28 December 2015

The Fall - a short story

The story below is nothing new. It is from the Bible. But, as a story teller, I had to regale a group of tweens and I thought I should make it imaginative and visual without really pushing in the didactic angle to it. Feel free to use it to entertain kids as a story telling, but please do give me the courtesy through a simple acknowledgement.

THE FALL
(How the Garden of Eden was lost... forever!)

The Garden of EDEN




God took six days to create the world. Then He took a day off. The Seventh Day. However, one cannot go on a holiday forever; definitely not God. He is the Creator and the Preserver. So he went about preserving. Preservation is the art of management. He went about managing the plants and the trees, the birds and the animals... He created a beautiful garden.

Beautiful beyond words. It was the equivalent of the Paradise above. It was called the Garden of Eden. Here all year long it was green, it was joy and happiness. Animals never preyed on each other. The strong and the meek co-existed together. Lions, deers, tigers, lambs, wolves, rabbits, bears, squirrels... And the flowers were unfading, the fruits were ripe always, the water spouted as clear springs, ran as bubbly streams, fell into the ponds where one could gaze into the crystal clear depths like into a mirror. It was heaven!

Here God let Adam and Eve live happily ever after. Wait! Is there a happily ever after where humans are involved? Yes, if we are happy and content with what we have. It is human nature not to be. How does our story take a turn?

There were two trees. The Tree of Life and The Tree of Knowledge. The Tree of Life they were allowed to eat from. As long as they ate the fruits from The Tree of Life, they would be eternal. The Tree of Knowledge, He forbade them to eat from. “Be it known, that you two may roam around wherever you want to in this garden, shall have the fruits of all, but one. This...,” he pointed to The Tree of Knowledge, “you shall avoid eating from, if you want to live eternal and here.” Then He went about his work.

There was a snake. It was the wiliest of all God’s creation. The snake had once been an angel in Paradise and was God’s most trusted and beloved angels. One day the angel got funny ideas of becoming God and challenging His authority... and got thrown out of Heaven. Cursed to be a snake. It waited for revenge.

When Adam was out and about, tending to the gardens, watering the plants and sowing seeds and reaping harvest, Eve was bored. She did what a lot of us do. She wandered through Eden. She sauntered by past The Tree of Knowledge. She passed it by, looking longingly at the ripe, red, juicy fruits that hung ever so tantalisingly close. She stopped. Took two steps back. Stood under the tree. The longing to reach out and pluck one of them, just only one of them once, was building up. “NO Eve!” said an inner voice. She hastened past it, forgetting the longing. The snake, hidden behind the leaves of a higher branch of the selfsame tree, saw this, rolled its eyes in a naughty twirl, smirked. A plan was born! Revenge! It would wait, patiently.

The days rolled by. All was well and God was in Heaven. Of course, he came for daily visits to Eden to know of the well-being of his creation.

Another day. Adam as usual was out and about, working. Eve sauntered around. She wandered past by The Tree of Life, then to The Tree of Knowledge. Something like a magnet welled up inside her and drew her to the Tree. The need was growing. She half-raised her right hand, the delicate fingers cupping the fingers like she was about to pluck a ball. The fingers gently quivered, a strange feeling coursing through the body, from toe to head. She stopped. “Hello... Go ahead!” A voice!

Eve turned around. No one. She looked to the ground. Nothing. She looked up: a little bobbing head from amid the leaves of a branch was smiling at her in a very friendly manner. “Who are you?” “Nevermind me,” the snake said, “what is important is how you feel!” It smiled gently, enticingly. Eve smiled back, not sure, vaguely. “Go ahead! Pluck the fruit.” “Nnnnno!” stuttered Eve, “God has told us to stay away from these fruits. He is our Father and Father know better.” She hurried away. The snake was disappointed. Ssssssooo close! I’ll bide my time, it thought to itself.

Eve didn’t tell this to Adam. You can trust her with a secret, surely! But that night, she slept fitfully. The snake and the fruits kept appearing in her dreams alternately, one after the other, until they were mixed up in a flash of montage and she slept off.

The next day. She decided not to wander through that way. She chose another part of the garden. After all, it was huge. A few days passed and one day, she decided she had not passed by The Tree. She walked in that direction. As though guided by some force, she stopped under The Tree of Knowledge. Should I? Should I not?... I should not! She stepped out of the shadows of The Tree and was about to walk off... “You should!” came a voicsssse! The snake. It stepped down from the tree. Wonder of wonders! Snakehead, walking on two legs, like herself, like Adam! She gaped with open mouth.

The Snake chose the moment, reached out, “inky, pinky, ponky,” selected a rich, red, juicy fruit, opened its mouth, bit it deep that juice, sweet smelling, flowed at the corners of its mouth, down its arm! Eve was transfixed. “See.... I ate. Nothing has happened. Do not deny yourself happiness. Go ahead, bite... Bite!”

“Bbbbut... But but, I shan’t. Orders are orders. I want to live here, eternal. This is dangerous.”

“Bah! You do not seem to know everything. This is The Tree of Knowledge. He has forbade you not to eat because... Well, it is not my business,’ the Snake tried to walk away, carelessly. “Listen... Look... Tell me what don’t I know. What is not your business? Please,” asked Eve.

“Nnnnothing!”

“No, please!”
“Okay. This is The Tree of Knowledge. Anyone who eats the fruits from The Tree will attain Knowledge as God has. Now, if you get Knowledge, you will know everything He knows. He wouldn’t want that, would He? You should want that, wouldn’t you? Eve!”

She had to know. With a flutter of her heart, she reached for the fruit, slowly, delicately brought it close to her lips, with trembling fingers and racing heart.... As her teeth sunk into the succulent flesh of the fruit, a million volt of many things coursed through her veins. The Snake watched, victorious.

Adam, having completed his morning’s work, was heading home for lunch. He happened to be passing by. Eve saw him, “Come here! This is wonderful.”

Adam halted in his tracks. Open-mouthed, he saw with shock on his face, Eve holding a partly bitten fruit, standing under the tree, The Snake next to her. In a minute he understood what had happened. “Eve, Eve, what have you done, oh! That will be it. You have broken God’s Law.”

“Adam, but, this is wonderful. You should taste it too. It is juicy, it is delicious and so very unlike other fruits in the other trees,” she extended the forbidden fruit. Adam was afraid. Also, he did not want Eve to face God alone. He took the fruit in his hand and without delay bit into it. The Snake watched, satisfied. He was beaming smiles.

That moment, as the juices of the fruit raced through his veins, Adam felt funny, looking at Eve curiously as never before. Looked at himself, looked back at Eve. She felt strange, too, looking at Adam looking at her. She felt as if he was scrutinising here. They both held eyes, only for a second, looked back at each other’s bodies, fled behind a bush each, farther from each other, hiding their nakedness from one another. Only their heads showed from behind the bushes. They stayed there, feeling sorrowful, shameful, until almost evening. The Snake? Well, he went back to the branches above.

When the evening came, God came by, to see if his creation was all right. By this time, Adam and Eve had managed to roughly hew a string of leaves for themselves to hide their naked bodies, Adam around his waist, till mid-thigh and Eve around her shoulders and her waist. God saw them. Why are you wearing these? Sheepishly they both came forward. “Ah... Um...” chorused both.

“Did you eat the forbidden fruit?” God gritted his teeth. They were guilty and stood silently. “DID YOU?” God thundered. “Ye...ye...yes, Father!”

“I had warned you not to. Now you know. You feel naked, you feel guilty, you feel pained. GO AWAY from Eden!” They could not look at him. Red-faced, they turned. “WAIT!” He quickly made a dress for each, hewn from Fig leaves. “Wear these... Now leave! But before you leave, let me know how you came to pluck this fruit. How did you muster courage?”

Adam pointed his looks at Eve, who in turn pointed her eyes to the branches above. “The Snake!” hissed God icily. It was the scariest they had felt in his presence. “For heeding to his tempting words, from now onwards you will lose this place. You will find yourselves in a hard landscape, and Adam, you will have to till the land doubly hard, find water by yourself to feed you land. You will toil through scorching sun and chill moon, till your body throbs with pain. Eve, you shall bear children and undergo extreme pain in the process, lose a lot and bring them out. You will both SUFFER! Get out!”

He turned to The Snake, “You shall lose your feet, grovel before me, slither on the ground, find no proper food, live in the pits of the earth, travel on your belly like the worm you are, eat dust and suffer. People will hate you. You will be the enemy of humans! They will hate you, you will bite at their feet and they will kill you.” He shook his fists wrathfully. It was terrifying.

In a moment, around Adam and Eve, the landscape had changed. They were outside the Garden of Eden, the gates have been bolted, a flaming sword swung around fiercely in front of the gates, preventing humans from entering the Heaven on Earth; and the sun burned down on them... as sadly they trudged away.
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