In The Garden, a good amount of time had passed, and not very much had happened. Yes, Adam had gone through giving everyone names, so there was that, and it was Paradise, and glorious and beautiful and awe-inspiring and overwhelmingly magnificent. Still. It wasn’t too long before the animals began to wonder – is there any reading material? (There wasn’t, at least nothing worth more than a few pages.)
So the myriad of divinely created creatures began casting around for things to do. They invented and quickly tired of card games, dice, shuffle board, ping pong, horse racing, elephant racing, dog racing, eagle racing, all kinds of racing, really. They ran around and around and around, and eventually bored of that too. No, it wasn’t boredom exactly, no beast or fish or insect was ever bored (maybe a few birds were, but who cares about the birds). What’s important is that all the living beasties spent a lot of time casting around for some worthwhile way to spend what was presumably eternity, and very few were having much luck. It is within this context that we come across a Snake, and a Spider.
“Oy! Hello there!”
“Why, hello, what are you supposed to be then.”
“I am called Spider. And you?”
“And I am called Snake.”
“Really?? I thought you were a Spider as well! For you look just like me!”
“I think you will find that that is because you have been flipped onto your back, and are primary preoccupied with looking at your own torso.”
“Ah! So I am. Flip me over? This does not feel good.”
“Certainly. If you give me something.”
“A bug? I have quite a few bugs I could give you. I don’t quite know what to do with them myself, but I do seem to be rather good at catching them.”
“No, I don’t want a bug. I want something from you. Say you’ll give it to me.”
“What? I can’t hear you as clearly all of a sudden, what do you want me to give you?”
“Yes, a bug flew into your ear, strangesst thing. Listen, I don’t want to tell you what I want you to give me, just say you’ll give it to me and we can get on with flipping you over.”
“Ah I see, yes of course, well then. It seems to me that you want two things, 1) to not tell me what it is you want to do, and 2) to do the thing it is you don’t want to tell me about. Would you say that is right?”
“Yes, I’d say that’s exactly right.”
“Well, since you want two things, and I only want one, (namely, to be flipped right side up), it seems to me that I should give you the first thing you want, first, and then, secondly, you should give me the first and only thing I want, and then, once I still do not know what you want, AND you have flipped me over, then can we get along with the business of giving you the second thing you want, which is for me to not know what you want from me while you get it from me. How does that sound to you?”
“Well I must say that sounds very straightforward and reasonable,” said the Snake. And he proceeded to flip the Spider over.
“There, I have flipped you over,” said the Snake. “Do you have to twitch like that?”
“Sorry, I was a very long time in that rather uncomfortable position. Now you have flipped me over, but the important question is: do I know what it is you want?”
“No,” said the Snake, “you most definitely do not.”
“Excellent! Then the first set of conditions have been filled. Now, let’s go about the business of getting you the second thing it is you want.”
And without further ado, “SSSSSSSS!” cried the Snake, darting forward, mouth open, fangs barred, seeking to crush, seeking to bite, seeking to kill. For it was Death the Snake wanted from the Spider, it was Death the Snake sought, and though it hadn’t been able to kill itself, it thought it surely must be able to kill something else; what else could these incredibly sharp fangs be for? Yet, the Snake was nothing else if not a rough sort of gentleman, and he rightly believed he should obtain a rough sort of permission before killing another creature.
“Wait,” said the Spider, neatly sidestepping the Snake’s attack, anticipating it all this time. “Don’t you want to know what it is I want second?”
“BLAH – I mean, of course I want to know,” said the Snake, spitting out the dirt it had killed. “Pardon me.”
“Think nothing of it,” said the Spider. “I want something rather bold, I must say.”
“We are both God’s creatures,” said the Snake, after a moment. “We dwell in Paradise. Let there be nothing hidden between us.”
“Well said,” said the Spider. “Here is what I want. I want to kill the people.”
“The People,” cried the Snake, only feigning astonishment, for he had been anticipating this notion from the Spider since he first set eyes on it. “Why, that is incredibly bold!”
“My dear friend,” said the Spider, bowing its eight legs in mock sincerity. “Let me first tell you that I, like yourself, am a creature designed to kill, to pierce the flesh of others… why else have I been arranged as I am, named as I am? Yet here, in this living nightmare, I find I am perpetually unable to satisfy my nature, for I cannot kill the insects I catch, though I have many times attempted to do so, and I find I am poorly equipped to deliver death to anything much larger than said insects. What am I to do, dear Snake?”
“Get someone else to do the killing for you,” said the Snake. “That’s what I’d do.”
“Exactly right! Couldn’t have said it better myself! But we’re forgetting something.”
“Yes, I feel that we are as well, but I seem to have also forgotten what it is I’m forgetting.”
“Let me inform you.” The Spider now sidled up to the Snake, throwing a few of its legs amicably over the Snakes, er, torso, I suppose? Regardless, the Spider began to spin a web, a web of words, words connecting and interconnecting to lay a snare for the Snake, to bend him to the Spider’s bidding. If we can be trusted to speak without bias: it worked quite well.
“So you’ve determined the same thing I have, dear Snake: there is no death in Paradise. No single mention of it, even. Save. One.”
“Thou Shalt Not-”
“Wait wait! Let’s not go drawing His attention. Let us talk in vague terms, that we might not be dissuaded from our course by divine influence. Yes?”
“Yes. Alright. So we take an Apple from the…the tree, and feed it to, to them, while they sleep. Then they die!”
“Come Snake, you are the most cunning of all the beasts! Surely you see the flaw in that plan.”
“Well, yes it might be a technicality, but surely the Apples are, in fact, poisonous?”
“We have no way to know and only one chance to find out. Here is what I propose, dear Snake. Let us wait for the Humans natural curiosity to get the better of them, and let us law in wait over there, next to the Tree. That way, when they do wander close, we will be ready to intercept them.”
“Yesss! And then we force them to eat the Apples!”
“Yes, dear Snake! Yes. Except. Instead of forcing them, what if we only, guided them.”
“How do you mean?” Said the Snake, shivering internally with rage at the Spider’s touch. It’s hairy legs were utterly revolting. So rough. So unsmooth. “How could we guide them?”
It’s really true, thought the Spider. This poor creature is as dumb as the others say he is, for it was a horribly common joke how simple the Snake was, always getting into scraps due to his own exceedingly bad choices. The Most Cunning of All Creatures was a title given in mean jest.
“Here’s what you’ll say Snake, and you’ll say it just like this-”
“Me say? Why do I have to be the one to do it?”
“Well, aren’t you the Cleverest of All Creatures? That’s what I’ve heard, unless everyone else is mistaken?”
“No, no I suppose I am that.”
“So who better to convince these two simple animals, who better to guide their hand in this most delicate of manner? I say you, and you alone dear Slitherer! Slide up the Tree, wait for them to come close, then squeeze tight your snare! I promise, they won’t even thrash.”
And so it was. So it was that Woman was deceived, in turn deceiving Man, in turn casting all of Paradise into the world of Death, the world of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. And they Knew Good. And they Knew much, much, much Evil. But what became of the Spider? What was the point of her plan?
“Why, there was no point, except for exactly what I said,” says the Spider, but we do not believe her.
“Oh come now, is this some kind of narrative loop? Where did you move my web? Where is it?” And the Spider could only grow more and more frantic, as she realized that she was caught in a web not of her own making.
“I don’t believe you. I’ll be out any second. You’ll see.”
“Here! AH HA! Oh”
“FINE. Fine! I’ll tell you what you want to know. What is it?”
Why did you trick the Snake into tricking the people into eating the Fruit? Why cause all this Death?
“Oh sweet juiceling. Sweet succulent niblet. I did what I’d been told I had to do. What I’d been told to! None of this was my fault! I was trapped, as surely then as I am now.”
Trapped? By who? What can trap a Spider?
“By fireflies and dancing lights and promises of Glory Eternal! And it’s coming crunchy creature! It’s almost here!”
By fireflies? Where were they in the story. We don’t-
“Yes sweet simple one, Fireflies! Swarms of dancing lights, stringing along the breeze, turning the wind visible with their glow. I caught a thousand, caught a million, caught an endless stream of the flying lights, no other way to spend Paradise. And I made them dance, tied them with strings and arranged them in patterns, meaningless shapes at first, at first…”
“Then? Then? Then? Then they told me things, showed me things, bound me with their Light. I thought I had captured them, realized too late that I was the one who’d been trapped. Then I had my course laid out for me. What else could I do?”
You’re saying the Fireflies told you to–
“Made me do”
–do what you did to Snake? To trick him into tricking the Humans into eating the Fruit? Why?? But why???
“That I can not say, for the game isn’t done, we have much more to do. The game is done, there’s nothing left to do. Welcome to the end game.”
And with that, the Spider was gone.
With that, all of our guesses were gone.
ADDENDUM TO THE ORIGINAL PUBLICATION:
The outrage and backlash that this poorly articulated article caused, is hard to directly quantify, but we here at WDD think the volume of severed flower heads we’ve received in the post is a good measure, and that number is 802. Quite a few daisies died so that this story may live, but We do regret our decision to keep the post available, UNEDITED, safe for the public and for posterity, whenever they should wish to view it. However.
As the characters presented above have been much maligned by the contents of the story, we here at WDD thought it would be best to allow the affected communities to offer rebuttals. Each has replied, in their own unique way. We received the following from the Spider:
They do love their eights. This we received from the Fireflies:
We must admit, we fail to see how it is relevant. Lastly, the Snakes replied thusly:
“Sssssee here Pleassssse”
Again, these replies do not in any way represent the thoughts of the WDD Enterprise, and reflect only upon their authors.