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Once upon a time, back when the earth was still young and void of human life, there was a small, squirrel-like creature. And her name was Nahbi. Nahbi was very shy and quiet. She didn't give any of the other creatures any trouble. One day, a large snake came up to Nahbi and said,
"Dear sweet creature, you are so kind. You give whatever another is in need of without hesitation. Now it is time someone returned you the favor. So tell me, Nahbi, what you wish for and I will grant it to you."
Nahbi's heart jumped with excitement. She could have anything she wanted! Nahbi imagined a big tree with a soft nest at the very top, just for her. She longed to fall asleep, cradled by the stars and sung to by the passing birds above. Just as Nahbi had made her mind up to wish for such a grand thing, a voice louder and deeper than her own thoughts came to her. And Nahbi froze, entranced with the words being spoken to her by the wind. "Do not give into the weak-minded fantasies, my good Nahbi. This snake is deceiving you. Deny him!... Deny him and break the spell he has cast upon your land. If you don't, all those after you unfortunate enough to cross this liar's path will be cursed. Bless your people once more, Nahbi. Do not curse them with greed"
The voice was comforting. Nahbi knew it was the voice of strength, for it came to her in times of hardship, when food was scarce or conditions were raw. The voice had never lead her wrong. It had kept her safe, and given her plenty. But the snake's voice was just as charming- just as demanding, in a sly way that entranced Nahbi.
"Come child. You know what you want and you've earned it, have you not?"
Nahbi agreed. "Yes, I have earned it," she said, pushing the good voice away as it protested.
"Good. Then make your wish," the snake said.
And suddenly, without even uttering a word, Nahbi felt deep down inside that she had done something horrible.
The earth beneath her shook and cracked, making the pebbles around Nahbi's feet dance.
"Oh no!" Nahbi cried as a dark limb scooped her up from beneath and soared towards the sun.
As the tree grew taller and thicker, the land around it grew gray and lifeless, all of the creatures touched by the evil falling limp to the ground.
"What is this!" Nahbi cried out when the tree stopped growing.
It's branches creaked and moaned. This scared Nahbi and she tried to scurry down, only to be met by the snake, who looked bigger now.
Nahbi gasped at the intensity of his gaze, eyes yellow and glaring...
"Make it stop!" Nahbi commanded feebly, but the snake just laughed a dry, piercing laugh.
"But this is what you wanted, remember?" sneered the serpent. "You had a good life, but you were unsatisfied. You got your wish, now reap the consequences. Be grateful!" The snake spat at her bitterly as his image started to dissolve. His eyes still echoed clearly in her mind's eye. Nahbi sobbed.
"Good voice, where are you?" she cried out to the thunderous sky.
"You are a child of the snake now, no longer mine. Never will you know what damage you've inflicted." And just like that, Nahbi was alone....