Not so long ago, there lived a little girl in the bustling city. She was adored by all who knew her, not only for her smooth, ivory skin or her eyes and hair of luscious brown, but for her gentle, golden heart. She was always kind to those around her, she always did as she was told, and she was neither cruel nor cold, for none were cruel nor cold to her.
One day, the girl went on a walk in the streets of the city and saw a most peculiar sight. Hanging, from a lamppost, was a great, green Serpent. Its body was wrapped around the pole but stretched far longer than that along the buildings, and its head hung right before the girl’s.
“Good day to you.” said the Serpent.
“Good day,” the girl replied.
“Where might you be going?”
“Oh, nowhere in particular.”
“Splendid!” hissed the Serpent, “How would you like to visit my home for a spell? You won’t be gone long, I can assure you.”
“Of course, Mr. Serpent! I’d be delighted to!”
The Serpent grinned. “Then follow my tail, I’ll meet you at my home.”
With that, the Serpent uncoiled from the lamppost and pulled its head onto the nearest rooftop. The girl walked through the city, looking up every once in a while to find the Serpent’s body. Soon, she found herself in an older part of town, and she found the Serpent coiled about a lone tree in an empty lot.
“I’m sorry my home isn’t very pretty.” said the Serpent, “If I’d planned on having company, I’d have tidied up a little.”
The girl assured the Serpent that the tree was lovely, despite its decrepit surroundings.
“Would you like to come into the branches?” asked the Serpent.
“Yes, please,” said the girl. However, the girl could find no branch or knot with which to climb. “Excuse me, sir?” she said, “I can’t climb your tree.”
“Not a problem,” said the Serpent “let me help you.” His coils wrapped around the girl’s body and lifted her into the tree. “You must be hungry.”
The girl’s stomach grumbled, for she was hungry indeed.
“I’ve got something for you to eat.” the Serpent assured her. From a nearby branch, he picked an apple of the richest, deepest red, and filled it with his venom. He offered it to the girl, who reveled in its luscious, sweet, unforgettable juice as it flowed through her mouth. And this is how it went the next day, and the day after that, and the day after that.
The girl would come home, but she would come back to that tree every day, and every day, the Serpent would poison her. People soon found that the girl was changing. Where once she would comfort the suffering, she began to turn away. Where once she would do as her parents would tell her, she began to slack off. Where once she was vivacious and sweet, she grew slow and dull.
Everyone began to notice this, including the girl. She came to the Serpent and asked what to do.
“Why that is simply dreadful! I fear that this may have been my apples’ doing!”
“Do you really think so? I love your apples!” the girl whined.
“Why don’t you at least try not eating the apples for a while?”
It took some talking, but the girl reluctantly agreed. Every day, the girl longed for an apple, but nothing that she ate could match those sweet and luscious juices from the Serpent’s apples. She began to grow bitter without them. Nothing would please her, and everything annoyed her. The warm light of the sun would irritate her with its brightness, slight imperfections in food would ruin it, and other people grew loud and intrusive to her. Where once she would ignore the suffering, she would hurt them. Where once she would slack off, she would work to ruin her tasks. Where once she was slow and dull, she was now cruel and cold.
When she no longer drank venom, she became venomous.
Her parents tried to fix this, but their attempt ended horribly. The girl ran fast and far from home and told the Serpent all that had happened.
“How awful!” cried the Serpent. “Why don’t you stay here? You can eat my apples every day, and never worry about anything again.”
“Let’s do it, then.” the girl replied. “Now, get me an apple!”
The Serpent got an apple, and as usual, he hoisted the girl into the tree. He offered the apple to the girl, and the girl snatched the apple and chomped it greedily. However, just as the girl swallowed the apple, the Serpent swallowed the girl. The girl trusted a Serpent, and the Serpent bore its fruit.