Tittle: Snail & Boy
Author: Gal Kleinman
Snail and Boy is a story about a boy who lost his family in the war. From the depths of despair, Boy overcomes his hardships, and discovers universal truths that give profound meaning to his life, and relationship to the world.
Boy's incredible transformation gets noticed by a very inquisitive snail, who eventually discovers Boy’s secrets, as they unfold, raising our awareness to deep life changing insights.
One day, Boy is astonished to discover a snail writing silvery letters on a wall, and from that moment on, a special relationship evolves between the two.
It is a story about love. It is a story about peace. It is a story about freedom.
Hopefully, Boy lives in each and every one of us.
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Snail rested snugly in its shell. The sun warmed its house and slowly thawed out the night's winter chill. Snails can hibernate in their shells for long periods of time, especially when climate conditions are tough. But Snail was extremely curios and tended to stick its body out of its shell, while its other snail friends slept away, protecting themselves from the harsh conditions. Snail just couldn't resist filling its senses with the outside world, exploring and learning about its surroundings.
Maybe it's because Snail was no ordinary snail. You see, snails can't really see that well, mostly shades of light and dark. But Snail could see clearly and in color too. They can't hear either. But Snail could hear and was fascinated by the sounds of nature and especially by human language. When put together with the fact that snails naturally have a great sense of smell and touch, all this made Snail very special indeed. I guess you can say that Snail was a kind of super snail with keen senses and insights.
"Insights?" you may ask yourself. "What do insights have to do with this creature?"
Well, Snail was a perpetual wonderer and wanderer. Snail liked learning, investigating and asking questions and especially about human nature. Human nature fascinated and perplexed Snail.
Interestingly snails are hermaphrodites, which means they have both male and female reproductive organs and they produce both eggs and sperms. So you, dear reader, are welcome to choose the gender of Snail in this story if you want to.
It was a bright lovely morning. The sky was clear blue and the air crisp and clear as Snail's thoughts. Snail slowly inhaled fresh cool air, looked at the sky, and slowly exhaled air up to the sky. But just as weather changes so did Snail's mood. In the distance, Snail heard thundering rocks exploding into fire and giant turtles rolling in its direction spitting fire from their mouths. This calamity was going on in the past few weeks. This greatly disturbed and perplexed Snail. Once in a while Snail could see men with long black sticks that made noise and killed other men. The sky was full of giant birds that dropped rocks that exploded in a blaze of fire, destroying land and inhabitants. These forms of destruction were referred to by kids in the neighborhood as "bombs", "tanks", "guns" and "planes", as they staged mock fights.
"What a strange animal humans are," Snail thought to itself.
"I can't grasp why they kill each other. If they could just see that living peacefully is much more simple and fun."
Snails may be slow but they are one of the oldest living creatures on the planet; they've been around for 500 million years! And Snail's forefathers have seen how humans have been gradually destroying the world and often times themselves.
"Humans believe they are the supreme crown of biological evolution," said a passing ant to Snail one day.
"Yes, I agree with that," said Snail. "And they are playing out that role of supreme beings in what they call modern civilization really well. But nature has laws of its own and because humans are part of nature I hope they relearn to live with nature."
"Yes, I hope so too," said the passing ant and hurried off to join its mates.
At first Snail didn't understand human language and yearned to understand it. So Snail secretly attended school near the boys' orphanage. Every morning Snail would sneak up on the high window ledge, where no one could see it. Snail attended grades 1 to 7 and could now understand what was being said in the classroom. Snail was proud as it thought it did pretty well in school.
In geography class, Snail noticed something that perplexed it. Humans had maps with lines designating borders. These boundaries bound and defined what humans called countries. Wars were being fought on some of these borders. Some of these borders had high walls or fences to keep others out. While some borders were meant to keep others in and escape was punishable. Snail was saddened.
Snail thought about its own small world in which snails don't reside in just one location all the time and tend to make their home anywhere since they carry it on their back. Snails are loners but they often come into contact with each other due to the feeding grounds where they find plenty for all of them to share. They aren’t aggressive in nature towards each other and tend to live their own existence without bothering each other.
Snail thought to itself that the wind is oblivious to human borders, blowing free. So is the sun, with its shining sunrays. Humans unlike the wind weren't really free.
Snail was 8 years old, an old age in snail terms. Snail was considered by other snails as a wise elder. In fact, Snail was considered the only expert on the subject of humans amongst the snails in the area. Snail often shared knowledge on humans with other snails and found teaching enjoyable.
Snail taught itself to write using snail slime as it slithered. Snails slither on a protective slime they excrete. The slime allows them to move on any type of surface in any terrain without being injured. Imagine yourself being able to walk barefoot on glass or sharp rocks without hurting your feet.
Snail couldn't speak though. If it could, Snail would surely ask those pressing question that bothered it. Why do humans wage war and live in hatred? Why couldn't humans just live in peace? Snail dreamt of asking these questions and telling humans what it thought.
"What could there be if humans got their act together?" Snail asked the wind.
"Perhaps a better life; certainly a better world," Snail heard the wind answer.