Frustrated mother 'creates' fruit with a thousand eyes

PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 19 September, 2011, 12:00am


Maria walked slowly along the hot dusty track, her head bowed low under her old straw hat. She had worked a double shift of 14 hours in the fruit plantation, and now was almost dropping with exhaustion.

Last night, she had been very angry with Pina for not doing her household chores during the day. What was wrong with the girl? Maria was a patient person, but recently her daughter's laziness had pushed her to breaking point.

Since her husband had died, Maria had relied on Pina more and more to help run the house. But Pina always came up with excuses for not doing what her mother asked her to do.

Supper was never ready when Maria got home because Pina had not seen the meat and vegetables that had been left on the table.

The floor had not been swept because Pina hadn't seen the broom propped up in the kitchen. Dirty linen had not been washed because Pina had not seen the soap by the sink.

Pina took no notice when her mother lost her temper. She just stood there smiling. She always enjoyed her days sitting in the sunshine, and her mother's shouting and screaming couldn't take that away.

This evening was going to be different. Maria had made up her mind not to lose her temper with Pina, but to sit down quietly and talk calmly. Maria had asked Pina to patch up holes in some old dresses. They couldn't afford new clothes. Surely this small task wasn't too much for Pina.

When Maria finally arrived home, Pina was sitting on the steps in front of the house doing nothing.

'Good evening, dear! Did you mend the dresses I left on the chair this morning?'

'But Mother! I didn't see a needle or any thread. How could I mend the dresses if I didn't see a needle and thread?'

Maria's temper flared, and she began to shout at the top of her voice.

'You never see anything! This is too much, Pina! May you grow a thousand eyes, then you will see what I need you to see! I have had enough of you!'

Running up the steps, Maria rushed into the house to give herself time to calm down. Several minutes passed before she came back out onto the steps. Pina was no longer there.

Maria and her neighbours spent the evening looking everywhere for the girl, but she was nowhere to be found. The next few days they searched every corner of the plantation, but without success. Pina had vanished into thin air.

One day, a few weeks after Pina's disappearance, Maria was sweeping the front of the house when she suddenly saw a strange fruit about the size of a girl's head growing by the bottom step.

Looking closer, she saw that the fruit was covered with a thousand eyes. For an instant, Maria thought she saw Pina's face on the front of the fruit. She screamed in horror as she realised what had happened to her daughter, and then fell to the ground as everything became black.

Later, Maria gathered seeds from the fruit and planted them in the plantation. In memory of Pina, she called this delicious new fruit a 'pineapple'.

She sold so many pineapples after the first harvest that she had enough money to buy the whole plantation and fill it with her very special fruit with the thousand eyes.


1 Why was Maria so frustrated with her daughter?

2 What was Pina's usual excuse for not doing jobs around the house?

3 How did Maria react when she found Pina had not mended the dresses?

4 What happened to Pina that night?

5 What did Maria discover sometime later?

6 How is Pina remembered?


1 Because she was very lazy and would not help her mother with the housework.

2 She always said she couldn't find what was needed so there was no way to do the job.


3 She lost her temper and wished that Pina had a thousand eyes.

4 She vanished into thin air.

5 Maria found a strange fruit growing in the spot where Pina had been last seen.

6 The girl is remembered in the word 'pineapple'.