The Iris Sellers

“And that’s how I keep them alive, beneath the oak trees, in the sweet limestone soils and this hot weather”, Fungi’s finger was held tightly by his grandson whom he brought to his workplace for the first time, “Phylloxera didn’t engulf them, and nor did the wars, they’re right here in front of you”, he muttered and with a sigh, looked at Mag, “Happy Birthday, its ninth of October again!”

Those majestic English oak trees had long thin and thick branches, all stacked longitudinally to the tree trunk and birdhouses swinging in the blush of early morning winds. While Mag’s eyes experienced this raw gift, he kept mumbling his call upon his grandpa and finally hugged him, “Thank you so much, Pa! You..but you didn’t tell me a story in the night, we weren’t supposed to talk.”  Fungi held his shoulders and then let Mag’s head shake by pulling on to his chubby cheeks, “I will tell you a story”, he said with gritted teeth and lifted Magnatum up in arms. As Fungi’s stormy laughter began to echo down the tuberous roots of trees, Magnatum’s legs started to joggle wildly and tears rolled down his cheeks, “I miss Mommy! Mommy Terfezia..Anh ! Mommy Terf—”, he began to cry even louder. Fungi shushed him, “I’ve told you so many times not to cry, your tears heal their eye diseases! Come on, I won’t lock you up at home, I’m taking you somewhere else, look!” Magnatum began to sense that he was being brought down the place he was just before, he got down and saw his father’s pantry, “Where have the trees and stones gone?”

“Patience little kid, your Pa isn’t bad”, Fungi made himself busy in some work.

“You want to be in the Quercus area? Alright! Climb up there!”

“What’s Quercus now?”

“Quercus? Umm… Like you’re Tuber’s Mag, all these oak trees belong to Quercus”

“Oh, so Quercus is the queen of oak trees.”

“You can say but the real one is Queen Plantae“

“But Papa, what’s the name for the kind of princes and princesses Quercus has above?”

“They’re called as ‘Robur’. Go now!”

“Pa, I would like to tell you something”, Fungi was used to this sudden seriousness of his grandson. “I came without having breakfast, but why would you care! You’re a cruel king. You’re coprophilous!”

“Don’t abuse your grandfather!” “What’s abusive in this? Huh. You do grow on dung, you are a coprophile!” Magnatum climbed up the stairs and sat with his head down on a stone.

Magnatum’s so different, his brother was such an understanding and mature spirit, Fungi thought as he made onions sweat in the angry olive oil. They were French people, oil had to be flavourless and so he added some terfez to it.

Tuber’s Magnatum was now roaming in the Quercus area and noticed that few trees even had huge honeycombs. Some noise returned him from his thoughts to the same place where he saw people now. Some sitting on big stones surrounding a rock and others watering the grapevines that climbed up the oak trees meanwhile circumscribing their seating area.

“What must be the word for this beautiful place, ask Pa? No!”, Tuber thought and went towards an elderly lady and inquired for the same as she smiled at the white boy and said, “This is the Vitisarea.”

“Oh, because people visit this place!”

“No, the plants that I’m taking care of are grafts from hybrid varieties of Vitis to European vines..ah!

You won’t get this.”

“I get simple things”, Magnatum stretched the right side of his lip and began to walk away.

“Simple things like?”, the lady enquired.

“Like I’m a kid, so you could’ve said that some insects used to visit the leaves of this plant, lay eggs over there and this killed the vines. So you made other species visit, combined them and propagated grapevines this way”, Mag’s volume lowered.

“And because of those insects, my siblings too died”, Tuber Magnatum said with tears dripping down his neck.

“Hey, you’re a white truffle, come along! sit with us”, the crowd made him sit on the table, knives made pieces of him fall into ziplock pouches and white truffle pasta was cooked in the flavorless oil.

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