The Snake And The Swan

When I was in NC

a guy I hung out with

told me a parable

I’ve never forgotten

The guy’s name was Steve

He had just gotten back

from Vietnam

Being the good

little hippie

I thought I was

I was, of course,

supposed to hate him;

to spit in his eye

for letting himself

get drafted and

fighting an unjust War

I couldn’t;

He was nice,

lonely; much

like myself~

a loner; an outsider

I used to talk with him

He did not judge me

We were discussing


and he told me

this story

I’ve never forgotten him

or this story:


There was a snake

and a swan

There’s a swan in a lake minding her own business, just swimming around, enjoying the day. A snake motions to her on the shore. She swims to him.
“If you carry me across the lake, you will have my friendship and gratitude for life” he tells her
“No”, the swan answers; you will bite me and your venum will spread through my body”
The snake pleads with her and finally, she argrees to take him to the other side.
She lowers her long, lovely neck and the snake slithers on.
They make their journey across the lake without event.
When they get to the other side, the swan once again lowers her neck so the snake can get off. As he gets off, he bites her; fatally wounding her. As she lays dying, she asks “Why did you do that. You promised you wouldn’t”
The snake looks at her and says “I didn’t want to. I didn’t mean to. I couldn’t help it. It’s who I am and it’s what I do.”
_____________________________________________________________________ this was the essence of all relationships. There would always be a swan and always be a snake. It was just the way relationships worked. At times, the swan and the snake would change roles.
Swans and Snakes; Snakes and Swans….that’s what the world was made of.
Now you know the story of the swan and the snake-

Thanks Steve!



  1. maryamchahine

    Great story! And probably very true to life. It’s sad in a way, but the way people are with each other.

    It’s amazing how someone might tell us something and the person doesn’t realize what effect it has on us and how well we may remember it years later.

    • jser67

      I can remember the story so clearly; down to the dress I was wearing. A boy had just broken up with me. Steve called the boy a “snake”: the explation was the parable.

      When I started a novel- I titled it: “The Snake And The Swan”.

      Thanks for the read. I’m glad you liked it.

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