The Garden of Health

“You shall not enter alive,” shouted Death, brandishing her scythe.

“Oh, yes, he will, if he is quick,” said Life provoked. “Do not meddle with this boy who is mine for many
years.”

“We shall see now.”

Enrique jumped over the threshold of the garden gate and Death dealt him a terrible blow with her scythe, which would have deprived him of existence if at that moment Life had not made him smell the apple which she held in her hand and which quite cured him.

So Enrique passed between Life and Death into the Garden of Health and once inside commenced his quest in order to see if he could find the famous ivy which was to cure his little sister. It was difficult to find it among so many and such different plants as filled that beautiful garden where was medicine for every illness; but Enrique was resolved to find it, and passed through, one after another, the avenues of trees which crossed the park of health in all directions.

“I am the Red Celery, that cures all chest diseases,” said a highly coloured celery plant bowing to Enrique.

“And I am the Spanish Onion, that cures the kidneys.”

“And I am the Valerian, that cures the nerves.”

“And I this, and I the other,” cried the other plants and trees.

“That’s enough!” shouted Enrique, “otherwise you will drive me mad.”

“I cure madness,” cried a shrub from the bottom of the garden.

“What I want is the Blue Ivy,” exclaimed the boy.

“Here I am,” cried the plant alluded to, “but I am kept closely guarded.”

Enrique searched everywhere, without ascertaining where the precious plant was, but he always seemed to hear the noise in different places.

The trees laughed at Enrique’s despair.

“And who keeps you so hidden?” said Enrique, stopping still for a moment.

“Death hides me in order that you may not find me. You have passed near and have not seen me. Your sister will die if you cannot find me.”

Enrique now did not know what to do, until he presently remembered his ring.

“Ring of Agrajes, I want to see the Blue Ivy,” he exclaimed.

Instantly he saw, within reach of his hand, a lovely ivy that, clinging to an oak, displayed beautiful leaves to the winds.

“Do not cut me now,” cried the Ivy, “because your sister is going to die, and you will not arrive in time. Death is now close to her bedside.”

“Ring of Agrajes,” exclaimed Enrique at once, “bring Death to me tied up.”

Hardly had he finished saying it than Death appeared quite dishevelled, without her scythe, her elbows tied together like a criminal. All the health-giving plants began to applaud.

“Bravo, bravo!” they cried.

“Don’t spare her; she is our enemy!” shouted some.

“Don’t let her go, and the world will be grateful to you!” said others.

“What have you done to my sister?” said Enrique, angrily.

“Nothing yet, but as soon as you let me go you will see,” answered Death.

“Well, if you wait until you are free before killing her, my little sister will die of old age. Ring, give this shameful woman a thrashing.”

Immediately a number of sticks came through the air and commenced to bestow a fine thrashing upon Death.

From Fairy Tales from Spain, by J. Muñoz Escamez.
London: J. M. Dent and Sons limited. New York: E. P. Dutton and Company, 1913.

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