Something miraculous had occurred in Algy’s assistants’ garden. It happened once a year – and only once – and each time it delighted Algy as though it had never happened before. He perched among the blossoms and watched the bumblebees buzzing around each flower, while the newly arrived warblers flitted about among the branches of the other trees which had not even got their spring leaves yet. As Algy buried his beak in the beautiful white blossoms, he remembered a haiku by Issa:

the cure for
this raucous world…
late cherry blossoms

sawagashiki yo wo oshi haratte oso-zakura

[Algy is quoting a haiku by the 18th century Japanese master Kobayashi Issa in a translation by David G. Lanoue.]


It was apple blossom time and Algy was in high spirits. The blossom was so beautiful, and all around him there were bees buzzing from flower to flower, helping to make plenty of apples for him to eat in the autumn. No wonder he was happy! So he sang them an old popular song, which first made the “hit parade” nearly 100 years ago: I’ll be with you in apple blossom time …

[This song has been recorded many times over the years, but was especially popular in the mid-20th century. If you don’t know the song, try listening to one of these recordings: Jo Stafford with Nat King Cole on piano in 1946, Elliot Lawrence and his Orchestra also in 1946, or from 1941, The Andrews Sisters, who recorded the song several times. And here is one of the very earliest recordings, by Charles Harrison in 1920.]