Category Archives: King Snake

A Modern Fairy Tale

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Once upon a time, a little girl named Rosie liked to climb trees

and reach for the sky. She liked picking apples to bring to her

mother, she enjoyed picking blueberries when visiting her

grandmother, and she liked pretending most of all.

Rosie learned one early Fall, while only 7 years old, that

there were a lot of neat reptiles out there. She liked to look

in the creek for polliwogs (in the Spring), she liked very

much to see frogs (in late Summer) and hear their croaking,

along with the bullfrog’s deep, throaty call for a mate.

What caught her attention one day at school, was a

very nice, visiting elderly gentleman who came to tell her

second grade class about snakes. He had a cage and a glass

aquarium with little snakes. She boldly raised her hand, to

announce with pride,

“I have picked up garter snakes in and around my Mother’s

asparagus garden!”

Rosie was laughed at, then, for she was not yet pronouncing

all of her “r’s” and the sentence came out with “w” sounds

for “r’s.”

The elderly gentleman had kind deep blue eyes but they

became a little cold as he glanced around the room. There

was a regal appearance of authority in that gaze. He

stopped the laughter with that searching look and then

answering only Rosie,

“Well, that is tremendous and shows a lot of bravery on

your part, young lady.”

Rosie looked, thankfully, back into the blue eyes that

shone warmly at hers alone.

He then asked her, and her alone,

“Do you like to climb trees and play in the woods?”

She answered without hesitation,

“Yes, I do!”

(Thankfully, no “r’s” needed in those words, but

somehow Rosie knew no more sniggers from the

other children would occur upon this day.)

The kind sir with formal manners responded,

“Well, class, I want to tell you of a wonderful friend to

all children, a King Snake!”

On Rosie’s way home from school, sitting on the bus

riding on her own seat, as she usually got to be alone.

She thought of the words describing the snake that

had protective powers, that ate small rodents and

scared other snakes in and around Ohio away. She

was amazed at the posters the man had shown and

his words echoed in her head,

“When you are all alone, the king snake can be your

friend, he can protect you from other animals and

just by being wrapped around a branch close by, he

can keep the ‘bad snakes’ away.”

Once she got home from school she finished her

daily chores, did her homework, and changed her

school clothes into her play clothes. She ran into the

kitchen asking her mother,

“How much time do I have to go and play outside?”

“Rosie, would you mind washing your hands and

setting the table first?”

She replied earnestly, “No, Mother, I would not mind

at all!”

She quickly finished the last task and as she flew out

the door, her mother said,

“Rosie, if you hear the bell ring, come right away! No

dilly dallying!”

“Yes, Mother!” cried Rosie, running down the path in the

garden and out into the woods. She ran to the best

climbing tree around, with its old gnarled branches

and a lower one which she could stand on a big root

and climb easily up, throwing her leg over that

branch.

While she climbed she sang her father’s songs, she

knew some of the old sweet tunes, especially loving

the one that started,

“My wild Irish rose, the sweetest one that grows…”

(Note, written by Chancy Olcott, in 1899.)

While the song warbled over the air waves, a sleeping

King Snake heard those precious little girl’s song. His

heart warmed to the thought of her being so trusting

and he remembered how she had perched all summer

up in the tree, munching on apples or bringing a half

sandwich to share some crumbs with the birds below.

He realized he needed to let her know his presence,

but was unsure of how to approach her. He was not

aware of her lesson that day of the nonpoisonous

nature of the king snakes.

Nor did he realize the Wizard had taken the form of

a visiting naturalist and professor of science. He only

knew he wanted to let her know he had watched over

her all summer and would continue to do so. He had

decided Rosie was the missing Princess of Wild Roses.

He found her gentleness and kindnesses very sweet.

King Snake came up the branches of the trees,

approaching with some noise, hoping that by

breaking branches, Rosie would notice him before

too long.

Rosie heard the branches crackling and took a small

gasp, but there was more of a sound of relief than

fear in her gasp! King S. noticed this immediately,

wondering if Wizard had passed a spell of bravery

upon her. He would have to stop by his house on

the other end of the woods!

King Snake had a circlet around his neck, trying

not to drag it or snap its woven shape. He crept

closer, now hissing was not one of his character’s

traits but he thought it might announce his

arrival.

Rosie, seeing the snake, said,

“I was hoping there was a King Snake around!”

She noticed the circlet and gently pulled it off his

neck, and put it as a crown on her head.

The bell sharply clanged, she could not dilly dally

at this moment so gently touched the head of the

snake, saw no movement or scary tongue or any

other kind of sign that he was even awake, he kept

so motionless.

She said aloud, “King Snake, thank you for my

crown! I must go to eat dinner but will see you

tomorrow!”

As she ran down the path to her house, an amazing

thought went through her head!

She had not made any errors in speech, her “r’s”

had been clearly pronounced! Princess Wild Rose

had been totally put under the spell of good speech

and forever more would she never be alone in the

woods.