“Even in death, this snake is a beautiful creation,” said Loukas’s mother when Loukas and Thera laid Lambros’s body on a grassy clearing near the seawall.
“A blessing from nature,” Thera’s father said as he passed over Lambros with the sign of the cross.
“To our family, a savior,” Loukas’s father said, nearly in tears.
That evening as daylight ebbed into dusk, Loukas gathered with Thera and the couple’s parents to bury Lambros. With hearts heavy with grief, Loukas and Thera dug a grave close to the towering chestnut tree that grew a short distance from their cottage. The grave faced the sea, as Lambros had wished.
Loukas honored Lambros’s other request by shrouding the snake’s body in fine white linen. He lowered Lambros into the grave and cast several sprigs of sage over the body.
“May this offering of sage protect our snake on his journey into the spirit
world,” Loukas said.
After the grave was filled, Loukas, Thera, and the others raised their hands toward the heavens and sent Lambros’s spirit off. They felt a deep sense of gratitude toward the snake for having freed them from a life of hardship.
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