A serpentine dragon cradled its head on a bough of the Morality Tree one afternoon and reasoned with Eve. “You look hungry,” he garbled. “I heard you aren’t allowed to eat from any of Eden’s varieties. Is this a joke?”
Eve bristled at the sound of the talking lizard. “We can eat anything except for Morality.” She pointed to the tree from which the forbidden fruit and the scaly dragon’s tail dangled. “We can’t even touch that one or we’ll die.”
The dragon choked on a half-chewed morsel. “Do I look dead?” he asked, his mucous-caked eyes glinting in the sun. He dropped from his perch and slithered uncomfortably close to her. “Don’t you want to know good from evil, child? That’s what happens when you eat from Morality. You become distinguished and discretionary like a god.”
Eve regarded the ample fruit sagging from the lowest limb, and the dragon could see in her eyes that it looked vexingly desirable to eat.
“Why should your God be the only one to say what is good and what is evil?”
Adam appeared unexpectedly out of the brush, startling the beast who instantly recoiled. Adam took no notice. His eyes were fixed on the sun-kissed fruit. “Be like a god, you say?”
“Like your God.” The dragon’s voice trailed off as he slithered away. “Your God lied to you, friend.”
The woman plucked the fibrous orb, and its limb snapped back. No sooner had she and Adam bit into it that they felt exposed and vulnerable. A harsh wind swept through the clearing and the sky overhead rumbled ominously.
In haste, they sewed fig leaves together and wrapped themselves, scurrying confusedly for protection.
God stopped by for his evening visit, but Adam and Eve weren’t home.
“Where are you?” he asked, peering over the fence into the back yard. “Adam?”
Adam answered from behind a mulberry bush, his voice noticeably shaking. “I was naked and afraid, so I hid.”
“How’d you know you were naked unless you took fruit from the Morality Tree?”
Adam admitted his disobedience but quickly blamed his wife. “I was content with figs,” he said, “but this woman, your gift to me, I might add, she wanted to try Morality.”
Eve appeared from out of the foliage of a willow, her face downcast. She too was visibly shaken. Speechless, she pointed an accusatory finger at the creature who happened to be slinking along the path at that moment.
God seized the dragon by its throat and cursed, “Eat dirt and die! From now on, you will be confined to isolation with misery your only company. All other living creatures will despise you and your kind. You may strike the heel, but in the end your head will be crushed. That’s a promise.”
God turned to Eve and said, “Now that you know both good and evil, childbirth will be painful. As far as your relationship goes, you’ll want to please your man, but he’ll tend to dominate you. His desire will be for power.”
To Adam he said, “You’ve cursed the soil, whose simple provisions didn’t satisfy your lusts. You’ll bleed, sweat, and cry for your bread, grasping with insatiable desire for food, sex, and an endless string of things until you return to the soil.”
God’s countenance then softened. He brought out some all-weather gear he had made from animal hide. “You’ll need an upgrade from those fig leaves where you’re going,” he said. Then he showed Adam how to make fire.
The first family had just experienced a most unfathomable blow. For their safety, God removed them from the vicinity of the Life Tree. Had they consumed it straight from the branch, they’d have been cursed to live in immortal misery. So he escorted them to the east gate, and bid them farewell. For extra measure, God dispatched a host of armed spiritual guardians to block the way back in.
As the estranged pair fled the lush country of Eden, the rogue dragon, having already consumed both Morality and Life, followed closely by the light of a fallen moon.
Inspiration: Genesis 3