A Snail on the Moon
Beside a very large ocean lived a very small snail.
Above the snail was bright blue sky. Below the snail was soft, warm sand.
The snail made his home in a little burrow,
where the water tickled the sand and carried it off to sea.
And the snail loved the sun, and he loved the rain, and he loved
the quiet splashing of the waves upon the shore.
Once, on a clear night, the snail gazed upon something
large and round and white. And how it glowed!
“That moon is surely as close as ever I have seen it before,” thought the snail. “So close that I can reach it and, maybe, even climb upon it.”
It was such a joyous thought that he trembled from nose to tail,
and he knew that he simply must do it.
So the snail set out immediately, keeping the beautiful,
radiant orb always in his sight.
The moon was much further than the snail realized, and it took many sleeps before he reached it. Finally, there it was before him, all aglow under the stars. His heart leaped with happiness.
But a layer of moss had grown along the underside of the moon, so that when the snail tried to climb it, he slipped and fell. He tried again and fell again. Soft grains of sand sprinkled upon his head and buried him below.
The snail tunneled through the sand and emerged a short distance
from the moon, next to a tree. A seagull cried out above him.
In his fright, the snail climbed the tree and hid himself
on a twig among the leaves.
But the twig that the snail climbed upon twitched, and the leaf fluttered. In a moment’s breath, he was soaring through the air. The snail looked down
and was amazed to find himself above the moon,
then swiftly flying past the moon. In no time at all the sand disappeared.
All below him was blue.
In another moment all was above him. The ocean tossed about.
It was dark, and then light again. The waves rolled in and the waves rolled out.
They carried him high and then, gently, the waves carried him to shore and laid him to rest upon the soft, sandy beach.
When the snail looked up, the moon stood before him, gleaming white as ever. A moment before, he was frightened. Seeing the moon, he grew brave.
He began to climb. A snowflake fell on his back. Another fell into his eyes. More snow fell –cold against his nose and slippery under his feet. Again and again the snail climbed up. Again and again, he slipped and fell.
After many tries, the snail grew tired,
for he had used up all his youthful energy in reaching the moon.
“Now,” thought the snail,” I am too old to climb it.”
So he made a hole through the snow, down into the sand below,
and there he slept for the rest of the winter.
Months passed before the sun grew warm on the sand. Spring came. The snow melted. Wearily, the snail lifted his eyes before him. There was the moon with a tall wildflower beside it.
He remembered the promise he made to himself to reach the top of the moon before his last days. So the tired old snail carefully climbed the wildflower.
When he reached a low petal, a soft wind blew. The snail leaped into the breeze.
For the moment he was in flight, the snail knew a feeling of wings that fluttered
not outside of him, like the wings of a seagull, but within him
like the quivering of a hundred butterflies. And then the snail landed,
with a soft tumble, upon the moon.
The sun danced upon his back and his shell glistened
with all the colors of the rainbow. The snail lifted his head. He looked out to the ocean. He looked out to the sand and to the small pebbles washed up by the waves. He set his face to the sun and he smiled.