The Serpent and the Rat
On a hot summer day, under a tree’s shade, a serpent and a rat happened to meet up, by chance, to rest.
They sat there for a while, in silence until the
serpent spoke first.
“What are you doing here, rat?”
The rat looked back at the serpent quizzical.
“What do you mean?” The rat replied.
“What are you doing here? I mean out here in the
middle of nowhere?”
“I don’t understand what you’re trying to say.”
“I mean that you, rat, are known to live off of
human’s food supplies and garbage. I don’t see any
humans here, in the middle of nowhere. So what are you
“I’m eating. Don’t worry. I know how to survive.
What about you, serpent? How are you surviving?” The
“I can eat anything. I don’t need humans to throw me
any food. I can get by very easily. But you, rat, are always
nipping at the heels of mankind. Contaminating the food
with your body hair and your own waste and eating
whatever they have for themselves. Never leaving them
alone. So how did you get out here, by yourself?” The
serpent started hissing.
“I came here to get away from the humans. So as
not to be chased away or killed by mankind, I decided to
leave. Not to worry about every step I take and what’s
waiting for me: poisons, traps, hungry cats or just being
shot at or crushed to death. This place offers me solace.
A place where I can think and relax. But you serpent are
nobody to talk.” The rat said.
“What does that mean?” The serpent hissed.
“You’re nobody to criticize me for what I do. You’ve done a lot worse than me.”
“In what way, rat, have I done worse than chase
after mankind’s food.” The serpent inquired.
“What? You ask? What you did was classic evil. From the
beginning of time. You don’t remember? Let me refresh
your memory. You drove Adam and Eve out of the
Garden of Eden with the forbidden fruit. Or don’t you
remember?” The rat squeaked out.
“Oh, is that what you mean? Let me tell you
something. I didn’t do anything to them that they didn’t
want to do themselves.
They knew what could happen and they still did it. If they
didn’t want to, there is nothing I could do to make them
eat of the forbidden fruit. I just let them know of it.” The
serpent was very coy about his answer.
“That’s not how history sees it. You were very
deceitful, pushy even. That’s your nature, mankind
knows that about you and that will never change.” The
rat spoke from a spiritual place.
“Oh yea. If I’m so evil, how did I get into this
Garden of Eden. This garden that was so righteous, but
yet had two people who could be easily tempted. No,
mankind must think you are the lesser of us two, the
curse of mankind. Never to leave them alone, always
following after them spreading disease and plagues.
Don’t deny it.” The serpent said as he lifted his body
The rat was taken back by this and didn’t know how
The serpent jumped in and added “If you think I’m
so evil to do what I did, why does mankind use me as a
symbol of healing?” The serpent said with pride.
“What are you talking about?” The rat asked.
“I’m on the caduceus, the staff worn by doctors
who heal the sick and dying. Make the lame walk again,
give sight to the blind. All that and more from someone
who’s evil. I think not. I think you, rat, are the problem,
“You want to go there, huh? You think a little symbol
worn by a doctor gets you out of trouble. Well, let me tell
you. I’m more useful then you’ll ever be to the medical
world. They wear you on their label but they use me for
more important things like medical experiments that
really help mankind. New medicines that can cure the ill
and stop people from becoming lame. That’s what I’m
better at then you. You’re just a symbol, I’m a reality in
the medical world. How do you like that, serpent?” The
rat demanded to know.
And now the cycle comes full circle when the
serpent was outraged by the rat that the serpent ate the
rat. Thus the sins of mankind overtake the curse of
Author Notes: This is a story to make you think about how we look at some very simple and complex understanding of life