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The Potatoes

"What is good, may come into favour in time," said Grandmother. "Remember the potato. It could tell if it could talk.

"The hardy potato was introduced into Europe from South America, but it took many years to make farmers accept it. Preachers told from their pulpits how tasty and useful the potato was. Even so, most people had hardly ever tasted it, even after the king himself had handed out potatoes to be put in the ground to sprout.

"Old King Fritz of Preussen spoke well of potatoes, he too. He gave a wagonful to one of the towns in his kingdom and used drummers to make people gather and listen. The town counsil was made to show the potatoes in the public square and read out how to sow and tend them, and how store and prepare them for meals. But people did not understand what was read up and bit into the raw potatoes. "Ouch, so bad they taste!" they said, throwing the potatoes in the gutter. There they remained. Not even stray dogs wanted them. Many citizens noticed that too.

"Some would nontheless try to sow and grow potatoes; they put them in the soil, one here and one there, and waited for potato trees to grow, like apple trees from apples. Others threw all their potatoes into one big pit. There the potato sprouts got tangled into one lump of many sprouts that stretched upwards together, but it without much success.

"Next year the king had to start fresh, but it it took much time to make people grow potatoes right.

"So people of Preussen did not appreciate the best root fruit we have got, they as we," said Grandmother. "But now, the potatoes do well. People have made out that they are valuable food. What is good, may come into favour in time."

I have often thought of Grandmother's words since, and of the potato that was so unappreciated for such a long time in this part of the world.




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