Long, long ago, when the grass was greener and the sky was bluer and the lakes were cleaner than they are today — long, long ago — snakes were round.
They were as soft and round as meatballs. They rolled up and down the hills, hither and yither, and when they were tired they gathered in little clumps of snake-balls to gossip and giggle and sing together.
Sometimes Pooleeporkies would come along, pick up a soft ball of a snake, and play catch with it.
You know what a Pooleeporkie is, don’t you? One of those enormous purple and green creatures with pink beady eyes and snorting snouts . . .
What? You’ve never heard of a Pooleeporkie?
Anyway, one day, two Pooleeporkies were playing catch with a particularly squishy, mushy snake — let’s call her Lucille — when all of a sudden Lucille started to recite a poem.
Maybe I forgot to tell you that snakes, back in the days when they were soft and smooshy, were wonderful poets. The thing is, until that fateful day they had never let the Pooleeporkies know it. It was all a well-kept secret until Lucille got confused and spilled the beans.
The two Pooleeporkies were mighty impressed by this poetry-spouting snake. They wanted to take Lucille home with them so they could listen to her poems anytime at all.
Mishka, the older Pooleeporkie, pulled Lucille toward him. But then Pishka, the younger one, pulled Lucille toward him.
I think you can guess what happened next.
There was pulling and tugging and pulling and yanking and pulling and stretching and pulling and pulling and pulling.
And before you could say onomatopoeia, Lucille lost all her lovely roundness.
Now she was l-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-n-g and skinny. She didn’t look anything like a meatball anymore. She looked more like a strand of spaghetti.
Ever since that day, snakes have been long and skinny.
And also silent.
Whatever poetry they know, they keep it to themselves.