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Fri, Oct. 18

The ballad of Sneaky Snake: how he lost his ability to walk upright

There was a time long, long ago when Snake did not have to wiggle along on the ground.

He was a very unique creature with a most unusual ability. Snake could unzip his skin and walk around just like ordinary people.

Now, Snake liked being a snake. He was also a trickster. His favorite pastime was to shed his skin and play tricks on people. Then before he could be caught, he would slip back into his snakeskin and slither off into the business, leaving someone else to take the blame.

Snake would sneak into a party and pour turnip juice into the punch bowl. He would go into the kitchen just before dinner and eat all of the chocolate chip cookies, laughing as the children were scolded and then sent off to bed without supper. He was a mean snake.

One time, he went into a yard where a dog was sleeping and quickly pulled all of the freshly washed clothes off the line and threw them on the ground. Then he woke the dog.

As the dog began barking, Snake quickly slipped back into his snake suit and scurried under the fence.

The wife ran from the house into the yard to see what the dog was barking at. Seeing her clean laundry on the ground and no one else around, she immediately blamed the dog and insisted that he be chained, at least until she had finished the washing.

The poor dog had no chance to defend himself.

Snake loved to take things and hide them. His favorite was reading glasses and car keys.

He would wait until a person's back was turned, then quickly scoop the things up and hide them.

There were several places where he liked to hide things. On top of a bookshelf was one. In a seldom-used drawer was another.

He would then slip back into his skin and peek through a window as the poor people went nuts trying to find their things. He was very good at hiding things.

Besides cookies, Snake liked fresh-baked apple pie. He would roam the town hoping to find a freshly baked pie setting in a window to cool.

This was getting harder and harder to do. Housewives were tired of someone stealing their pies and would no longer put them into a window to cool.

Snake thought this was a really mean thing to do to him.

Snake could not cook and had no money, so the only way left was to help himself. And now he could not even do that.

Poor snake. Even when he slept, he would dream of apple pies. He became so desperate that he even forgot about playing tricks.

One day as he slithered on the edge of town, he smelled a familiar smell - fresh apple pie. Snake crept up close to the house. He could see the pie setting on the window ledge.

Snake knew the lady who lived there. She was very old and very wise. He was afraid that she alone, of the whole town, would know who took her pie.

Snake was filled with indecision. His stomach told him to go for it, but then somewhere in his tiny brain, a voice would say, "You had better not."

For a long time, he laid there by the window, seeing and smelling that pie, until he could no longer hold back.

He quickly slipped out of his skin, grabbed the pie, and quick as a wink, gulped it down. Then without further hesitation, he slipped back into his snake suit and slithered away.

The old lady, finding her pie missing, became very angry. This was too bad for Snake. He had made the mistake of stealing a pie from a witch.

She leaned out of the window and hollered, "Curse you, Snake. Never more will you steal another pie. Henceforth, you will no longer step out of your skin and become a man. A snake you are, and a snake you will remain forever."

Snake had run away and for a while he thought he had not been caught. But because of the witch's curse, even today when Snake tries to slip out of his skin, he is still a snake.

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