house of happy

Life adventures in prose and verse. Explorations of places, people and words. Stories and fun.

Friday, 24 May 2013

The Servant and the Snake

This is a story about a man who grew up poor and then served others all his life; had a family and lost a family; worked and worked and died. And so much more.

One day a young boy heard the servants of the house complain about snakes. Too many snakes in the garden. The boy wanted to see a snake. It would be arranged.

The next day at dawn the man in our story, who worked in the kitchens, took the boy to the back of the garden, where the earth was hard and dry. Behind some stones, they saw a snake. The man quickly drew a circle in the dirt around it. Just like that, with his finger.

The boy couldn't see the circle traced in the dust, but it must have been there because the snake reared and its diamond head shot out and back, out and back, out and back. And every time it stopped at the invisible line until the snake, recognising a prison, fell back inside its own bright coils and lay still.

'Kill it, kill it', shouted the boy. Not out of cruelty, that was what you did to snakes.

'No', said the servant.

'Why?' So unused was the boy to hear a servant say No, that he forgot to be angry.

'It is the only thing I have, this power. If I kill the snake I lose it. I don't want to lose it.'

I do not know the servant's name, his face, his voice. I have no idea where the story happened. That boy, now a grey-haired man, told it to me.

But imagine the snake, coiled up for all eternity inside a tower of light and air, prisoner of one mesmeric gesture.

And imagine a world where power is lost as soon as it's abused.

And imagine, imagine the magic at your fingertips.


At 25 May 2013 at 03:26 , Blogger emwolfem said...

Thank you Hassan for the story and Dixit for the illustration.


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