A little old man with a short, curved bladed paring knife came down to the farmers market one cold, wet, winter day and picked up a fat carrot with a broken tip that had fallen into a puddle. He stood in the middle of the wide aisle with shoppers streaming around him and with an economy of deft slices rapidly carved the carrot into a dramatic goldfish. Passersby gathered around in amazement to watch this spectacle of a fish being released from a stumpy root.
“Oooh, gorgeous” proclaimed a woman. The old gentleman bowed, replied in Chinese, and handed her the piscine carrot.
Another woman perceived her opportunity and handed the sculptor a watermelon radish from her shopping bag. No, a watermelon radish is not a genetically engineered cross between a melon and a radish but rather an antique Asian radish variety that can easily grow to the size of a grapefruit. The off-white skin of the watermelon radish is tinted green at the top where the root is exposed to the sun. Slice the vegetable open and the dull exterior is revealed to wrap up a core of brilliant ruby flesh, hence the name watermelon.
The old fellow held the radish up high by its tail and inspected it. He made his decision and began cutting in swift, short, strokes. Red chips of radish meat rained down onto the pavement as the root was turned in his hands. Three minutes passed and the radish blossomed into a most refined, delicate, scarlet dahlia cupped in his palm for all to see.