set apart from his plucking

mO_ok

Senior Member
Lithuanian
Hello everyone,

I have found this expression in Saki's short story 'Sredni Vashtar':

The few fruit-trees that it [the garden] contained were set jealously apart from his plucking, as though they were rare specimens of their kind blooming in an arid waste; it would probably have been difficult to find a market-gardener who would have offered ten shillings for their entire yearly produce.

Here is the full text: The Project Gutenberg E-text of The Chronicles of Clovis, by "Saki" (H. H. Munro)

I gather it means that he was unable to pluck the fruit but would like a paraphrase of the excerpt, if possible.
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Who set them apart, m0? Did some other person or people set these trees apart and prevent him from plucking fruit from them? If that is true, then you might try this version: X set the fruit trees apart from the other plants so that he couldn't pluck their fruit.

    I'll leave it to you to figure out who X might be.;) I really don't feel like digging through your source to find the context necessary for a decent, quick answer to your question.
     

    mO_ok

    Senior Member
    Lithuanian
    There is no indication about a person who would have set the trees apart :/ But thank you for your answer, owlman5!
     

    Franco-filly

    Senior Member
    English - Southern England
    From reading the text online, it seems he is ill/disabled:

    Conradin was ten years old, and the doctor had pronounced his professional opinion that the boy would not live another five years

    so perhaps the trees are too far away for him to access and, their crop is negligible anyway i.e. they are not very productive / they bear few fruits.​
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Why would they be set "jealously apart from his plucking?" That should indicate that somebody didn't want him to pluck them.
     

    mO_ok

    Senior Member
    Lithuanian
    Well, there is an antagonist in the story and maybe she would have done such a thing. Would you suggest that setting apart in this context could indicate fencing, owlman5?
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    That sounds very reasonable. After all, there must be something that keeps him away from those trees, and a fence seems to be the likeliest way to do that.
     

    mO_ok

    Senior Member
    Lithuanian
    Thank you, owlman5! I think I got the idea of how to translate it ^_^
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    It's an odd way of saying it, as presumably the trees are older than he is, but presumably 'set' is adjectival 'located', not a passive; it's not saying the aunt set them apart. (It is an aunt, isn't it?)
     

    mO_ok

    Senior Member
    Lithuanian
    She is his cousin, but much older. I took another glance at the preceding sentence that states her dominance upon him in the same 'indirect' manner ('windows that were ready to open with a message not to do this or that'), so it makes sense stylistically.
     
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