[A WOMAN sways rhythmically. Her eyes closed, she seems to be aware of nothing but the hypnotic movement of her own body. She is terribly beautiful.]
[After a few moments, her eyes flash open, and a half-smile creeps across her face. She places a finger gently to her lips.]
WOMAN: Shhh! Shhh! Shhh! Come closer. Look into my eyes!
I always was a fascinating creature, you know. Tender, sensitive, thoughtful. I was wise beyond my years. And so flexible in the writhing of my graceful body. It will give you pleasure to watch me dancewill it not? Shall I dance for you? Shall I coil up into a ring? Shall I flash my scales and wind myself around? Shall I clasp you to my steel body in a gentle, cold embrace? One of many! One of many!
Shhh! Shhh! Look into my eyes!
Why do you look away? Don’t you like my writhing and my straight, piercing gaze? Oh, my head is heavytherefore I sway quietly. My head is heavytherefore I gaze straight ahead as I sway. Come closer. I want to feel your warmth. That’s rightstroke my wise forehead with your fingers; in its fine outlines you will find the form of a cup into which flows knowledge, the dew of the evening-flowers. When I stir the air by my writhing, a trace is left in itthe design of the finest of webs, the web of dream-charms, the enchantment of noiseless movements, the inaudible hiss of gliding lines. I am silent and I sway myself. I look ahead and I sway. What is this strange burden I carry on my neck?
I love you.
I always was a fascinating creature, and those that I loved were loved tenderly and truly. Come closer. Come. Do you see my teeth? My white, sharp, enchanting little teeth? I used to bite when I kissed, you know. Not painfully, nojust a nibble. A tender caress. I would bite until the first bright drops of blood appeared, until a cry came forth which sounded like the tinkling of a bell. It was very pleasantdo not think otherwise; if my little bite was unwelcome, those whom I kissed would not have come back for morewould they? And they did come back! They came as if drawn by some irresistible forceby the pull of the moon! They could not help themselves! And I kissed them many times! It is only now that I can kiss but oncehow sadonly once! One kiss for eachhow little that is for a loving heart, for a sensitive soul, striving for a perfect union! But it is only I, the sad one, who kiss but once, and must seek love againmy lover knows no other love after mine: to him my one, tender, nuptial kiss is binding and eternal. I will not deceive you. Be patient, and when my story is endedI will kiss you too.
I love you.
Look into my eyes. Is it not true that my eyes are magnificent and enchanting? Have you ever seen such a firm look, a straight look? It is steadfast, like steel forced against your heart. I look ahead and sway myself, I look and I enchant; in my green eyes I gather your fear, your loving, fatigued, submissive longing. Come closer. I am a queen now and you cannot fail to see my beauty; but there was a time onceah, what a strange time! The thought of it troubles mewhat a strange and confusing time! No one loved me. No one worshipped me. I was persecuted with such cruelty, trampled in the mud and jeeredAh, what a strange time it was! One of many! One of many!
I told you to come closerdid I not?
Why did they not love me? Was I not a fascinating creature then, as I am now? Only then I lacked malice; I was gentle and kind-hearted, and I danced wonderfully. But they tortured me. They burnt me with fire. Those heavy, coarse beasts trampled upon me … their terrible weight pressing down … cold tusks and bloody mouths tore my tender bodyand in my powerless sorrow I bit the sand, I swallowed the dust of the groundI nearly died of despair. I was near death every day, crushed. Every day I was dying of despair. Oh, what a terrible time it was! Do you not pity me? The stupid forest has forgotten everythingit does not remember that time, but I remember. Come closer. Comfort meme, the offended, the sad one, the loving one who dances so beautifully.
I love you.
You understand medo you not? You alone? How was I to defend myself? I had only my white, wonderful, sharp little teeththey were good only for kisses. How could I defend myself from those terrible beasts? It is only now that I carry on my neck this terrible burden of a head, and my look is commanding and straight, but then my head was light and my eyes gazed meekly. Then I had not yet any poison. Oh, my head is so heavy, it is hard for me to hold it up! I have grown tired of my looktwo stones are in my forehead, and these are my eyes. Perhaps the glittering stones are preciousbut it is hard to carry them instead of gentle eyesthey oppress my brain. It is so hard for my head! I look ahead and sway myself; I see you in a green mistyou are so far away. Come closercome and brace me up. You are very strongare you not? Come and show me your strength. I am trembling.
You see, even in sorrow I am beautiful. I am only weak because of love. Look into my pupil; I will narrow and widen it, and give it a peculiar glitterthe twinkling of a star at night, the playfulness of all precious stonesof diamonds, of green emeralds, of yellowish topaz, of blood-red rubies. Look into my eyes: It is I, the queenI am crowning myself, and that which is glittering, burning and glowingthat robs you of your reason, your freedom and your lifeit is poison. It is a drop of my venom. But I warned youdid I not?
How has this happened? I cannot say. I bear you no ill-willyou nor the others. One of many!
I lived and suffered. I was silent. I languished. I hid myself when I could; I crawled away hastily. But they pursued me without mercyuntil I could no longer weep, they pursued me! I, who wept such great tears, such wonderful tears of passionI cannot weep; and my easy dance grew ever faster and ever more beautiful. Alone in the stillness, alone in the thicket, I danced with sorrow in my heartthey despised my swift dance and would have killed me if they could. Suddenly my head began to grow heavy … how strange it is! My head grew heavy, just as small and beautiful, just as wise and beautiful, it had suddenly grown terribly heavy; it bent my neck to the ground, and hurt my delicate body. Now I am somewhat used to it, but at first it was dreadfully awkward and painful. I thought I was going to die. But I did not die.
And suddenly ... come closer now … look into my eyes. Shhh! Shhh! Shhh!
And suddenly my look became heavyit became fixed and strangeeven I was frightened! I was frightened of myself! I wanted to turn and glance awaybut I could not. I could only look straight ahead, as I do nowI could only pierce with my eyes ever more deeply; I was petrifiedlook into my eyesjust as everything I look upon becomes petrified. Look into my eyes.
I love you. Do not laugh at my story. If you do, I shall be cross. I shall not give myself to you. And I want to open my heart, my sensitive heart, I want to share with you everything, my whole being, my essence! I want you to understand my suffering. I want a consort, an equal, a perfect union … but it is not possible. All my efforts are in vainI am alone. I will always be alone. My first and final kiss is full of rippling sorrowand the one I love is not here, and I must seek love again, and tell my tale from the beginning, if only to hear a familiar voicemy heart cannot bare itself, and the poison torments me and my head grows heavier. Am I not beautiful in my despair? Come closer.
I am almost ready to kiss you.
Once I was bathing in the forestI love to be cleanit is a sign of noble birth, and I bathe frequently. While bathing, dancing in the water, I saw my reflection, and as always, fell in love with myself. I am so fond of beautiful things! And suddenly I sawon my forehead, among my other inborn adornments, a new sign … a strange sign … Perhaps it was this sign that brought the heaviness, the petrified look, and the sweet taste in my mouth. Here a cross is darkly outlined on my foreheadright herelook. Come closer. Is it not strange? I did not understand at the time; I liked itI thought it beautiful. But on the same day, on that same terrible day, when the cross appeared, my first kiss became also my lastmy kiss became fatal.
Even now, I can taste the venom. I am preparing it for you. I was always fond of precious stones, but think, beloved, how much more precious is a little drop of my poison. It is such a little drop. Have you ever seen it? Never, never. But you shall. You shall see! Consider how much suffering, painful humiliation, powerless rage I had to endure in order to bring forth this one little drop. I am a queen! In this tiny drop, I carry death unto the living, and my kingdom is limitless, even as grief is limitless, even as death is limitless. I am queen! My look is inexorable. My dance is terrible! I am beautiful! One of many! One of many!
Oh! Come closer. Come to me. My story is not yet ended.
That day, I crawled into the cursed forest, into my green dominion. I was a queen, and like a queen I bowed graciously to the right and to the left. And theythey ran away! Like a queen I bowed to my subjectsand they, queer peoplethey ran. Why did they run? Look into my eyes. Do you see in them anything frighteninga terrible glimmer and a flash? Do you feel fear? Do the rays of my crown blind your eyes? Are you petrified? Are you lost? I shall soon dance my last dancedo not fall. I shall coil into rings, I shall flash my scales dimly, and I shall clasp my steel body to you in a gentle, cold embrace. Here I am! Accept my only kiss, my nuptial kissit is the deadly grief of all oppressed lives. One of many! One of many!
I love you.
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Copyright © 2006 by Walter Wykes
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