A long time ago, there was a vegetable by the name of Mellimelon. She was sweet as nectar, fragrant as a rose, and beautiful as a lotus. Her skin was soft, smooth and shining. All the vegetables admired her. But her vanity knew no bounds. She coveted the sugary juice and vibrant colours of the fruits, for she desired to be hailed as the loveliest in both the kingdoms of Vegos and Frutos.
Mellimelon lost sleep thinking of the ways to fulfil her ambition. But she couldn’t find any. Until one restless dawn, she remembered the infamous Wizard of Lohica. He was rumoured to have destroyed all who sought his help. Still, Mellimelon decided to visit him.
That day, she ventured into the deepest heart of the forest. By dusk, she stood before the wizard’s hut.
She was about to knock when the door sprang open.
“You’re slow!” said the wizard, seated next to a boiling cauldron.
“You knew I’m coming?” Mellimelon asked, clutching her frock.
“Your desire is so strong even the wind suspects it. But don’t you fear meeting the same fate as the ones before you?”
“I’m unlike others!”
The wizard roared with laughter.
“Yes, indeed! You’re unlike none. Others are contented with what they have. They don’t take what isn’t theirs.”
“But if there’s a way, why shouldn’t I take what’s not mine?”
“Why not, indeed!”
The wizard fell silent. He disappeared into a room and came back with a glass jar and a lodestone. He peered at Mellimelon and said, “It’s never right to take what isn’t yours. There’re always consequences to be paid.”
But Mellimelon turned a deaf ear to his words and gawped at the magical objects in his hands.
“Place this lodestone on the fruits whose features you crave and it’ll distil them. Collect everything inside this jar. Go to a pond before sunrise, without looking at your reflection. I repeat, don’t look at your reflection. Then open the jar and drink till no drop remains. And all the essences will be yours.” The Wizard handed the jar and the lodestone to Mellimelon.
That night, not a single fruit in the kingdom of Frutos was spared by Mellimelon. She made sure to squeeze all their colours and their sweetness. When the jar was full, she looked at the sky and smiled. The moon was still up; its silver beam shone on the water.
She headed towards the pond and settled on the bank. While opening the jar, her vanity overcame the wizard’s words. She stole one final glance at her beauty, only to see knobs all over her soft body and ridges running over her smooth skin. She screamed and wriggled, knocking the jar down and spilling all the stolen contents into the glimmering waters.
In a single night, Mellimelon – the sweetest, the loveliest, and the most fragrant vegetable in the Kingdom of Vegos – had turned pungent, pallid and puckered. And to this very day, she goes by the name of Bittermelon.
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