About 10 miles down Old Creek Road lived a young country farmer, Mr. Hick. He lived in a beat up, rusty old barn house many miles from any neighbors, and so far out that he had walk miles to hitch a ride to the store in town. He was a very friendly guy, aimed to please everyone he met, but for some reason, people always ignored him. He was treated like the town joke, and all of this for just being a genuinely friendly country guy, which the townspeople thought was strange.
This day in particular, Mr. Hick couldn’t find any of his neighbors that would give him a ride into town. He just ate his last piece of bacon, which left him with no food in his entire house. Contemplating on what to do in this dilemma, the farmer decided he would have to walk that 20 miles into town to grab something for dinner at least. This prompted him to fill a jug of water to accompany him on his hike to the store, as well as a large backpack to transport the groceries around. He began his journey mid morning, and hoped to make the trip as quick as possible.
Along the way, Mr. Hick found a quite interesting creature roaming the skies. It appeared to be a black, beautiful, eagle. This was extremely rare, he didn’t even know if what he saw was real or just a flash of his imagination. Hurriedly, he tried to determine where the eagle had flown to. Flustered, he had to continue on his journey, as he couldn’t spot even a slight hope that this creature actually existed. Mr. Hick made it into town around early afternoon, and exhausted, he sat on the bench in town and looked up to the sky.
“I’m already so exhausted that I tremble each step, how can I possibly make it back home after grabbing food?”
It was as if those few minutes off of his feet gave him a whole new perspective on life. That mystical creature that he believed he spotted sparked motivation.
“I’ve made it this far, I can do this!”
“I must find that black eagle and introduce myself, maybe he’s the one who’s been saving my crops?”
With that, the farmer gathered himself up and walked into the store. Another hour flew by, and he was ready to begin the long journey back to his land. About 2 miles into his journey, turning a sharp corner surrounded by woods, Mr. Hick was stopped in utter shock. The black eagle that he saw on his journey to the store was struggling for life. An evil Serpent had coiled so tightly around the eagle that he couldn’t break free, or even fight for his life.
“MWUAHAHAHAHAHA,” the Serpent chanted.
Suddenly, the Serpent was knocked off his pedestal as Mr. Hick grabbed the snake in a position where he was able to loosen the grip of the eagle.
“Th-th-th-th…” the eagle murmured, in an attempt to say thank you, as he couldn’t make out any clear words.
“My pleasure, friend. Now time to introduce myself, are you the….” the farmer spoke, when the eagle flew off and left him mid sentence.
“Hmmmmm,” thought the farmer.
“I just saved that nice eagle’s life and he flies away so quickly?”
[Unbeknownst to the farmer, the Serpent had slithered on over to his jug of water and released loads of poison into his drinking water that would surely kill him.]
Confused, the farmer went to gather his stuff and continue on his journey. After walking about 5 more miles and almost reaching the halfway point, the farmer decided that it was time for him to sit down, drink some water, and take a nice long break. As he grabbed the water jug from his bag and placed it to his lips the eagle swooped by stealing the water jug right out of his hands!
“HEEEEEEEEEEEYYYYYYYY,” shouted the farmer, as he quickly leaped at a last attempt to recover his jug.
The attempt failed, and the eagle disappeared into the darkening sky, leaving the farmer perplexed.
A strong, heroic, act of kindness is repaid
In the short story, “The Serpent and the Eagle,” the story begins with a serpent surprise attacking an eagle, leaving him no room to attack back, and wailing to the soil. Suddenly, a countryman appeared, witnessing the unequal competition. He freed the eagle from the grasp of the serpent, and the serpent was furious. The serpent unleashed poison in the countryman’s “drinking horn,” and the countryman went on about his life unknowing. When thirst struck him, he filled his horn with spring water. The eagle then flew down and swooped the horn from him, hiding it to where it would never be found. The story ended with a moral of a kind act well repaid. In my version, I spent a lot of time setting up the story line with great emphasis on the location setting and characters. I incorporated a somewhat foreshadowing effect on the black eagle and it’s importance in the story. I added many new scenarios and ideas in my version, and dialogue to boot. I did want to end with the same moral of a kind act being repaid, but I also added a twist to mine, making it more of a heroic story as well.
The Aesop for Children with Illustrations by Milo Winter. This text can be accessed here.
Image 1: Old Red Barn Picture. Source: Flickr, by fireboat895
Image 2: Black Eagle. Source: Wikimedia Commons.