncle how you planted, nurtured and produced.

So when he had enquired of his mother as to the lumps in the custard, and she had replied that they were ‘custard seeds’, he had the urge to plant some and produce more, he being so fond of custard and always wanting more.

He saved his lumps instead of swallowing them, and duly planted them in a choice spot in their large allotment. He had already tilled the soil and mixed in some cow manure, which was plentiful in this rural district. Then he waited, each day looking, resisting the urge to sift a little of the black dirt to see if anything was happening.

The casual observer could have seen that he always came away from the plot a little disappointed. Maybe custard seeds needed different conditions...should he have watered so much? Should they be planted deeper...or shallower? Quite some time passed, but he never gave up looking.

Then it happened. The tiny green shoot appeared, forcing its way out of the earth. Eureka! A custard plant! He ran to tell his mother who gasped in wonderment. The smile never left his face. And day by day, the shoot grew. First two leaves, then another two, then more as it grew taller. Finally, it became a small tree that lost its leaves in the winter. He was aghast...but delighted when the new shoots appeared up the branches. Wonderful! Then buds burst forth...custard buds! He could hardly wait for the time when delicious custard fruit would appear. His mother could not enlighten him; she had not seen a custard tree before. He would just have to wait and see.

The flowers emerged and tiny fruit followed. Small green orbs became larger green fruit, and his suspicions began. They looked familiar somehow, but no-one seemed to know what they were. In time, with the warm weather and the rosy bloom on the skin, together with the sweetness of the aroma on the air, it became apparent that he had a crop of good peaches! Fine, pink cheeked peaches! His mother was pleased indeed to have such lovely fruit in her back yard.

And I suppose he was pleased also, in a way. The penny dropped at last that he had been duped, kindly no doubt, but duped he had been. But he had the last laugh when he assumed possession of the peach tree, which bore delicious fruit for many years, all of them belonging to him and referred to as the ‘custard peaches.’