Long ago in the animal kingdom, the snail family was one of the fastest in the land. Stories had it that they were so fast that they could compare with the hare, but they had one problem. They were too destructive and greedy, and they would always want everything for themselves. They had no respect for what belonged to others and they were too lazy to work or even hunt for their survival. They became the nightmare of other animals as well as the human farmers. They would occasionally destroy the vegetables and green leaves in people’s farms, leaving the farmers with nothing. Sometimes, the farmers catch them causing destruction to their farms, but because they are too fast, they run away and if the farmer makes any effort to chase them, he would end up falling and cursing at them. Not even the traps set by the farmers could catch the snails.
This led all the human farmers to embark on a long journey to the deserted mountain to ask the mountain witch for help. The mountain witch was an old woman who was feared and respected by both man and animal. She was known as the bringer of doom to the wicked hearted. She promised to help the farmers get their revenge on the mischievous snails.
The mountain witch decided to build a hut somewhere deep in the forest. She cultivated a portion of the forest and planted lots of attractive vegetables and other plants that the snails liked to eat. The land she had cultivated was near a road path wildly used by snails. She watered her plants always and made sure to weed it when necessary.
It did not take long before the snails noticed the old witch’s farm. They did not know that the farm belonged to a witch so they planned on a day to destroy the plants in the farm. One day when the old witch came to water her plants, she discovered that they had been destroyed by the notorious snails. She smiled and went back to her hut. The following day, she came and planted weeds and other things she knew that snails do not eat. She made sure to water them daily until they grew plump and attractive.
When the snails saw the weeds the old lady had planted, they decided to destroy it. They went to her farm and cut down the shrubs and weeds, packed them together and took them to the old witch’s doorstep. When the witch woke up the following day, she saw the weed heaped at her doorstep and smiled.
She took the weed inside and decided to cook a portion with them. she was able to make a slimy portion out of the weeds. After she was satisfied with the portion she had made, she sent an invitation to all the snails in the forest saying
“I had planted some special weed in my farm and when I was too lazy to harvest them, you gathered them out of your goodwill and sent them to my doorstep. I therefore invite you to a dinner at my house as a thank you for the kindness you have shown me”
When the snails received the invitation, they decided to go enjoy the free meal at the witch’s hut. The witch welcomed them with a smiling face and fed them the slimy portion she had made. They found the food strange but because it tasted good, they ate it all. Some of them even stole extra food from the witch’s pot. The witch saw it all but still continued to smile at them.
It was after they had left the witch’s hut that they began to notice the changes in their body. They could not move as fast as they usually did and their body became very slimy. They needed moisture at all time to keep their body from drying out and enable them get more oxygen. When the weather turned hot and dry, their body begins to dry out.
They looked for the old witch to reverse the curse she had placed on them, but she was nowhere to be found. Some of them decided to go live in the water where there will be no sun to dry their body.
Lead image from unsplash