A long, long time ago, when the world was covered by wild forests, and one could walk all the way from the Baltic coast to the Tatra mountains without taking a single step out of the delicious shade of the trees, at the banks of a river, which was to be later known as Vistula, in a small village lived three sisters. The first sister, who was a great baker, had raven black hair, dark as the night sky with no stars dazzling in it. The second sister, who was a skilful singer, had hair the colour of gold, reflecting the shades of cereal growing in the fields. The third sister, who was famous for weaving the most breath-taking gowns, had hair the colour of shining copper.

 

All three lived in peace and harmony. Their talents and beauty made the life of people living in the river village brighter. Everyone knew them and thought highly of them. The sisters loved throwing garden parties at their place, to which they would invite everyone living in the area. There was dancing and feasting until dawn. No one could resist the charms of the Apple Sisters – for that’s how they were called by the locals due to the large number of apple trees growing in their orchard.

 

As the years passed by the dancing and feasting lasted as did the beauty and the youth of the Apple Sisters. It was almost as if time stopped for them. People started talking. Everyone wanted to know the secret to the unfading youth of the three Sisters.

 

Another Summertime filled with fun and games was coming to an end. The equinox was approaching. A young blacksmith who lived in the village overheard the Sisters whispering during one of the final summer dances. ‘It’s time’ they were saying. ‘Time for what?’ thought the blacksmith, and decided to come at night to the forbidden part of the garden where only the Sisters were allowed. Unnoticed by anyone he followed down a path leading between the rich trees to finally reach a clearing. In the middle of it there was the largest and the most beautiful apple tree that he has ever seen in his life. Its long, thick branches were bowing down to the ground under the weight of juicy, green, apples of various shapes and sizes. The Apple Sisters were dancing around the tree, from time to time picking an apple, kissing it, and placing in the box standing by. The young blacksmith noticed they had already filled quite a few boxes that way. ‘The fruit are extremely handsome this year – our potions, drinks, and pies will be exceptionally powerful’ he heard them whisper.

 

Bewitched by the sight he crept closer to the tree and hid amidst its branches in hope to steal a kiss from one of the beautiful maidens and see for himself what power it holds. The Apple Sisters were enthralled in the dance and apple-picking and did not notice the young blacksmith. One after the other they leaned towards the tree, kissing the apples when suddenly… They kissed the lips of the young man. Startled by the unexpected kiss all three sisters blushed… as did the apples. The handsome, green apples suddenly turned red and were filled with exceptional sweetness.

 

The young blacksmith could not resist the enchanted fruit. He grabbed one of the boxes and tried to carry it out of the orchard but he tripped in the darkness. The sisters realized their secret has been found. They caught up with the intruder and pleaded with him not to tell anyone of what he saw in the gardens. He, however, would not listen. He managed to reach a few apples and picked them from the great apple tree, releasing himself from the grasp of the three sisters. He tried to run away but the branches of the apple tree wrapped themselves around him so tightly that he was unable to move. They held him in so firmly that, eventually, he disappeared among them.

 

This was how the young blacksmith got turned into an apple tree himself, taking the secret with him. The tree each year bears the sweetest fruit, red in the memory of the stolen kiss. And what became of the young , proud blacksmith? Years have passed and still he awaits his rescue, however, in vain as no one recognizes his begging arms in the branches reaching up towards the sun.

 

The legend has it that ever since that night the secret of the Three Apple Sisters got captured within the Polish apples. And so, orchardists settled around the Vistula river continue with the tradition – dancing, singing, and embracing their trees to make sure Polish apples are the tastiest. They say there is a grain of truth in every story. Is it so with this one? Well, it seems the answer to this question will remain a sweet secret. As what happens in the orchard stays in the orchard. Of course except ripe, delicious apples!