The Snake Who Became A Stick
Once upon a time, there was a dry, rocky place filled with snakes. There were small snakes and big snakes and snakes of every color in the rainbow. This is the place where all the snakes lived. But all of these snakes were ruled by one queen snake. She was a mean, evil witch and the mother of all the snakes. Not only was she the biggest snake, but she was the ugliest. She had big red eyes, and very sharp teeth. But most of all, she had a tongue that moved in and out all the time. She was constantly telling the other snakes what to do. She was the Big Boss. The queen snake ruled this place with absolute authority. She always told the other snakes what to do and where to go. Nobody ever defied the queen witch snake. And the one thing she controlled the most was eating. She told the other snakes when and what to eat. The queen witch snake demanded the other snakes eat only mice. The mice were captives in this difficult place. They tried to hide from the snakes by making their homes deep in the earth. But the snakes always knew where the mice were and would gather them together and eat them. And, of course, you know how snakes eat mice. They eat them by swallowing them head first (gulp).
One day, a young snake was about to swallow a mouse for lunch, when he noticed the eyes of the mouse looking at him. The mouse’s eyes were filled with gentleness and peace. The snake saw the inner beauty in this mouse and knew that all mice were beautiful. The snake made a promise to himself to never eat a mouse again. So the snake set the little mouse free and from that day on, this snake was the friend of all the mice. Later when the snake’s mother brought another mouse for the young snake’s dinner, he refused to eat it. The young snake said, “Mice are nice. I will not eat them anymore.” He then promptly set the mouse free.
The news that the young snake wasn’t eating mice anymore traveled quickly. Soon all the snakes were talking about it. It wasn’t long before the queen witch snake heard about it and came rushing over. She was very angry. She shouted at the young snake, “You will eat mice or you will starve to death!” The young snake looked her straight in the eyes and calmly replied, “Mice are nice, I will not eat them anymore.” The queen witch snake was so angry she could hardly control herself. Her eyes got bigger and bigger and the color of them changed from bright red to orange, then to yellow and green. The queen had to leave before her head exploded. No one had ever defied the queen before.
The days began to pass, and still the young snake would not eat mice. Without help, the young snake would surely starve to death. But the mice held a meeting, deep in the earth, and they all agreed to help the young snake. So each night, they would secretly take small pieces of fruit to the snake for him to eat. The young snake loved the sweet fruit. Fruit tastes much better than mice. Soon he was eating more and more fruit, and growing stronger and stronger every day. The mice were very happy to take more food to their new friend. Soon, all the snakes were talking about how big and strong the young snake was becoming. He was no longer a little snake. He was now a big snake and he was exactly the same size as the queen witch snake. Some of the snakes were now beginning to talk about following a new leader.
The queen witch snake heard about this rebellion and knew that she had to do something quickly. In the snake world, there can only be one ruler. The queen witch found the young snake sunning himself on a large rock. She shouted at him, “You must eat mice! That is my command!”
The young snake looked her straight in the eyes and calmly replied, “Mice are nice, I will not eat them anymore.”
The queen witch snake exploded in anger, and she screamed at the young snake, “If you can’t act like a snake, I am going to make you into a stick!”.
The body of the queen witch snake shook from the tip of her tail to the top her head. Fire and smoke belched from her mouth as she weaved a magic spell with her tongue. In a flash of black, purple and white light, the young snake was instantly changed into a stick. The queen witch laughed aloud as she crawled away. There can only be one ruler in the kingdom of the snakes.
As the stick lay there on the ground, the mice came out of their homes and gathered around their one true friend. Each of them came forward with tears in their eyes to touch their friend the stick and say good-bye. As they all stood there crying, there appeared out of the air the good fairy of the mice. With a pure heart and a tender voice the good fairy spoke, “I cannot undo the evil magic of the queen witch, but I can add to it just a little. You will be a stick, but you will be a living stick. And you will live forever.” The good fairy waved her magic wand and ten thousand tiny stars entered the stick. The stick began to breathe. Later that night, all the mice worked together and dug a hole in the ground. They then stood the stick straight up and filled in the dirt around it. All of the mice said a little prayer and each of them added a cup of precious water.
The next day, as the sun began to rise, the stick began to grow. That stick grew faster and faster, until its trunk was as big as the biggest house. This tree just kept growing. This mighty tree was so big, that all of the mice moved their homes high into the branches. On each branch of this tree, there grew a different color of sweet fruit. Red, orange, yellow and green fruit; blue, purple and violet fruit. And at the very top of the tree; white fruit. The white fruit tastes great. It’s so sweet.
The best thing was that the snakes could not climb this tree. The mice would never be eaten by snakes again. This tree is the true friend of all the mice.
Oh, by the way, one day in a windstorm, a big branch fell from the tree and hit the queen witch snake on top of the head. She died instantly. There can only be one ruler in the kingdom.
This all happened a long time ago. Since that time, that tree is still growing. Now it’s so big, that all of us live in the branches of this very same tree. And that white fruit at the top of the tree? Its sweeter than ever. One taste of this fruit and you live forever.
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The Snake Who Became A Stick