Have you ever looked upon a tree and seen something almost human in it's shape? The Apple Tree of Daphne DuMaurier's story resembles a widower's wife. His wife died of pneumonia but instead of feeling sadness at her loss, he feels free. Free from her pessimism, free from her sighs. But the tree droops sadly in his backyard and his attempts at getting rid of the tree are thwarted by others. He doesn't want to appear too eager to dispose of it. People might think it's strange that he's so concerned about an old tree. He just might have to take matters into his own hands...
I'm very impressed by DuMaurier's writing skills. She manages to take an inanimate object and give it a personality. The tree seems to do things to this husband just out of spite. And what can he say, "The tree is out to get me"? He'd look like a loon. DuMaurier also managed to swing my sympathy from the husband to Poor Midge as she gives the reader insight into their marriage.
It's really a ghost story without a ghost, a psychological haunting. Is Midge really getting back at him or is he feeling guilty for how he treated her? You have to read it all the way to the end. The last line is quite chilling.
The Apple Tree can be found in Echoes from the Macabre by Daphne DuMaurier.