The Citrus Thief

A few months ago my mother-in-law came to visit the island, she found a nice house on the internet to stay free of charge, as long as she fed the cat and watered the garden. The house was located in Le Tampon, and the best part was the orchard. There were avocados, lemons, limes, oranges, mandarins, bananas and plants everywhere. My mother in law was enjoying waking up in the morning, picking some oranges to press for her morning juice, collecting some avocados for the salad with lunch, a nice juicy mandarin for a snack, and a few lemons to flavour the chicken for dinner.

This went on for about a week and just when she started to get into a routine she awoke one morning and all the oranges were gone! “That’s strange” she thought, since just the day before there were lots on the tree. Later on that day she contacted the owners of the house who were also quite surprised since that has never happened to them before. Well, the orange juice would have to be store bought from now on, which was not a big deal, after all there were still many other fruits left in the garden.

She carried on with her routine as usual, omitting the glass of orange juice of course, and lived comfortably for another couple of weeks, forgetting about the unfortunate loss of the oranges, when one morning she awoke only to realize that the citrus thief had struck again! This time stealing every last lemon! Now, if she were in Canada, she could blame the disappearing fruit on a bear, or raccoon. But, since this is not Canada and she can’t realistically blame the hedgehogs or chameleons, she started to ask herself: who was this thief and why did they want all of her citrus?

Unfortunately, this question would remain unanswered, but the garden was still full of limes, mandarins, avocados and bananas. In the weeks that followed the citrus thief struck one last time stealing all the mandarins except for one.. Which raises the question: why leave just one? Either the thief overlooked that one, or he/she started to feel bad for stealing all this fruit and left one little mandarin so that my mother in law could have a last drop of vitamin C.

In the end, there is no closure and this is a mystery that will remain unsolved. The worst part, is that the citrus thief is still on the loose! So, if you have lemons or oranges in your garden keep a close eye on them, and enjoy the fruit while it lasts, because you never know when it might just disappear!


orchard – verger
lime – citron vert
to flavour – assaisonner
to awake – se réveiller
owner – propriétaire

not a big deal – pas un drame
unfortunate – malheureux
thief – voleur
citrus – agrume
to steal – voler

to blame – accuser
to strike – frapper
raccoon – raton laveur
hedgehog – hérisson/tangue
to remain – rester

overlooked – négligé
last drop – dernier goutte
closure – conclusion
unsolved – non résolu
on the loose – en liberté

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