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**this is absolutely and utterly not a Pagan or religious story in the least…
…its a story from when I worked at a summer camp in college, and the kids love it**

Petey the Snake lived in a pit deep, deep in the forest.  It was a green, leafy paradise, with tall trees and dappled sunlight, with boggy puddle pools, and even a fast, tumbling creek running over a small cliff with lots of hidey-holes.  In fact, his pit was right in one of those spots!  He lived there, in the pit, with his momma, his poppa, his four brothers, and his sister, Jill.  Best of all, this part of the forest had very few of the tall two-legs that might chase him and hurt him.

Petey liked to play soccer, Parcheesi, the piano, and over with his best friend Billy Potts.  Billy was a hornet that lived in a rusty old pot that has been abandoned many, many years ago by a frightened camper (Petey & Billy’s great-great-great grandfathers had apparently done the scaring, but that’s a story for another day!). But the one thing that Petey really, really liked to do was The One Thing he wasn’t supposed to do.

Petey loved to hiss.

Its not like hissing was dangerous or anything.  You just sort of stuck your tongue out and did it.  Sure, there was some slobber…but really.  There was nothing wrong with hissing.

But his momma said that hissing was “rude” and his poppa said that it was an “infernal racket” and his brothers just bonked him on the head with their tails, which made momma get mad and put them in the corner and then they stuck their tongues out at him behind her back while he was trying to pretend to listen to her lecture about the rudeness of hissing, and his sister Jill just huffed at him and put on her headphones.

They just didn’t understand.  They were oppressing his creative expression with their outdated modes of decorum!

It wasn’t HIS fault–he just HAD to his.  Petey just couldn’t help himself!  He just had to HISSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!

When Petey tried to hiss at home, in the pit, his momma got mad and said, “Petey the snake, how many times do I have to tell you there is NO HISSING IN THE PIT!  If you want to hiss, you need to go somewhere else!!”

So Petey the Snake slowly, sadly, silently, slunk down the stairs and began to hiss on the front porch.  Not even two seconds later his momma out there on the front porch, tapping her tail with temper!  “Petey the Snake!”  (You know, just how momma’s always have to say your WHOLE name when they’re mad? Yeah, like that!) “I’ve already told you that hissing is rude and there is NO HISSING IN THE PIT!”

“But momma!” Petey cried, “I’m not hissing in the pit, I’m hissing outside the pit!”

“Oh, don’t you ‘but momma’ me, Petey the Snake!  You may not be hissing in the pit, but the porch is part of this pit and you are definitely hissing too close to the pit.  If you want to hiss…” she said, bringing her nose very, very close to Petey, “Go. Somewhere. Else.”

Petey the Snake slowly, sadly, silently, slunk off the port and over to his best friend Billy’s pot.  There he hissed and hissed while Billy buzzed and buzzed!  They were having a grand old time…until Mrs. Potts, Billy’s mom, came home from the grocery store and said, “Billy!  What have I told you about buzzing like that?!?  And Petey the Snake!  I know your mother doesn’t let you hiss in the pit!  We don’t allow that hissing over here either.  If you want to hiss, go find your own pot to his in!”

Once again, Petey the Snake slowly, sadly, silently slunk off…this time into the woods.  He found himself on a rock, all alone in some dappled sunlight, right next to a boggy puddle pool. “Well,” said Petey to the tall, tall trees, “I can’t hiss in the pit, and I can’t hiss too close to the pit, and now…here I sit, without a pot or pit to hiss in.” Dejected and alone, Petey the Snake drooped his head over his back and on his tail, thinking miserable thoughts…until!

He popped his head up and looked around…he was all alone! There were no pits, no pots, no mommas, or poppas.  The only thing wrong with here was that Billy was still at home, getting lectured by his mom.  But that was okay, Billy could come along next time–for now, Petey the snake smiled, stuck his tongue out, and hissed and hissed and hissed, to his heart’s content.

And everyone lived happily ever after.  Except for the frightened camper…but as I said, that is a story for another day!

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