There is a legend in Connecticut about a 17th-century farmer by the name of Micah Rood, who purportedly murdered a traveling salesman, the body being found the next day beneath an apple tree on Mr. Rood’s property. Mr. Rood denied that he killed the man. The following story appeared in The New York Times on December 23, 1888:
MICAH ROOD’S CURSE
THE APPLES WITH THE BLOOD-RED HEARTS
NEW-HAVEN, DEC. 22.–The advent of a quantity of “bloody-heart” apples into the Windham markets from the back country town of Franklin has resulted in the unearthing of an eerie tradition about this singular fruit, which has founds its way into print.
They are called the “Micah Rood apples,” and are of a delicious flavor, snowy interior, and cherry-red skin. In every one there is a large red globule near the heart of the fruit resembling a drop of blood. This peculiarity has been made the subject of investigation, but no theory accounts for it as plausibly as the tradition of “Micah Rood’s curse.”
Micah Rood was a prosperous farmer at Franklin in 1693. He was avaricious, but finally became indolent, spending his time in dreaming over coveted wealth. One day a peddler, who carried a pack filled with valuable jewelry, passed his house. His dead body was found the next day beneath an apple tree on Micah’s farm, where the latter was wont to sit. The skull was split open and the man’s pack was rifled. Rood stoutly denied any knowledge of the crime, and although suspicion attached itself to him nothing was proven against him. He became morose and moody and never prospered afterward.
People wagged their heads when, on the Autumn following the murder, Rood’s apple tree commenced to bear the “bloody-heart” apples. They said it was a silent judgment upon him and that the dying peddler’s curse upon the head of his destroyer had come home to roost upon Rood’s apple tree. Nothing like the apples had ever been seen before. Either the apples or the suspicion wore the life out of Rood, for he died soon after they appeared.
Ever since then the tree has lived, but it has almost ceased to bear the strange apples. It is the fruit from other trees grafted from the original stock that revives the story to-day.
Strange tale, huh? I can’t imagine biting into an apple and finding a “red globule” in the middle. Reports indicate that the tree in question was destroyed by the great New England Hurricane of 1938.
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