Early the next morning, as soon as Loukas settled into his seawall lookout and began playing a string of simple chords, the snake emerged from its burrow and slithered over to where Loukas sat. It raised itself taller and taller and stood within arm’s length of Loukas’s stare. The snake held Loukas steady in its sight.
As before, the snake caught hold of Loukas’s soothing riffs. It swayed from side to side and pitched forward and backward, weaving its way into the rise and fall of the music’s rhythms.
As soon as Loukas quickened the tune’s tempo and ended with high-pitched trills, the snake lowered itself to the ground and slid off to its den.
Once again, Loukas stood amazed at the sight of not one, not two, but three gold coins the snake had left along the path.
“Thank you, my friend,” Loukas cried out to the snake.
“From now on, I will call you ‘Lambros,’” Loukas said out loud. “The name means ‘radiant,’ and radiant is the kindness you have brought to me and my family.”
Loukas dropped the coins into his bag and ran off singing, “Laaaam…bros, Laaaam…bros, Laaaam… bros.” He was happy to be bringing home more good news.
“Your snake has rescued us from a life of poverty,” Loukas’s father remarked when his son returned from a meeting with the snake bearing yet another share of Lambros’s generosity.
“And we are just as thankful to you, my son, for giving your mysterious friend such great pleasure with your pleasing music,” said his mother.
Again and again, Loukas returned to the seawall to play his flute to Lambros’s delight.
Again and again, Lambros rewarded Loukas with not one, not two, but three gold coins.
Some years later, just as spring’s first traces were awakening the island’s hillsides and meadows with a dazzling palette of orange and lemon blossoms, Lambros spoke to Loukas.
Loukas smiled to hear Lambros’s gravelly voice. Not only does this wondrous snake dance, he thought, it also speaks our language.
“My friend,” the snake said in a voice so strained it seemed each slurred word came from within a deep well. “Someday I will be called from this earthly realm to return to the spirit world and join up with members of my clan who have passed on before me.”
Loukas struggled to hear Lambros’s every word above the harbor’s commotion.
“You will help ease my journey and keep my spirit from ceaseless roaming between this world and the world beyond if you give me a respectful burial,” Lambros said.
Nodding in agreement, Loukas clutched his hands against his chest.
“When you find my body in my hideaway,” Lambros continued, his voice weakening, “wrap it in a white cloth and put me to rest in a grave that looks out to the sea I love.
“In friendship, bury me with a sprig of sage to protect me from wicked powers that may threaten my spirit as I make my passage.”
His voice trembling with sadness at the thought of losing his friend, Loukas stammered through a promise to keep close to his heart Lambros’s wish to be helped bringing his spirit home.
“Your companionship comforts me as much as your music awakens me to great happiness,” rasped the snake. His hoarse voice faded to a sluggish tremor as he slipped out of sight.
Loukas gazed after Lambros through tearful eyes.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish