The townsfolk used to say "Puddlesmere is not one for fresh produce." And they were right. There were only a few crops that grew in or near their small town, and those were fresh and plentiful most of the year, but the townspeople craved for the fruits that they themselves could not grow.
The ground was rocky and hard, and tucked between mountains. Fruit sellers didn't go over the mountains very often, only a few times a year, because their hefty wagons were hard to manage on the mountainous terrains.
When the townspeople got their hands on fruits and vegetables of all sorts, they bought as much as they could, and out of those they bought most were pickled, preserved, jellied, dried, and saved in any sort of way for the times between fruit sellers.
There were other merchants and peddlers with other merchandise, but they weren't s nearly anticipated as fruit sellers, which came much less often.
The townspeople were a bit rowdy recently, since it was near the time that their faithful old fruit seller Beonvi would make his way over the mountain.
Benovi was a thickly built old man, with wise age-lines lining his face. He always had a smile on his face, and gave an apple to each child, without asking for payment. That was just the way he was. Some had said he seemed too old to be hiking up the mountains every year, but he just waved his hand and smiled the very thought away.
"I'm not going to quit what I love the most. I'm going to keep on doing this as long as I can, then I'll rest." He always told them. He was a great storyteller too, and at nights, he wove tales of dashing heroes and mean villains, dainty princesses and fiery dragons, of common folks becoming legends, and of how simple virtues had their rewards.
One of the young men in Puddlesmere, Gilbert, remembered the old fruit seller. Even though Benovi only stayed for a week at a time, maybe once every two months, Gilbert remembered him very well.
"Here you go little one."
Gilbert looked in amazement at the red fruit that Benovi held out to him. He took it in his hands and smiled. It was pretty, nice and shiny, even though a little bruised. The old man smiled at him. "That's yours boy." He said, answering what Gilbert was thinking.
Gilbert remembered what his grandfather had told him in one of his lectures. "Thank you!" He said. Benovi just kept smiling. Gilbert looked back to where his little brother was sitting under a tree just a little ways farther. "West!" Gilbert said, running towards his brother, and plopped down beside him.
"Look!" Gilbert said, holding up the red apple. "An apple?" Ludwig asked incredulously. "Yup!" Gilbert affirmed. He took out his pocket knife he had got back *coughcoughstolebackcoughcough* from his grandfather.
He cut the apple in half, the crisp white insides showing. The knife slipped a little, making one side a little bigger than the other. Gilbert held the larger side out to Ludwig. "Here!" He said. Ludwig's blue eyes widened, but he took the apple half.
Gilbert bit into his part showing Ludwig that the apple was good to eat. Ludwig took a hesitant bite, and smiled. He grinned at his brother and giggled. "Thank you!" Gilbert beamed back. He felt a light tap on his shoulder, and a small bag fell into his lap.
He turned to look behind him and saw Benovi. "Those are for you boy." He said, winked and began walking back towards the town again. Gilbert was confused, but opened the bag anyways. Inside were even more fruit; another shiny red apple, a sharp smelling orange, and a few of something Gilbert had not seen before, but had been told about, mangoes.
He stood up and turned to where Benovi was already pretty far away. Gilbert cupped his hands around his mouth and yelled. "Thank you!"
After that, Gilbert and Benovi had plenty of good times, exchanging stories, although Benovi's were a mixture of folktales picked up along the course of his life, stories passed down from his grandparents, or adventures that he or his father had once been on, and Gilbert's tales were all thought up of on the spot, and then added to his collection.
Gilbert had to say he couldn't wait to see Benovi again. He waited half way up the mountain on the side Benovi came in on, like he did every time Benovi was expected. He waited for a few hours before he saw someone come out through the trees on the top of the mountain. Gilbert smiled as he recognized Benovi, carrying a large basket on his back, but someone else came out behind him. A girl, from what he could see, with (Hair length) (Hair color) hair, also carrying a large basket on her back, helping Benovi down the mountain.
He was a little confused, but got up and walked up the mountain to help, as was his tradition with Benovi. He was almost to them, and they hadn't seemed to notice him yet. "Come on (Name), its right down there, that's Puddlesmere!" Gilbert heard Benovi's jovial voice.
"So that's the town you love so much!" That voice was much more feminine. Gilbert finally came into sight of the two basket-laden travelers, and Benovi called out to him. "Gilbert, there you are my boy!" He laughed. "Boy you've grown, and what's it been, three months?"
Gilbert laughed with him. "A bit more than that, you couldn't get through this winter, so it would be more like five. You should see Ludwig. The brat shot up like a weed."
"Oh, Gilbert, be nice about your brother." Benovi laughed heartily. "Gilbert, this is my niece (Name). (Name) this Gilbert." Gilbert looked behind Benovi to see the girl. She was much more curvy looking at this close range, and frankly very attractive.
Gilbert smiled and held out his hand. "Hallo, (Name)." She took his hand a gave it a good shake. "I've heard so much about you Gilbert. Uncle Benovi seems to have so many stories about you!"
Gilbert raised an eyebrow and shot a jokingly accusing look at the old man. "Oh really, now?" "Come on, let's get down this mountain, we don't have all day!" He changed the subject quickly and (Name) and Gilbert both laughed.
Once they reached the town, Benovi and his niece were greeted warmly, and Benovi started to sell the fruits he had brought, and told (Name) to go off and enjoy herself. "You don't have to help this old man sell fruit. Go have fun while we're here."
Gilbert took (Name)'s hand and led her through the town square. "I'm not sure what you'd want to do, there's not much going on at the moment, but later tonight there's a big dance, if you'd like to go."
(Name) blushed and nodded. "Y-Yes, I'd like that." Gilbert was suddenly aware that he was holding her hand, but didn't pull away. He took her to the river.
"If it was clearer out we'd be able to see the fish better, but you can still see them now." Gilbert told her. (Name) looked down into the water. "There's one! And another! And a bunch of little tiny ones!". "Those are minnows." Gilbert elaborated.
He pointed to the reeds across from them. "If you look at the bottom of the reeds, there's a frog hiding." Almost as if it was aware its location had been given out, the frog jumped out of the reeds and into the middle of the river.
(Name) laughed at the frog. When she looked to Gilbert, she saw he was taking his socks and shoes off. "What are you doing?" She asked. "Don't ask, just do!" He said, smiling. "Take off your socks and shoes."
She did as he said, and they both stood on the banks of the river barefoot. "Now what?" She asked. He grinned mischievously and jumped the short way into the river, pulling her after. She screamed shortly. They only jumped about a foot downwards, and the water was only about six inches deep.
"Now, keep your feet still." Gilbert instructed. (Name) nodded and did so, watching her feet. A few minnows shied their way closer to her toes, and they started to brush against her. She tried not to giggle, in case she'd scare them off.
Gilbert smiled at her, and she returned the grin equally, and Gilbert felt his heart skip.
After drying their feet and putting their socks and shoes on, they went back to town, where the dance was starting. The first song was being played as they got to the square, and they watched a few couples dancing around. The dance stopped, and the next tune's first notes struck up.
Gilbert bent over in a dramatic way. "Milady, will-eth thou-eth dance-eth with-eth the awesome-eth me-eth?" He held out his hand for her.
(Name) giggled, and accepted his hand, and took her out to the center of the square, and began twirling her around to the notes of the song, and they danced around the square, laughing and smiling happily.
The last of the song finished, and Gilbert mock bowed to (Name). "I thank thee, thine lady."
"-eth." (Name) added, and they laughed as they ran out of the center of the square, and they took to mingling at the outer ring. "I had fun Gilbert." (Name) said as the dance was winding down in its last throws.
"I had fun too." Gilbert said. 'And I don't want it to stop' he added mentally.
(Name) leaned in and kissed Gilbert's cheek. "G'night Gilbert."
Gilbert smiled devilishly. "You missed."
He swept in and kissed her lips, wrapping his arms around her waist. She relaxed and put her arms around his neck.
As they parted Gilbert smiled. "Much better aim that time."
Benovi watched from a distance, crying almost dramatically. "My little girl is growing up…"