A Very Short Story by Steve Huckle

While walking to the bus one damp, cold, December morning, a kind man spotted a snail in the middle of the path. He was worried that it might get trodden on, so he picked up the snail, and put it on the grass verge.

“For crying out loud!” thought the angry snail. “It took me four hours to get that far!“ The snail realised that it was going to be late evening, at best, until he saw his children, because they lived down the drain by the road, all the way across the other side of the path. ”The wife is going to be livid!“ the snail muttered through clenched shell. ”Bloody do-gooders!”

But just as the snail was resigning itself to another long day on the road, along came someone much wiser, who had seen the actions of the kind man. Though she admired the well-meaning intention of moving the snail out of harms way, she knew that, sometimes, it was best not to interfere. So she put the snail back where it was; in the middle of the path.

“What on earth is ’appening?“ thought the confused snail. “One minute, I’m here. Next there. Then I’m here again!” But then a realisation dawned on him: "At least I might make lunch now!” and so he continued on his journey, happily considering how pleased his children would be to see him much earlier than they might have done otherwise.

Meanwhile, a Jackdaw was sat on a telephone wire above the road, keenly watching the snail. As soon as the wise woman had moved on, the jackdaw swooped down and snapped up the snail in its sharp beak. Then he flew high into the sky. Up! Up! Up! he flew, higher and higher until the frightened snail was soon gasping for oxygen. And then the Jackdaw let his prey drop. The poor snail, who was, moments before, struggling for oxygen, suddenly had lots of it rushing into his lungs. And then: “Thwap!” his shell was shattered as he crashed into the road.

“What’s going on now?” thought the terrified snail, moments before the jackdaw fell on him and gobbled him up.

“Thank God for the wise!” chuckled the Jackdaw, on a full stomach.

Sometimes even the wise must acknowledge a greater wisdom.

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