[THE BLOSSOM AND THE FRUIT]
[In the very first number of Lucifer, September 15, 1887, immediately following H.P.B.’s essay on “The History of a Planet,” appears the first installment of an occult story entitled “The Blossom and the Fruit.” Its sub-title was at first “A Tale of Love and Magic,” but was altered to “The True Story of a Magician,” as it had been found that another author had already used the former.
This remarkable story is from the pen of Mabel Collins (Mrs. Kenningale Cook) and is signed simply “M.C.” It is introduced with a brief Note by the author saying that:
“This strange story has come to me from a far country and was brought to me in a mysterious manner; I claim only to be the scribe and the editor. In this capacity, however, it is I who am answerable to the public and the critics. I therefore ask in advance, one favour only of the
reader; that he will accept (while reading this story) the theory of the reincarnation of souls as a living fact.”
Running into thirty-five chapters, this story appeared serially throughout the First and Second Volumes of Lucifer, being concluded in the issue of August, 1888.
According to the Preface, signed by “M.C.;” which was appended to this story when it was republished in book-form (New York: John W. Lovell Company, 1889, pp. 290), with a sub-title reading “A True Story of a Black Magician,” this occult tale “shows the struggles and mistakes of one who has been an adept in black magic, and who is endeavoring with great force, but very blindly, to reach towards the White Brotherhood and learn good instead of evil.” Fleta, the chief character of the story, who, in her earlier incarnation, had taken power selfishly into her own hands, became by virtue of that power a black magician, an individual who has attained knowledge, but uses it for selfish ends. In her present incarnation, she attempts to attract the companion of many of her past lives, in order to bring him directly under the influence of Ivan, a member of the White Brotherhood who is trying to help Fleta to find her way towards the true Path. As “M.C.” says: “Her aim is to begin the occultist’s great work of saving others, especially those whom she has formerly injured.... We see her falling back instinctively on her old rites and using her old powers. . .” Eventually, through soul-searching trials and terrible tests, she wins her freedom and finds once more the noble, selfless Path.
It is very likely, however, that this would not have taken place, as far as the story is concerned, had not H. P. B. stepped in and given another direction to the narrative, as Mabel Collins was beginning seriously to mislead the reader. In the words of H. P. B. herself:
“. . . . Fleta, the DUGPA-Queen in ‘The Blossom and the Fruit,’ . . . . would have been presented as a paragon of all the virtues of White Magic, had I not insisted that the heroine of the ‘Tale of Love and Magic’ should be exposed and shown to the readers of Lucifer in her true character, some of whom were sorely perplexed. . .”*
Beginning with Chapter XXX, in Lucifer, Vol. II, July, 1888, the story’s authorship is indicated as Mabel Collins and——,
* This statement occurs in a letter from H.P.B. to J. R. Bridge, written in reply to an attack on W. Q. Judge, in 1889. The original of it is in the Archives of the former Point Loma Theosophical Society.
which apparently marks the time when H.P.B.’s direct influence, and probably her penmanship played a decisive role in winding up the story, which was concluded in the August issue of the same year.
It would of course be impossible to determine in any ordinary manner how much of the last two instalments of this story is by H. P. B. herself, and therefore any reprinting of them in the present chronological Series is not feasible, especially as they would make no sense without the entire text of “The Blossom and the Fruit.”
We will therefore confine ourselves to the above succinct statement of facts, leaving it to the reader to acquaint himself, if he so wishes, with the fascinating narrative of this occult tale. —Compiler.]