...and upon the garden of Eden, hidden between the fruit trees, and the berry bushes, lived the snail. and it was just so, that in those days, snails had two wriggly arms with short curvy fingers. that they used to great affect; they applied them adeptly both for foraging in the bush and for walking and even galloping upon them as we do with feet.
you see, the good lord, on the fifth day of the creation of the world, populated the land and the sea with the great abundance of animals. he endowed each of these animals with the knowledge of living as they still are ; lions hunted, gazelles grazed, cows chewed the cud, bees made honey, spiders wove webs, weevils bored the husks and on and on. magnificent was his creation and the world was beautiful and flourishing.
The day following, on the sixth day, the good lord of all creation, created man and woman. he told them to be fruitful and inherit the earth. the creator admonished them though, that under no circumstance , must they eat of the fruit of the tree of wisdom , neither should they consume the fruit of the tree of life.
with what must be great satisfaction at a marvelous accomplishment, the creator now considered his work complete. He desired to rest for the effort was great. And god was all but ready to close his weary eyes, when then he heard the disturbing sound of Adam, the father of us all, smack a mosquito that landed on his bare leg. he soon also heard Eve, scratching herself , rasping desperately at her skin. she was flea-bitten, and her skin was already red, with tetters and bites.
the good lord was and IS merciful, and so with much care , he commanded all the animals to continue consuming of each other as they pleased, only that he now forbade them all from ever eating the flesh of man, nor bite it, nor drink of it’s hot blood.
so now , it seems, for man and woman, there was a prohibition and for animal alike, there was a prohibition.
and so , relieved of his labor, the good lord went to rest for a day of Sabbath.
Sadly, Adam’s skin was still afflicted and itchy, as the bites if the mosquitoes were deep and nasty. Eve too, scratched and itched ceaselessly, for the irritation was still unhealed and bothered her even onto madness.
it was then that the clever snail came forth, galloping on his two hands. shrewd he truly was, for he was born but a day earlier, but eschewed slumber and learned much, ere the arrival of man.
“pardon me, friends” the snail began. “you seem both to be of great discomfort. what is the matter? Perhaps I could be of assistance.” he said while cleaning his nails studiously.
“Oh, good snail! We seem to be infested with vermin,” said Adam and scratched “and though god has told all beasts to leave us in peace, blessed be him, their bites are still very sorely felt” he continued, raking his skin all along.
“oh, that is a grievous problem. but I feel certain that knowledge of the remedy is within my ken. follow me, my friends, and you shall find relief.”
And so, the snail led Adam and Eve through the scenic pathways of paradise. They passed through, all manner of verdant groves, lush bushes and green fields, all the way to the tree of life, which stood alone, surrounded by the grassland. To say that the tree of life was beautiful would be a bitter injustice. Surly no poetry nor music written by man could capture such a breathtaking sight. its bark was soft to he touch as silk, magnificent in its foliage and rich with ripe fragrant fruit.
“friends, “ said the snail, picking from off the ground a fruit that had fallen in the wind. “here is your cure” he held out the marvelous fruit for them to take.
“Gentle snail” said the woman. “I must remind you, that my lover, Adam and I are forbidden to eat of this fruit. “
“indeed, my good lady.” replied he, “it is no secret to me, that the lord forbade you both to eat of this fruit. but pray tell, did he bar you from making other uses of it?”
“What is your meaning, friend?” asked Adam, for he had yet to eat of the fruit of the tree of wisdom and could not imagine of a use to a fruit, other then sustenance.
“why, it is plain for me to see!” exclaimed the snail happily, “a fruit or any other thing for that matter, may have more than a single usage” he smiled wisely. “I shall teach you of my art, if you wish. But I regret to inform you that it will not be without a price.” said the snail and gazed at Eve.
“What shall be your terms?” inquired she.
“Well, my lady, there are many things that our lord created, which are fair to look at. but you, my dear, are truly the center-piece of this garden of paradise. I will ask for a kiss, and nothing more.”
“a kiss?” smiled Eve “I shall kiss you gladly, as I would kiss my man.” said Eve . in her innocence , she saw no wrong in the request. she leaned down in anticipation.
but the snail stopped her.
“Forgive me, my lady, I was not clear and that is regrettable. although your lips are the roses of the forest, deeper in color than the cherry fruiting. of all your beauty, I desire most to kiss those fleshy cheeks upon which you sit. “
Puzzled by the gastropod’s request, Eve turned and attempted to see what it was that drew the snail’s eyes. She was not yet fully aware of all her many attributes. Adam too, was not unmoved. he smiled happily at the her shape, which only now he had noticed.
“well, your request is new to me, but I will gladly agree” said eve.
the snail was generously presented with Eve's cheeks and kissed each one at length. there was a clear grin on the snail's face, for he was greatly satisfied. he remained quiet for a long moment in obvious euphoria.
After coming to his senses, he set himself to the work at hand. adeptly, he peeled off the skin of the fruit of the tree of life. the windfall fruit had a rich odor and once it was inhaled, it brought a feeling of merriment and comfort, which lingered for many hours.
The wise snail took the peeled fruit and using a pair of smooth round pebbles, ground the fruit into a smooth paste. As Adam and Eve watched him do his work, they were awestruck . they were never taught anything before.
With the fruit milled thus into a paste, the snail took fallen leaves of the tree of life, which were as soft as velvet. he used the leaves to gently apply the salve, upon the reddened skin. he started with Adam, quickly treating his many inflammations. afterwards, the Snail took great satisfaction, applying the the same paste upon Eve's person.
The relief that the first humans felt, was instantaneous. the itching was over and the paste of the fruit easily peeled off, once its therapeutic function was realized. Leaving nothing but healthy, unblemished skin.
"oh, I feel so much better!" exclaimed Adam in great joy.
"my skin is perfection itself" said Eve.
"Yes, it truly is.” beamed the snail, “I trust I have not disappointed." said the snail with great pride.
“ YES, YOU HAVE!” they all heard suddenly. it was the creator of the world.
the good lord appeared above them with storm clouds and bolts of lightning. He was much displeased with the snail and with his most recent creation.
“I CAN'T EVEN TAKE A BREAK, WITHOUT SOME MISCHEIF TO OCCUR IN THIS GARDEN!” he thundered.
“forgive us, lord.” cried the frightened snail “we did not mean to cause offense, please do not hurt your humble creations..I did not hear word that we are not allowed to make good utility of the fruit of the tree of life, in a way other than as food. for you have strictly said only th-'
'SILENCE! WRETCHED BEAST' raged the lord. He was angry in a way that was unknown to the world before.
But his wrath was soon abated. Adam and Eve were innocent and while he forbade eating of the fruit, the lord did not explicitly forbid making use of it otherwise than food.
but it was clear that the snail was working with malice in his heart, as all snails do.
The good lord was saddened by the snail's betrayal and obfuscation. As we all know, the words of man can be twisted out of meaning but the lord knows what is the true intention of us all.
“IT IS TRUE THAT I HAVE NOT FORBIDDEN THE USE OF THIS FRUIT IN SUCH A WAY, BUT IT IS BEYOND DOUBT THAT YOU DID NOT ACT OUT OF KINDNESS TOWARDS MY CHILDREN, O RETCHED SNAIL. FOR THAT YOU SHALL BE MEET A MUCH-DESERVED PUNISHMENT. “ pronounced the creator and the snail trembled with fear.
The snail, for his loathsome character, was condemned to live out his life without his arms, slithering upon the ground as a slimy, cold, wet kiss. For his sowing of evil in the innocent hearts of Eve and Adam his own lips were shut together, forever consigning him to eat his meals, with but a small, raspy tongue.
“AS FOR YOU , ADAM AND EVE, “ the lord turned his attention to our most ancient ancestors, “KNOW THAT MY FORBARANCE OF YOUR INNOCENT MISTAKE IS NOT WITHOUT LIMIT. IT IS TRUE THAT I DID NOT BAN YOU FROM SUCH AN ACT IN WORD, BUT YOU ARE WISE ENOUGH TO HAVE SUSPICION WHEN SOMETHING IS RIGHT OR WRONG. AS SUCH, YOU HAVE FAILED TO RESTRAIN YOURSELVES FROM TAKING THE MALIGNANT SNAIL’S COUNCIL. NOR HAVE YOU PAUSED TO QUESTION HIS DEMANDS UPON YOU, EVE, WHICH ARE LOATHSOME AS THIS CREATURE IS ITSELF. FOR THAT YOU BOTH SHALL ALSO BE PUNISHED.”
And indeed, a punishment was soon found. the mosquitoes, ticks, flies and gnats and all other pests were allowed again to bite and suckle of the sweet blood of man. The vermin wasted no time, and descended once more, upon poor Adam and Eve.
however, the potency of the fruit of the tree of life is great indeed, long after it was applied , the vermin shunned as much as they could the taste of our ancestors. biting them only out of starvation itself.
Yea, as we all know, mosquitoes and other pests like the taste of man much more then woman and afflict the masculine gender with much greater malice. It is so since the days of paradise. The hateful creatures preferred to bite Adam and all his male offspring, as Adam was treated with the healing paste far less diligently by the greedy snail. Adam was soon scratching as before. sadly, his back was afflicted most of all.
In his pity, the good lord looked upon the uncomfortable man and said :'TAKE THEE THE WITHERED ARMS OF THE RASCAL SNAIL, WHICH HAVE FALLEN FROM HIS BODY LIKE THE AUTUMN LEAVES.. DRY THEM IN THE SUN SO THEY SHALL SERVE THEE IN THY PLIGHT!'
And so Adam did. The snail’s two arms were soon but withered remains, having fallen from the snail in just punishment. Within a day, the long arms of the snail quickly dried and hardened, and the fingers curled inwardly.
Adam , our forefather, knew not how the snails' desiccated arms could be of ay use, he had not yet fully understood the lesson that the snail had taught him, of finding additional usage and function to things. He tried to find use for the arms, but lacking in imagination, and wisdom, succeeded only in bringing more misery and consternation upon himself. he cried and lamented helplessly as the mosquitoes plagued him.
finally, it was Eve that saw, that this was not a mere stick that the snail’s arms had become. she held the device to her back and showed him, rubbing her skin with the dried fingers of the lusting snail.
and thus, my friends, a great invention was born: the back-scratcher.