Finnish original, “Looginen kertomus”, first published in Eeva-Liisa Manner:Fahrenheit 121 (1968)
Mr. H. said to Miss M.:
– A fruit does not exist.
– You are mad, said Miss M.
– Let’s go to a shop so you’ll see.
They went to a big fruit shop, where there were lots of fruits and nothing but fruits; it was the fruit department of a big vegetable market hall.
– May I have a fruit, said Mr. H.
The shopkeeper gave him an apple.
– I don’t want an apple, I want a fruit.
The shopkeeper gave him a big pear.
– I want a fruit, not a pear.
The shopkeeper blushed from annoyance and brought him a watermelon that was big as a baby’s head.
– I don’t want a watermelon, I want a fruit, said Mr. H. monotonously.
The shopkeeper got fretful, piling before him figs, dates, peaches, oranges, tangerines, lemons, and plums.
– Are you deaf, sir. I don’t want any of those, I want A FRUIT, said Mr H. The shopkeeper looked at him, mute and offended, but the fierce expression in his eyes told: What the hell of a heavenly fruit you are looking for?
– Why are you pining him? whispered Miss M., pulling her friend tentatively at the sleeve.
– Because I hate Plato, whispered Mr. H.
The shopkeeper kept on looking, then a restrained impulse took over him and he emptied a basketful of grapes on Mr. H.
Frightened, Miss M. run out of the shop. Mr. H. reached her at the street and, groping after the grapes in his hair, said objectively:
– This was a lesson in pure realism. As you can see, a fruit does not exist, and I am not mad.
– I think, said Miss M. with regret, that the shopkeeper’s name was Plato.