As true now as it was then ...
Thanks to Denis
In the last century, the islanders were starving. Like our neighbours today, they were scratching a bare subsistence from sheep and sea. Then in 1868, my grandfather bought this barren island and began to change things. A distinguished Victorian scientist, agronomist, freethinker. ... What attracted my grandfather to the island, apart from the profuse source of wiry labour that it promised, was the unique combination of volcanic soil and the warm gulf stream that surrounded it. You see, his experiments had led him to believe that it was possible to induce here the successful growth of certain new strains of fruit that he’d developed. So, with typical mid-Victorian zeal, he set to work.
The best way of accomplishing this – so it seemed to him – was to rouse the people from their apathy by giving them back their joyous old gods. And that as a result of this worship, the barren island would burgeon and bring forth fruit in great abundance. What he did, of course, was to develop new cultivars of hardy fruit suited to local conditions.
Well, of course, to begin with they worked for him because he fed and clothed them, but later when the trees started fruiting, it became a very different matter, and the ministers fled the island, never to return. What my grandfather had started out of expediency, my father continued out of love. He brought me up the same way: to reverence the music and the drama and the rituals of the old gods; to love nature, and to fear it – and to rely on it and to appease it where necessary.
Your crops failed because your strains failed. Fruit is not meant to be grown on these islands – it’s against nature. Well don’t you see that killing me is not going to bring back your apples? Summerisle, you know it won’t. ... Don’t you understand that if your crops fail this year, next year you’re going to have to have another blood sacrifice. And next year, no-one less than the king of Summerisle himself will do. When the crops fail, Summerisle, next year your people will kill you on May Day.