Animal Stories

Year 2003


Black Snake, King Snake


Cheryl Walker


          "Why does everyone hate me so?" the medium-sized black snake asked the older, bigger brown snake.


          "It's because you're you.  You're a snake!" the older brown snake hissed.


          "But I'm a nice snake," whimpered the black snake. "I always try to be the best snake I can be.  When I see a human on the trail, I turn around and go the other way.  I don't scare the humans by hissing at them, like some snakes.  But humans still hate me!"


          "You're a snake and you'll always be a snake and the humans will always hate you.  End of story," the brown snake hissed all of that with a gleam in its eye.


          The medium-sized black snake crawled off.  He sniffled as he slithered.  You see:  He had been crawling cheerfully through the woods.  He was exploring and having fun looking at snakey things - things that snakes find interesting.  He came across a campsite and looked at it from the edge of the woods.  Suddenly a human with a shovel came up behind him and tried to kill him!  He crawled away as fast as he could, frightened and confused.


          He hadn’t been able to figure out why the human had tried to hurt him.  The big brown snake had said it was because he was a snake, end of story.  He was heartbroken to think this might be true.  So he cried as he slid through the forest. 


          In fact, he found himself at a farm without realizing how he got there.  He was wiping his eyes against the grass when another human came at him from behind.  This one picked him up!  He felt himself dangling in the air.  Then he heard a big booming voice.

          "A black snake!  Just what I need to keep varmits out of my corn cribs.  Hey fella!  You want to live with me?"


          And the medium-sized black snake turned his head and looked deep into the man's eyes.  The man had kind eyes.  He was smiling!

          The man continued talking, "Yes sir.  When the varmits get word that you're around, there won't be anything eating my corn that isn't supposed to.  You come with me, fella.  You can crawl through the hay loft and feel the hay against your skin.  You can lie in the sun on the warm gravel when the weather is cool.  When the weather is hot, you can lie deep inside the cool, cool barn.  Come live with me, little fella!  I'll call you 'King'".


          So the medium-sized black snake went to live on the farm and he protected the corn.  He crawled through the hay in the hay loft.  The hay felt good against his skin.  He lay in the warm sun when it was cool and lay in the cool, cool barn when it was hot.  And most of all, he was loved.  He was loved because he was a snake.


          The brown snake was wrong.  The black snake realized he wasn't hated because he was a snake.  If the other human did hate him, it wasn’t for being a snake.  After all, here he had a wonderful home with a human.  And the human LOVED him.  And he was still a snake!


          He would learn, as he grew older, that mostly he wasn’t hated for being a snake.  It was always something else that caused him to be hated.  So that left him free to be the very best snake he could be.


          And he was.