When I was a child, maybe 9 years old, my little sister came home from visiting family (we have different dads) with a story that got both of us wondering. Is there a teeny, tiny fork and knife inside a peach seed?
An older adult told her this tale, which sparked a curiosity and wonder about the world that seemed fantastical. However, I knew better. I was a very wise 9-year-old, and I generously shared my wisdom with my younger sister.
“There is no way that is true,” I said. In the back of my mind, however, I wondered, “What if it was true after all?”
I gave in and told her we would break it open just to see that I am right, and because I wanted to satisfy my curiosity, but I didn’t tell her that part.
We sunk our teeth into several juicy peaches to make sure we had plenty of seeds for a thorough investigation. After cleaning and drying the seeds, we gathered every type of tool you could imagine; hammer, nails, knives, forks, chainsaw (OK, not really a chainsaw), but I wouldn’t have put it past the younger me to try it.
On the concrete steps leading to our backyard, we set to work. We pounded. We dug. We grumbled. We dug some more. Finally, we were tired and had gotten nowhere. This little peach seed was impenetrable.
“Well, maybe we aren’t supposed to get inside of it,” my little sister chimed. She was only 5; she lacked the wisdom I had.
“Perhaps you are right,” I responded just to release her so I could concentrate on my own. I would conquer this little peach seed, satisfy my curiosity and either be a hero to my little sister or prove to her that I am always right. Either way, it was a win-win for me.
That evening, after everyone was nestled in bed, I set to work again. I sawed (with a butter knife), tried to pry with a hammer, worked to shimmy forks and steak knives into the seam of the little seed.
I picked up the seed, held it close to my eyes to examine it when I heard a noise. I gave it a little shake. I heard a little rattle from inside the seed. Something was in there and I had jostled it loose!
As I shook the seed, I imagined a teeny, tiny fork and knife tumbling around inside.
The next morning, I announced to my sister that there was in fact a teeny, tiny fork and knife inside. I held the seed to her ear and shook it. Her eyes grew wide with excitement when she heard the little rattle. Working to maintain my “wise older sister” title, I told her another tale.
“I conducted some research (internet did not exist back then, but she didn’t know I didn’t really research anything) and apparently there is a tiny fork and knife inside of peach seeds, but we can’t open it. There is a very tight seal around the edge to keep it from popping open and to keep air from getting inside. If air gets inside, they will evaporate. No one has ever seen them.”
She took the seed and shook it. I could see she was thinking about what I said. Then, I could see her face settle. I had her. She totally believed me.
Then, she dropped the seed and ran off. “Oh well, who cares?” she said. She may be a wiser 5-year-old than I thought.
Years later, I happened across a peach seed that was broken open. As expected, there was not a utensil of any kind inside because they had already evaporated.
However, there was something. I encourage you to discover this for yourself.
Jennifer Watson is a Herald correspondent.