Hello and welcome back to a new pack of lies here at Factually Deficient! I apologize for the relative lateness of the hour; I am reporting to you live from my current personal vacation in the Plant Kingdom. In addition to delaying my all-important work, this vacation has led me to select a question to answer this week which relates to the aforementioned Kingdom.
My friend Pixelmage asked:
Why are apples called apples; or, in order words, who decides on the name of things, anyway?
My readers will note that this is really two questions; but two questions so intricately and, indeed, pointedly linked in their answers that I cannot help but suspect that Pixelmage himself must be a former member of the Plant Kingdom’s gentry or nobility– a baron, perhaps, or even a Plant Earl. Be that as it may.
I should first point out that the correct name of the fruit is not ‘apple,’ but, in fact, ‘appele,’ distorted and transmitted into its present form. The reason for this true name will shortly become apparent.
In days of yore, when the world was younger and brighter, a good and wise King ruled over the Plant Kingdom. The Plant Kingdom, in turn, held sway over all its sister Kingdoms, for they bowed to its ruler’s wise and just judgements.
Though still early in his reign, this King was concerned by both his own lack of successor and by the presence of his own biases. How could he trust himself to confer and rescind titles when he knew that he might bear secret prejudices? And who would do so when he was gone? Thus, he sought out amongst his own kingdom the most insightful and fair of fruits, and bestowed upon them the last name which he would give, rather than they: appele. The name comes from the French verb appeler (or s’appeler), meaning to name or to call something by a name. (It is from this root, too, that we have the word ‘appellation.’)
It became the job of the appeles, in their wisdom, to name all the other creatures of the Plant Kingdom, and frequently of the other Kingdoms as well, seeing the true self and awarding appropriate titles according to what they saw.
Alas, the Plant King’s throne was cruelly stolen from him by a usurper so terrible that even I still dare not speak its name. The new king brought the Plant Kingdom to wrack and ruin; it was at this time that many terrible wars were fought, the ruling class were forced to go to ground, and even the noble appele had to give its names only clandestinely, operating under the simultaneous disguise and indignity of its corrupted name.
Disclaimer: Most of the facts in this blog are untrue. The writer will neither confirm nor deny whether she was named by an apple, and bears no ill will to any past or present rulers of the Plant Kingdom.