Matty and the magical apple tree
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Matty and the magical apple tree

Author

By Bradley Paulse

Illustrator

Illustrations by Natalie and Tamsin Hinrichsen

There was once a young woman named Matty. She lived on a small farm, where the soil was hard and the work was tough. But Matty was no ordinary farmer. With determination she toiled under the hot sun to grow enough vegetables to sell at the bustling market nearby.

When her crops were ready, and she had more than enough to share, Matty packed her basket and headed to the market, her cheeks glowing with excitement. “Today I will sell all these vegetables and maybe get a treat for myself,” she said.

    

 

                                                         

 

You see, Matty’s favourite treat awaited her at the market. It was apples – big, juicy, delicious apples. She couldn’t resist their tempting sweetness. They were her reward for all her hard work.

At the fruit stall, Matty met a friendly old lady, her cheeks rosy like ripe apples. Her eyes twinkled as she watched Matty admire the colourful fruit.

Matty’s thoughts danced around as she pondered which apples to buy for her next baking adventure. “Red apples, delicious for a cake,” Matty said aloud as she picked up a red apple. “And maybe some Granny Smith apples for a pie, and a few Honey Crisp apples for muffins. And definitely some Golden Delicious apples for a warm apple crumble.” As she named each apple, Matty added them to her basket.

The old lady chuckled. She reached out and handed Matty a golden apple. “Anyone who loves apples this much, deserves a special treat. Here you go, take this special apple. It will always bring you joy,” the old lady said.

“Thank you very much,” Matty said gratefully. The golden apple was bigger and more beautiful than any apple she had ever seen. She couldn’t wait to get home and try it.

As the sun dipped behind the hills, Matty returned to her farm. She carefully sorted and cleaned all the apples, humming happily as she worked. She would bake all the delicious treats she had thought of, but she saved the special golden apple as a treat to eat.

Once Matty had sorted and cleaned all the apples, she picked up the special golden apple. “Now for my treat,” she said. But as she was about to take a bite, a tiny head poked out of a hole in the apple.

“Don’t eat me!” a worm squeaked.

Matty dropped the apple in surprise. “What in the world?” she gasped.

The worm wriggled out, his eyes wide and apologetic. “I’m sorry for nibbling your apple, but it was so tasty!” he said.

Matty couldn’t decide if she should be angry or not. The old lady had said the apple would always bring her joy, but now she wasn’t so sure.

Eventually Matty sighed and said, “Little worm, you are lucky I’m in a good mood today. Let me bury your apple in my backyard so that you can eat it in peace, away from the birds.”

As Matty placed the apple in the hole she had made in the ground, the worm said, “Goodbye, Matty. I promise to repay you for your kindness.” Matty waved goodbye and returned to her baking.

The next morning, as the first rays of the sun painted the sky, Matty’s eyes opened to the sweetest scent she had ever smelled. She rushed outside and her jaw dropped in astonishment. Right before her eyes stood a gigantic apple tree, its branches heavy with the most magnificent apples she had ever seen.

 

                        

 

Matty danced around the tree, her laughter mingling with the songs of birds. She picked the apples, one by one, marvelling at the miracle that had taken place overnight.

That evening, Matty returned to the tree, placing a freshly baked muffin at its roots. “Thank you,” she whispered. “The old lady was right after all because this tree will indeed always bring me joy!”

Get story active!

  • What is your favourite fruit? Draw a picture of it. Underneath your drawing, write the sentence, “My favourite fruit is …” You can ask someone to help you write your sentence.
  • Make a list of all the things you can make using your favourite fruit. It can be something you bake or cook, a juice or a cold pudding.
  • Think about the smell, taste, shape and colour of an apple or any other fruit. Think about the sound that it makes when you bite it. Now write a poem about the fruit.