Eve was lying in a chair, her naked skin soaking up the rays of the young sun. She held a drink in one hand while lazily plucking fruit from a bowl and slowly popping the seed bearing morsels into her mouth, one by one. Opening her eyes, she noticed a serpent watching her from one end of the garden. She had seen him before and found that he could speak, something none of the other animals could do. He was mostly a dull green color, with yellow spots in combinations of ones and twos running the length of his body. His eyes were black, and his searching tongue flashed pink as it slipped from his mouth to taste the air. “What are you doing, serpent?” Eve asked.
The serpent upon being recognized by Eve, slowly made his way toward her. His feet, ending in sharp claws, gripped the ground with ease as he walked. Stopping just shy of the woman’s feet he settled his body to the ground and lifted his elongated head. “If you’re not careful,” the serpent said, “you’ll sunburn your lady bits. That would be bad. You could use leaves from the trees to cover them for protection.”
Eve studied the serpent for a few moments. Before she came to be, Adam, the man, had given all the animals of the Earth names. She remembered now that this one had been named Clyde. “You speak in riddles, Clyde. I know not of what you mean,” she said. The serpent bristled at the name. He was the smartest and cleverest animal God had made and to think the stupid man decided to call him Clyde. It perturbed him to no end that an ignorant man such as Adam should be put in charge.
“Sunburn would be painful,” he replied, “especially on, shall we say, delicate areas. If you covered them with leaves, you wouldn’t have to worry.”
Eve wondered at the serpent’s language. He used many words she had no concept for, and often did not understand his meaning. “I have no idea what you’re talking about, Clyde,” she said.
Taking a different tack, Clyde changed the subject. “I see that God has placed a new tree in the garden.”
“Yes,” Eve said, “isn’t it beautiful?”
“Indeed it is. And the fruit is very desirable, is it not?”
“What is desirable?” Eve asked, not understanding the serpent’s meaning.
“When you look at it, do you not want to eat it?”
“We already have all we need to eat,” she said.
“Why did you say the tree is beautiful?” Clyde asked.
“Because it is beautiful, like all things in the garden.”
“If all things in the garden are beautiful, why then mention just one of them. Why point out that one of them is beautiful if all things are beautiful?”
“I…” Eve hesitated.
“Is it perhaps, more beautiful than other things?” the serpent asked.
“I don’t know what you mean,” Eve said. The serpent was beginning to confuse her.
“Am I confusing you?” he asked. “It seems there are many things you do not understand. It is known to me that if you eat the fruit of the new tree, you will be given understanding, and will know as God knows. Wouldn’t you like that?”
“What I know is that all things in the garden are beautiful, and we have all that we need. There is nothing more.”
“Ah, but there is more,” the serpent said, “much more. And you could know it all. You would know good and bad; you would know desire. You would be like God. Wouldn’t you like that?”
Eve set her bowl of fruit and her drink aside and stood from her chair. She stretched luxuriously and looking at the serpent she said, “Let’s go take a look at the new tree.” They walked through the garden, passed by Adam as he was tending a fruit bearing vine, and eventually came to the tree of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. Eve circled it as Clyde watched her with anticipation. He was close now, close to convincing her to eat the fruit.
“It is very beautiful,” he said, “wouldn’t you agree?”
“You are correct, Clyde, it is very beautiful. But God has said if we touch it or eat it, we will die.”
“So you understand that dying is bad?” Clyde asked.
“I understand that dying is something that God does not want for us. The words you use, good, bad, desire, want, and worry; these have no meaning for me. Tell me Clyde, why should I eat this fruit when all others are just as good? I think you wish for me things that God does not.”
“I wish only for your eyes to be opened so that you may see all that there is to see.”
Eve stepped to an adjacent tree and plucked a large leaf from its branches. Coming back to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, she used the leaf to grasp a piece of the fruit and pulled it from the branch, thus not touching it. The serpent’s eyes were wide now with anticipation. Eve stood before him, with the fruit in her hand. She understood that he wanted her to eat it and vaguely felt that there must be a reason for it but could not fathom why, and therefore his reasons had no meaning for her. He wanted her to go against God, which she had no reason to do. “Very well Clyde,” Eve said, “I will eat it, but only if you eat it first.”
The serpent knew that he would not be harmed by eating the fruit because he already had the knowledge of good and evil. “Certainly, my dear,” he said, and opened his mouth to accept the fruit from her hand. Eve thrust the fruit into the serpent’s mouth and down his throat, lodging it there. Clyde began to choke. He twisted and turned and clawed at his mouth, but not having hands he couldn’t grasp the fruit. As his mind began to cloud, he noticed Eve was smiling at him. “God was right, you stupid animal,” she said, “when you eat it, you die.”
As the serpent’s body lay lifeless in the garden, God came walking by. Eve was not afraid, for she did not possess the knowledge of good and evil, and therefore had no knowing of what it meant to fear. God stopped when he saw the serpent lying dead on the ground. He looked up at Eve who smiled at him, and he smiled back at her. “Thank you, Eve,” God said, “I’ve been meaning to do that for a while now.”