This short story is dedicated to St. Patrick’s Day and the saint who chased all the snakes out of Ireland. Perhaps there was a better solution.
One morning, a snake named Harry woke up in a most depressed state of mind. Everyone in the world despised him and he had to live each day of his life with the knowledge and burden that his kind was to blame for the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He also lived in constant fear that God would stomp on his head.
However, today he felt extra terrible because it was St. Patrick’s Day. This was the day that humans would celebrate Saint Patrick for chasing his relatives out of Ireland.
Harry was desperate to regain his self-esteem. He wondered if he should contact a large Public Relations Firm to have his image improved. But changing the minds of millions and millions of humans would be cost prohibitive.
So he went out for his usual morning crawl into the nearby woods where he felt he could enjoy quiet meditation. He wondered why a God of love would create a creature only to have it universally hated. Did God have a special plan for him that would make things all work out in the end?
Harry began to pray to God for guidance.
Suddenly, a beautiful angel descended from heaven and appeared before the hapless serpent. “I am here to help you,” said the angel.
Harry looked up at her with surprise then blurted out, “Why do people think I am bad?”
“You are not bad,” she said, “you are simply a symbol for expressing humankind’s lowest nature. You represent what is corporeal and sensual in humans because you are immersed in material things and the physical world from head to tail.”
“But God made me like this – to crawl forever over dust and earth,” replied Harry. “What am I to do?”
“We need to turn you into a better symbol.”
“Think vertically,” the angel answered. “The fact that you prayed to God shows that you can lift your mind above the objects you make contact with on earth. Unfortunately, the only way people would recognize that spiritual quality in you would be if you could raise your body vertically off the ground.”
Harry tried and tried but no amount of effort helped him to keep his body in a raised position for very long.
“You need support,” said the wise angel. She looked all around until she found a straight stick. She then forced one end of the stick into the ground.
“What are you doing,” asked the perplexed reptile.
“I am going to help you become a more positive symbol. This is what Moses did in the wilderness to lift up the serpent. A staff represents the power to connect lower things to higher things. Now, climb up the staff.”
Harry crawled over to the staff and began to coil around it until the full length of his body was off the ground. Then a white dove landed at the top of the staff and spread her wings. The dove merged with the staff so that the staff itself became winged.
“Wings represent the power of the spiritual mind to soar above worldly reasoning and gain a wider and more objective view of reality,” said the angel. “Harry, you have now become a symbol for spiritual regeneration.”
Where once Harry had been despised throughout the world, he now had new importance. To this day Harry can be seen on the insignia of the medical profession. It’s called the caduceus.
Harry is now helping God communicate to humans the message that true health is founded on spiritual well being.