The next morning, Adam and the woman went for a breakfast walk. The woman was carrying a basket with some freshly mashed lima beans. She wanted to visit the baby lions.
The morning was leisurely, and they stopped by some huckleberry bushes and tasted the berries, but they weren’t ripe yet. They picked some strawberries and two bananas. They weren’t hungry, but they enjoyed the feel of food in their mouths, and the feel of the early morning air blowing through this special garden.
They neared the center of the garden and had just turned toward the good lion’s den, when they heard a soft chuckle coming from a tree near the path.
“It’s the forbidden tree,” Adam said.
“And it’s you, ol snake,” The woman laughed. She caught sight of him crawling out a branch. “What are you doing in that tree?”
“What are you doing with those mashed lima beans, dear woman?” the snake answered. “Here you are, the whole garden nearly bursting with food, and you carrying your lunch of lima beans.” He smiled.
“It’s for the little lions. You know as well as I they like nothing better,” the woman replied. “Going to visit the little beasties, and I brought them some brunch.”
“You had breakfast already then?” asked the snake.
“We’ve been tasting every tree and most of the berry bushes. Plum full of fruit this garden is,” she tossed her banana peel up toward the snake. “What a God to fill this place with food and only a few of us to eat it!”
“Has God said you can eat of all of the fruit of this garden?” the snake asked.
“Not a thing here to make us sick,” the woman answered. “All the fruit except that very tree you’re climbing in. If we so much as touch it, we will die.”
The snake squirmed on his branch. He looked long at the woman. His put a foot out and nudged a ripe fruit with his toe. The woman gasped. “You shall not die,” the snake said. “See I just touched one. I’m wondering if there is something God doesn’t want you to know. What is this tree called?”
“It’s the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.”
“That’s just it,” the snake cut in. “When you eat of this tree you will know things. Good and Evil. These are things God knows. Here, try one.” He picked a fruit off and tossed it down to her, but Adam rushed in and grabbed his wife’s arms before she could catch it.
The fruit landed with a plop at their feet. “Don’t touch it,” Adam warned. But immediately a strange smell filled the air. It smelled like apples with cinnamon, only quite a bit sweeter and quite a bit more strange.
The woman hunkered over the fallen fruit. It had split in half and the flesh inside was white and very soft. “It looks good to eat,” she whispered. “And very beautiful.” She was surprised and excited and felt like she could not turn away. Adam knelt beside her. Almost without thinking, the woman poked a finger into the fruit and scooped some into her mouth. That taste of it made her groan. She grabbed the piece she had poked and took a bite, rolling her eyes back with the new sensation. “Have some, my dear.” she kissed Adam and handed him the other half.
Adam sniffed it. He looked at the woman. He felt a little bit lonely again. He took a bite. The first bite was very sweet. He hadn’t been hungry at all, but somehow eating it made him want more. He stuffed the rest of the fruit into his mouth. It wasn’t quite as sweet, but still delicious. He looked toward the tree. Suddenly his stomach felt full and heavy and different than it ever had before. He was afraid. The tree seemed full of eyes. He wasn’t safe. He looked at the woman.
The woman looked at him. “You’re….” she paused, puzzled.
“You’re naked,” they said it together. Adam took three steps backward. They crouched and quickly crawled into some bushes on the other side of the path. Adam was trembling. He felt cold and alone. The woman began to cry. Adam peered thought the branches. Her eyes were full of tears. Usually these tears came from happiness, but this time was new and different and not nearly the same. Adam did not like it at all. He wished she would stop.
The woman covered her face in her hands. Shame filled her. She cried louder. She wailed and the sound filled the garden. Huddled beneath the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the Snake heard her. And he was smiling no more.