A Little Bit of Hope
Once upon a time there was a snake named Myrna. Myrna was not a happy snake. She was, in fact, a very lonely snake. All day long she lay in her cage, wondering why she was stuck inside and those humans who took everything for granted were allowed to roam freely in the great big world outside of her cage. Myrna longed for freedom and also for companionship. But, day after day, Myrna woke up to the same four walls with the same little view and the same old food with the same old keeper to tend her. Now, Myrna wasn’t really unhappy with what she had, but she also was not really happy. Each day, the sameness of her life became more and more oppressive until one day, Myrna woke up in despair: she would never be able to get away from this life of four walled enclosure until the day that she died. While Myrna lay on the bottom of the cage, mourning her hopes for freedom, the rest of the world continued on just as it always had done.
All day, the people came and went, taking little notice of the large snake in the small cage. A little while before closing time, when most of the people were straggling to the exit, mothers tiredly pushing strollers or carrying their sleepy little children, a very small boy with bright eyes was still pulling his mother around to the many cages containing exotic or interesting animals that he had never seen before—this of course did not include Myrna. Sighing deeply in despair, Myrna rearranged her coils and settled down for a long night. But just as Myrna was closing her eyes, she saw a flicker of movement near the corner of her cage.
The energetic little boy had finally released his sticky grip on his mother’s hand and was exploring on his own. As he neared Myrna’s cage, he tripped—falling face first onto the ground. Myrna braced herself for the inevitable, pathetic wails, scrunching her eyes shut and tightening her coils. After a few seconds during which no such sounds reached her, Myrna carefully opened her eyes and almost shed her skin in surprise.
The little boy with the bright eyes was staring at her curiously with his hands and nose plastered to the glass wall of her cage. While his mother wearily trudged over to get him, he spoke to Myrna in his strange toddler dialect.
“Hello, snake! You are a really big snake. My brother told me that big snakes eat little boys, but momma says they don’t.” he said matter-of-factly, still staring at Myrna.
His mother was finally standing beside him now, looking at Myrna.
“Well, are you ready to go home yet?” His mother asked.
“Not yet, momma. This snake looks sad. Why is it so sad, momma?” The boy asked with concern.
“Well, I expect that a big snake would be cramped in such a small cage, and also very lonely with no one to play with.” His mother answered.
“Can’t we help the snake, momma?” The boy asked eagerly, looking up at her with pleading eyes.
“I’m sorry, son, but we already have 3 tigers, 4 bears, and an opossum. Not to mention the elephant in the garage. There is simply no place to put it.” His mother answered.
“It could sleep in my bed!” the boy replied.
“I don’t think that would be a very good idea, honey. Besides, I’ve heard that snakes are terrible blanket hogs.” She replied, taking one of his hands. “It’s almost closing time; we have to go home, now.” She said, gently pulling him toward the exit.
The little boy looked back over his shoulder at Myrna and gave her a little wave and—Myrna blinked a few times to make sure she had seen what she thought she had—a little wink before he turned around. Myrna was thankful for the boy’s concern, and realized that there might be hope for her afterall.