Bachelor's degree in English. Middle school language arts teacher with over 20 years experience with a specialty in reading.
On a mountain top in a faraway land, there was a lush green pasture. In this pasture there were many creatures big and small who each lived as nature had intended.
There were snakes, frogs, mice and birds of all types. Across this pasture there was a great river which gave them all a place to cool and quench their thirst.
On a hot and dry afternoon some clouds began forming in the East. Many creatures had seen these clouds before and they knew of how much rain they would bring. They were also aware that sometimes these clouds brought with them the angry lights as they were called for these creatures did not know any better. These angry lights were capable of causing great strife as they often touched the ground and trees and fire rose from them.
Soon after these ominous clouds settled over this green pasture land the angry lights made their presence known and unleashed their fury. Quickly the ground began to smoke and trees began to fall as the fast approaching fire raced towards the creature’s homes. Most panicked but knew what to do and most fled to safety.
However, one snake who had been slumbering in its burrow had not noticed the flames until they were almost on top of her. She ran to the river but could not get across as the rains had made it too dangerous. It then looked for another way out and saw a desolate mountain top some distance away. “Surely I would be safe up there, for the flames will not reach it.” She thought. “But there is no way than I can get there on my own.” She muttered to herself.
Almost resolved to being consumed by the flames she just stood there and waited for what was certainly its fate. Without warning and eagle landed on top of her and tightly clutched her in her talons. “Fine meal I have found, I will not go hungry this day.” She proudly said.
As she tried to take flight the snake started to bit her legs. Time and time aging the eagle let her fall and found herself having to work too hard for its meal. As they both were tired and could no longer keep up the struggle, it occurred to the snake that maybe there was a way that she would be saved from the flames and the eagle would get her meal.
I will surely die when the flames arrive and you will go hungry. I know a nest of mice in that there top. If you take me there I will catch some mice for the both of us.” She offered the eagle. The eagle was too tired to continue her struggle and realized that the snake would not be any easier to catch, so she hesitantly agreed but before carrying the snake she asked “how can I trust you to keep your word and catch some mice for me. After all you are a snake and your reputation precedes you.”
“That might be true, for I know that we snakes have a bad reputation, and cannot be trusted, but I give you my word. If you save me we will both get what we want.” Replied the snake.
The eagle knew very well that snakes were not trustworthy and that this one would probably turn on her the moment she left her on the mountain top. But she was really hungry and so were her chicks. She decided to gamble and trust the word of a snake.
She clutched once again the snake in her talons and hurriedly flew to the mountain top. Once she let the snake go, it quickly disappeared from sight into the ground. The eagle waited, and waited and finally could wait no more and besides her nest was but a few yards from the mountain top therefore she went to her chicks who had still not been feed.
The eagle felt ashamed for having been a fool and trusting the word of a snake and knew that she would have to wait till morning to catch something else. But the flames had consumed everything in their path, no food was left. She began to cry as she did not know how she would feed her young.
A few hours later, almost morning now, the eagle heard a rustling noise in the nearby ground and was amazed as the snake appeared with a very large mouse.
“I thought you had lied and I was ashamed for having trusted the word of a snake as your reputation precedes you, but I see I was wrong” the eagle said.
To which the snake replied “You see lady eagle, your reputation precedes you too. How many snakes have you taken, how many of those I knew I will know no more? I had to make sure that you would not come looking for me to eat me once you released me. But I too was wrong; you waited and did not come looking for me to eat me. You proved your word to be true so I looked and looked for the mice and here I am ready to keep my word to you.”
The eagle gladly took some mice and her chicks were fed till they could not feed anymore. As the day wore on, it occurred to the eagle that we often judge others by what other do, what others say and the experiences we have had, but that not everyone is the same and not everyone can be judge by the actions of others.
Just then she was reminded of the words she had heard a group of campers say some time ago "Don't judge a book by its cover."
“Judge others by their actions not by their looks or the name they happen to have.” Decided the eagle would now be her path.
© 2013 Luis E Gonzalez