There once was a snake with a funny rigid hat, which looked like a straw hat, but wasn’t actually made of straw. The snake was very sociable indeed. His slithering, far from being sly, made him a discrete and pleasant companion; he was able to adapt very easily to the lives of those around him and make space for him in theirs, in the most natural way.
He was loved by everybody. It was impossible otherwise; no cruelty was in him, and his comfort brought ease to others; despite the snake occasionally wondering if the way he lived his life was right.
The snake’s ability to transform his discourse as if he were only shedding his skin was one of his outstanding skills. He could laugh and weep, make good-natured jokes or scathing remarks, ask strangers questions in a manner that made them feel like family, and remain quiet with the people he cared for the most.
He was loved by everybody. It was impossible otherwise; no cruelty was in him, and his comfort brought ease to others; despite the snake occasionally wondering if the way he lived his life was right – the small lies he advised to structure relationships, the ease he found in making people talk, the precision with which he knew how to confide himself – none of it was ever malicious or overlooking.
So the snake went down the road of life, confident but with an underlying sense of loneliness. Of course, he was never really lonely since he understood how to form solid and thorough relationships; but knowing how to do it made him wonder where he was heading.
The snake made a visit to a lion family. He bowed his head so low that his hat almost slipped off. The lion family was astonished to discover themselves tied to the snake, but since he appeared to have no question that this was normal, the family felt happy and daring. He draped his long body over them all at night.
-Snake, you know no one is going to harm us, remarked the lion.
-Yes, the snake responded comfortably.
-You don’t believe you are safeguarding us in any way, do you?
-No, I assured the snake calmly. I simply like being here.
In actuality, the snake had no idea what he was doing other that he believed it was the appropriate thing to do to wrap himself around this family.
The snake made a visit to a lone antelope the following morning, and the two of them spent the whole day teaching each other art. The antelope was quite energetic, and the snake was fascinated and excited by her energy.
The snake paid the ants a visit at night. He was cautious not to squish them with his lengthy body, and he stared at them from a distance until they chose to say hello. The snake was formal and courteous, and the ants gradually saw the picture of a clever animal in him.
The snake ran and cried in delight with the kangaroos; he had not laughed so hard in a long time, and could scarcely stop trembling with adrenaline.
He worked very hard to apply his abilities and bring the animals together; and so the family of lions, antelope, ants, and kangaroos.
The snake longed to be alone at times.
He had no idea whether he was traveling in a straight path, picking up friends along the way, or in a circle, following them and being followed by them, all becoming lost in the never-ending cycle of encounters. He was perplexed as to why he hadn’t informed the antelope about his supper with the lions, or why the ants disapproved of his hanging about with kangaroos. He recognised he didn’t care as he saw the wonderful connections he could have with them all; but he questioned what it meant for him to realise this, a sensation that should have made him confident in his social life but instead left him feeling lonely.
He worked very hard to apply his abilities and bring the animals together; and so the family of lions, antelope, ants, and kangaroos, who had no cause to murder each other in this tranquil and wealthy place except that they imagined they would, became friends. The snake moved quickly, spoke a lot, laughed a lot, and smiled a lot.
As he considered his options, a scowl formed on his face. I’ve assisted the lions, antelope, ants, and kangaroos, and they’ve taught me so much, yet I’m still horribly lonely.
The snake rolled about in a contemplative and mournful manner.
-It’s not enough to see, laughed the antelope; you must also help them see themselves.
-Exactly, remarked the serpent after a little pause.
-It’s better for everyone, the snake said cheerfully and a little theatrically, despite the fact that he only ever took others seriously and seldom himself.
-You inspire me! shouted the antelope.
The snake slithered away (but he was content).
He walked about on a sun-kissed rock. As the light faded from the sky, the temperature dropped. The snake sang to himself and danced smoothly, moving from one extreme to the other, toying with his cap and finding overall tranquility – he regarded it less as acting and more as feeling, combining feelings that made his belly blow. He did it for the purpose of staying alive.
I’ll make sure we’re all as happy as we can be for as long as I live and others live with me.