In bliss were Arius and Arpi. They would walk hand in hand in the charming nature of Ararat, run along the valleys, bathe in its mountain streams. With bright youthful love, they would love each other. Their love was tender like a marshmallow, stormy like a hurricane, warm like the sun, pure like water, and impassive like heaven.
They did not feel their nakedness, however. They were afraid to look into each other’s eyes, they were afraid to even touch each other. They were ethereal beings in the eyes of one another that could suddenly evaporate and disappear irrevocably. And with great fear, they kept each other.
Goddess Astghik admired their love and patronized them.
Mother Goddess Anahit once told Astghik:
“The ethereal love of Arius and Arpi is beautiful, pure, but not durable. You must ensure the perpetuation of their love.”
“Is their love really not eternal?” Astghik was surprised.
Mother Goddess Anahit responded:
“The Earth Gods bear the influence of time on themselves. Ethereal love is the monopoly of youth, it is the spring of youth and, like spring, it is radiant, burnish, and unemotional. But along with the spring, this love will pass if it does not grow into a love of fertility. The love of fertility is expressed in the creation of offspring and is transmitted to and through their children. This is the perpetuation of love.”
“Mother,” said Astghik, “And how can the perpetuation of their love be ensured?”
The Mother Goddess answered:
“As soon as they are ashamed of their nakedness, they will cover it. And from that moment, they will gravitate towards each other.”
“Tell me, Mother, how will they feel their nakedness?”
“They must partake of the life-giving fruit whose seed Ar has himself thrown into the land of Ararat.”
Then, goddess Astghik appeared to Arpi and said:
“Oh, beautiful Arpi, if you want to perpetuate your love, then you must fulfill my mandate which comes from Mother Goddess Anahit.” Find the life-giving fruit, eat half of it, and let Arius have the other half.”
“Oh, Goddess,” said Arpi, “The will of Mother Anahit is sacred to me, but tell me, how can I find the life-giving fruit among the many varied fruits of Ararat?”
Goddess Astghik answered:
“This is the only fruit that you can divide in half by hand.”
Astghik disappeared. Arpi began to look for the life-giving fruit. She wouldn’t say anything to Arius, and while walking with him, she would pluck various fruits and try to split them into two equal parts with her hands, but without success.
Suddenly, on top of a lush tree, she noticed one single fruit that shone with a sunny color.
At the request of Arpi, Arius climbed the tree and plucked this only sunflower fruit. Arpi easily halved it with her hands, and her joyful cry surprised Arius. The fruit was divided into two equal parts, and the fruit’s seed fell to the ground.
“Oh, Earthly son of Ar,” said Arpi, “This is the life-giving fruit. By the will of Mother Goddess Anahit, we must partake of it so that our love is immortalized.”
She gave one half of the fruit to Arius and put the other half in her mouth. And suddenly, Arpi as if woke up from a deep nap, looked at Arius, looked at herself, noticed her and Arius’s nudity, and ran away with embarrassment to hide in nearby bushes.
Arius could not understand anything. Arpi shouted from behind the bushes:
“Eat this half of the fruit, eat it. Otherwise, you will lose me forever. Take it, and we will be happy.”
Arius tasted his share of the fruit. And immediately, he felt his nakedness and ran away, ashamed. He wandered through the woods, not daring to appear naked in Arpi’s eyes. He eventually stopped in front of a large fig tree that had wide and thick leaves. He tore off one sheet and covered his shame. “It’s better this way,” he thought delightedly.
Arius tore off another fig leaf and brought it to Arpi. Arpi also covered up her shame and stepped out of the bushes. Arius and Arpi looked at each other and saw each other so real and so attractive…
And the perpetuation of love was affirmed in them through fructification. And in creating offspring, they were patronized by Mother Goddess Anahit.
The life-giving fruit was called Tsiran (Apricot).
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