A Makhshef – a demon, a sorcerer and creature of chaos – looked into a mirror and saw a King, desperate for a child. The King had journeyed far to find the magical pomegranate tree, planted by Elijah, and pluck its healing fruit. Filled with jealousy, the Makhshef threw a curse at the King, turning his flesh and blood to stone and the fruit he reached for into something else entirely.
Upon a hill there is a tree with two sides. One side is lush and laden with fruit but the other – it’s withered branches bear hard, shining rubies. Each hanging stone contains a soul – a child that would have been – trapped forever in its gleaming red heart.
This haunting story has been preserved in Jewish tradition for centuries, carrying echoes of Rapunzel, Snow White and the Twelve Brothers.
Our tales may travel, but the themes within them cross cultures, and wherever they go, they speak to us of our longings and failings, the hopes of generations yet to be born, and the triumph of the human spirit.