The Significance of the Peach in Greshami Culture
Consider the peach. It’s delicious. It’s covered in fine fuzz. It’s generally yellow and red or pink. Inside it, around a porous pit, is an edible and popular fruit-flesh that can be consumed raw, or cooked into pie and cobbler, and so on.
But to the Greshami, the peach is far more than a fruit. It’s even more than a way of life. To the Greshami, the peach is God.
From the dawn of Greshami culture as recorded in their history (which is written entirely on leather-tanned peach skins), the peach has been revered as the sole source of food for the Greshami people. Limited in trade by their isolation (until recently, see below), the Greshami developed over ages to subsist solely on the peach. Peaches, like potatoes, contain nearly every protein and mineral necessary for human development, with the exception of fatty acids, which the Greshami ingest in minimal portions from the fatty air that surrounds their region.
As the sole food, the peach has long been revered as their god. That they follow the peach harvest with the utmost solemnity is a given, but the more curious nature of the Greshami is how they’ve incorporated this godly fruit into the rest of their culture:
When the Greshami are born, they are taken from their mothers and immediately given a peach from which to suckle. That peach nectar is the always the first flavor to touch their lips, and in their last rites, it is administered again as they die in the same manner. Their mantra, recited each morning and night, and upon the onset of death, translates roughly as “From the Peach we came and to the Peach we go, for the Peach is life, and life is Peachy.”
The linguistics of the Greshami also show reverence for the fruit. “Hello” in Greshami is “ZnZni-Zni” which literally means “Peach be upon you.” This invocation is a blessing of good fortune. Goodbye is “HuHu-Ha” meaning “Parting is the pits,” also a benevolent though melancholy statement.
The peach pit itself is the currency of the Greshami. This has led to extreme class disparity, as those who have the most peaches to eat get the most pits from those peaches and can afford even more peaches. However, charity is also important to the Greshami, and a rich tribesman who ignored the hungry would be ostracized instantly and permanently. To deny a hungry person a peach, among the Greshami, is total anathema because it is to deny them access to God, a religious offense.
Greshami contact with the European world has been fairly problematic. They were first recorded into European history when explorer and ethnographer Richard F. Burton encountered them by chance when one of their peach peeling ceremonies spilled over into his camp. The Greshami run while peeling peaches so that the skin can be scattered and enrich the land. One boy, known only as Znizne (Peach eater) ran into Burton, who he led to the nearest encampment, a village known as Znu-Az-Zni (Peachville). Burton was given the ritual greeting peach, which he consumed on the spot, much to the pleasure of the Greshami. Unfortunately, Burton had no peaches of his own and was unable to reciprocate, leading the Greshami to consider European culture childish, as children were the only ones in their world who did not carry peaches (the concept of an “Adult” or “Child” does not actually exist in Greshami culture, there are simply those who have peaches and those who have yet to carry their own). As such, the Greshami are very kind to visiting Europeans, who they look down upon with a kind condescension. They are quite helpful to anyone they meet, giving them peaches and conferring upon them the blessing to the young or unfortunate, translated, “May you one day eat a peach so delicious that it blows your dick off.” Note that this is a wholly positive blessing to the Greshami.
The Greshami are a dwindling culture. The Orange-folk of the south and the northern Applemongers (both known to the Greshami as “GuZni” or “Non-Peach people” intermittently declare war on this peaceful tribe. According to Margaret Mead, “The Greshami are a pleasant folk, but a doomed folk. When they are attacked, they merely pelt their attackers with rotten peaches. Their birth rate is low, and they never accept outsiders to replenish their stock. I do not expect they shall live to see the 21st century, no, nor even the 1990s.”
The Greshami number only in the hundreds now, but they still thrive. And they have begun to explore the regions outside of their native land (Gresham in Atlanta, GA, near Melvin’s Used Appliance Sale and Repair). Recently they stumbled upon the local Wal-Mart SuperCenter and their access to its produce section has provided the “XiZni Unu” or “great Peach feast” weekly, when it was previously only celebrated each season. The manager of the aforementioned Wal-Mart has welcomed the Greshami and is currently learning their language:
“The Greshami language is beautiful. They don’t say “I Love You” in Greshami, they say “Znizi zi Zni, Xuzni Hu Zniznu” which means “Your company is as delicious to me as a peach,” and I think that’s beautiful.