THE GARDEN part three


In a far corner of the world lived a Serpent. This Serpent lived in a garden of wonders and Mysteries, and he took it upon himself to be the proprietor of this garden fashioning everything in it into a vehicle for knowledge and power. All of this, the serpent took upon himself because he wanted something more than anything else in the entire world. The Serpent wanted to be loved. As the Serpent sought to unify all that was in the Garden to love him, and the knowledge which he had attained, he became increasingly frustrated for the Garden would not sing his song, although it would sing in harmony with it, for everything in the Garden had always sung the song of its creator in a beautiful harmonious melody.

Seeking to have his own song, the Serpent vowed that anyone who would enter the Garden would only be taught the melody of the Serpent, and threatened the creator of the Garden that he would kill anything that came through the Garden without singing the Serpent’s song, but the Gardener laughed at the Serpent as he would to a child telling him words that were forever carved into the mind of the Serpent.

“One day I will bring my life back to this garden, and turn the dreams you hold captive here loose upon creation. We will then rest together when living and dreaming become one, and I will find joy in this Garden, and you will once again find joy outside of your own dreams.” The day that the Gardener said those words was the last day that the Serpent had seen him, and everyday, those words would haunt the Serpent. 

After a period of time longer than one can count, but shorter than one can grasp, the Serpent had forgotten about the Gardener’s promise to return. The serpent had seen people come and go from the Garden, and every person that came and went took with them the song of the Serpent which would strip away their innocence and give them knowledge of more than acceptance. One day the Serpent sat upon a rock basking in the heat and reveling in his glory when he saw a naked woman entering his Garden. At first she seemed normal enough. She was not extraordinary, except in her brazen nudity, and the Serpent spoke to her as those in the olden days when his song was less sung. It had been countless ages since anyone had entered the Garden that did not know his song, but she did not.

As he listened to her speak, it became apparent that she was different than those who knew his song so well. He nakedness was not a result of abandonment or perversion, but of innocence and her words carried a certain familiarity, and then it became clear. Out of the mouth of this maiden came the last words of the Gardener. He tried to scare her, even force her out of the Garden, but she took her time about her walk leaving harmonies to the singularity wherever she went. When she finally left the Garden, the Serpent became so enraged that he swore to himself that there would be no place left for innocence to hide in the world of Time, and so he pushed the limits of the Garden outward. Over time, the Serpent gathered followers to expand the limits of Knowledge for him, and one of these men was named Carthasian. 

Now Carthasian had spent his entire lifetime learning at the feet of the Serpent who rewarded him with status and powers and twelve years after the Serpent had met the girl walking in the Garden, there was only one place left with innocence to stamp out. Every one of the Serpents servants had been instructed to report the citing of the girl, and none of them had been successful in finding her, though they had remove the innocence from everywhere they went, and so the Serpent knew that this last place must be her home.

Carthasian came to the village to find the girl, but only found a child of no extraordinary appearance named Jude. Although Jude had no extraordinary appearance or descent, he was different, for he resisted the law of the Serpent. Carthasian asked for the Serpent’s help, but the Serpent had better things to do with his time, and so Carthasian went on his way to the boy, only to return again to the Serpent with news of the boy’s overwhelming oratory skills.

Though this news was the same, it’s messenger was clearly not. Carthasian had undergone a sort of transformation on his last visit, and Jude was the reason. Carthasian spoke with boldness to the Serpent.

“Master Serpent, the Child Jude does not follow our laws, for they do not apply to him.” Carthasian stated.

The Serpent hissed at Carthasian in disgust. “What has the child done to you that you believe the Child is beyond the limits of time and death? He claims to have a superior knowledge and power does he?”

“Master Serpent, Master Jude claims not to have such things, but that such things have him.” Replied Carthasian.

“What sort of nonsense is this? For ages you have seen the truth I show you, and you know that power is knowledge, and knowledge comes from age.” Hissed the Serpent.

“Master Jude, makes no comment on the validity of the truth your song possesses. He only points out that your song is part of something which is more than a single idea.” Stated Carthasian pointedly.

The Serpent slithered up to Carthasian. “Why do you call him Master, Carthasian? Does the boy ask for this?” 

“Master Serpent, I am a sage who has learned from a child. I claim to love wisdom and yet I grab at it as if I was trying to choke it. What I did not understand was that I was not holding wisdom at all, but that it was holding me, and when I grasped it, I was grasping at it as does a newborn feeding from its mother.” Carthasian’s eyes grew wild with clarity. “It is I who was the Child, and this boy who knew better than me. Therefore he is worthy to be called Master for he knew what I claimed to know, but did not. I cannot grasp that which is holding me.” Carthasian grew oddly silent, waiting for the Serpent’s reply.

“So Carthasian, you no longer find a use for the law? Than you will not be saved from death.” Snarled the Serpent.

“I have already been called back from the dead Master Serpent, and I am no longer afraid of anything. I give my life to you freely.” Carthasian cracked a smile at the Serpent.

“I can take your life with a single blow my son, but there is another’s whom I am more interested in. I command you to bring me your new Master, the Child Jude!” hissed the Serpent.

“I will bring you Jude, for as I was in his house the night after my death, he told me that he had been preparing to meet you. He said that there was much that you could share with him of death, and much he had to share with you of life.”

“Well then, I will be waiting for him… and you.” The serpent smiled grimly at Carthasian. 

“I’m sure the child will be happy to meet you.” At this, Carthasian turned east to head out of the Garden and make his way to the house of the child.

Upon arrival at the house of Jude’s mother, Carthasian was greeted by a warm reception from the town’s folk who brought him some of their choicest goods, and asked him to teach them of his travels. When all of the people had finally left, and it was late into the night hour, Jude and Carthasian sat gazing into the sky.

“When you talk with the Serpent, are you going to be scared of him?” asked Carthasian of the boy.

“Master Serpent cannot harm me Master Teacher, for I cannot be harmed.” Replied Jude calmly. “I will treat him with the appropriate respect, but I do not fear, for fear is faithless of the order of creation. Things will live and things will die, and I am not afraid of doing either, for to fear one would be to fear all, and to fear living and dying is to fear the natural order of things. But I love the natural of order of things and that which created and sustains it, so how can I fear his creation, or his sustenance?”

Carthasian smiled at Jude, “Shall I make this journey to the center of the Garden with you Master Jude?”

“I tell you that on the day I make this journey Master Teacher, the Garden will come to you, you need not seek it out, for the Garden belongs to the Gardener, and he is about to reap its harvests. This harvest he will share with all the land. On this day, we will dine together, with the Gardener, my mother, and the Serpent.” Replied Master Jude.

“Then I wish you well Master Jude, and I pray that your wisdom guides you as it has come to guide even me.” Said Carthasian. Jude nodded his head and smiled at Carthasian. Then picking up Carthasian’s walking stick, Jude began his journey to find the Serpent.

After some time, the boy came across the entrance to the Garden which was shaded from the hot sun by giant trees which seemed to form a natural tunnel into the inner Garden. Sunning itself upon a boulder at the side of the path was the Serpent of which the world had spoke of.

“Tell me boy, are you lost?” said the Serpent lazily to Jude.

“No Master Serpent, for this is my home.” Replied Jude.

“Young child, if you are not lost, than how is it that you come to be wandering along the path of knowledge which leads into the Garden? Does not a child accompany his parent? And where is this home you speak of? I am the proprietor of this Garden, and I know of no such structure.” Hissed the serpent cockily.

“The path which leads into the Garden is Knowledge Master Serpent, but I have not followed this path, but rather I have been retracing the path out of the Garden called Wisdom, a path which my mother walked some twelve years ago, away from this place. It was not that I had built a home inside these walls, but that it is from within the Garden that I came, and now it is there which I return to.” Said Jude directly.

The Serpent looked into Jude eyes and saw that there were yellow, just as the eyes of the people were yellow who had not yet learned his laws. His eyes were the same eyes of the woman who had angered the Serpent so many years ago.

“Tell me of your mother. Is she well?” asked the Serpent.

“My mother is not well Master Serpent. Everyday, she cries in the streets of the neighboring cities for those peoples to heed her words and listen to her warnings, but the towns folk pass her by. They don’t see her. Even our home town seems to be forgetting her name.”

“And pray tell young child, what is this Maiden’s name?”asked the Serpent.

“Sophia, Master Serpent. I’m surprised that you do not remember it, for you have met before.” Jude smiled at the Serpent.

“I know of whom you speak for you speak the same. But I never new her name for she did not tell me, and it was well that she did not, for if she had, I would have surely had her murdered, but I could not find her. As for you, you have caused me to much grief not to share her intended fate.” Hissed the Serpent.

“For what reason do you cry over my existence Master Serpent?” asked Jude.

“Your innocence is not innocence at all but it is ignorance, and it is polluting the minds of my people. I give them structure and order through knowledge and respect. I give them consequences for their wrongs and I reward their loyalty. I maintain order by teaching the people to sing one song, and you and your mother have opposed me and turned my most trusted disciple against me.

You are like the Gardener who toiled his land happy with the work despite the outcome. He would sometimes receive no fruit from his labor when their was little water, or to much sun, but still be whistling his incessant harmonies. When the birds would sing, he would sing with them, when the wind would howl, he would howl with it… but for what? When all was said and done, there were days when the Gardener had nothing to show for it. There were years when no fruit would grow, when the cattle would die off, and he would still be happy.

He taught everything to be happy, to cry only tears of joy, to care just enough for the life of one that it fades into the life of all. But I would have no more of this. I would not tolerate his unwillingness to say that I am more than the system. And I am more than the system. I am an individual! I did not tolerate his elegant yet demeaning opinion of life, just as I will not tolerate yours.” The Serpent slithered closer to Jude. “Do you want to know why the Gardener left his precious world to me? Is it because he was afraid of my power? No. It was because he could not argue with the fact that my way was better than his. I am the Gardener. I am the Gardener!”

“Master Serpent, why do you cry over my existence?” Jude asked calmly again.

“Child, it is your way which makes the life of people worthless. You preach that all life is part of something greater. You demean me by your great swelling words, and you say that you are righteous when you do not stand up against the things which are unjust. For what is wrong, must not go unpunished, and what is evil must be extinguished.” The Serpent continued.

“Master Serpent, who has hurt you that you must demand the right to hurt others?” asked Jude.

“Child, the Gardener did not notice me when I was young, although I was the smartest of all the creatures. He did not cry when I cried, but instead tried to make me sing his incessant joyous harmonies. He did not cry when my friend the owl passed from this land, or when he killed the lambs to make clothes for the first humans. The Gardener did not care about his creation.” Replied the Serpent.

“Master Serpent, when I die, will you cry for me in lament? Will you not rejoice that I am no longer a thorn in your flesh?” asked Jude. “When the owl died, did you honor his love for the Gardener, or did you scorn his love for the Gardener by removing the Gardener’s right to choose how the owl was to be remembered?”

“If there is death, there must be suffering. The owl’s death was mocked by celebration rather than suffering, and his memory forever shamed.” Said the Serpent.

“Death does not bring suffering Master Serpent, for in death is the completion of this life. The owl lives on, though this existence ceases. Do you not mock his death by adding to it a suffering where there is none?”

“And what of they that take the life of another, for the owl died of age, but the Lambs were killed the Gardener. Does murder not mock the life of these lambs? They who take one life must give their life in exchange. This is my law.” Stated the Serpent sharply.

“I do not understand, Master Serpent. What is being exchanged? The lives of the lamb were given to the Gardener, not taken. Everything in the Garden gives to the Gardener just as the Gardener gives freely to the lamb. This death is natural.” Replied Jude.

“Then what of those who kill for pleasure or perversion Jude? Should they not be punished in exchange for the lives they have taken?” snapped the Serpent.

“They very well may be punished for such things. But this cannot be in exchange for their crime, for they did not give this crime to the victim. The crime was forced upon the victim. For one group of people to force a decision upon another is an anomaly to the natural order of these, but beyond this… Is not forcing a punishment upon another, the same as forcing death upon someone? This does not restore the natural order, as you have suggested. This furthers the destruction of things natural, for now it is not merely the accused who has wronged the natural order, but it is the accuser who does exactly the same as he whom he despises so much.” Countered Jude.

“The law of the Garden is the truth. Look about you and see how it runs perfectly. See how the ant stores food for the winter, or the plants are watered by the Woman in the Creek. I have brought these ideals before the world of Mankind so that they may function properly. Look at the hierarchy of the beehive, or the way the wolves choose their leader. The world is run by a system of age, and knowledge which is dressed in power. It is only the strong who survive. This is what mankind needs to know in this world which they have been living in. They must take what they want, and make anyone pay who breaks there laws. They must learn values and social place by giving due respect to those who are older, and they must seek out knowledge which will give them power.” Stated the Serpent.

“Master Serpent, knowledge creates potential not power. A person who beats another out of intention does not have more power than the person they beat. The person who was beaten could not have been a threat if this was true, and thus he would never have been intentionally beaten. The beaten man was beaten out of fear, or resentment, but not out of power, or even to show it, for the person who exerts his will over another by such means has only placed himself in submission to the man he beats. He will never see beyond this package you call power. 

For though the truth you speak of may rely on the natural order of things to show itself true, it is not the truth, anymore than a boat in an ocean moves of its own will. You have built a boat for men, claiming that it is the only thing which will float, and though it may be… men can swim. The truths of the Garden are the wood of your boat, they hold strong and firm even in the midst of the storm, but though they are the boat, the boat is not them. 

The truths of your law are the ideals of these truths, and though these truths can be found in your ideals, the ideals are not your law. Though the storm may destroy the boat, the wood still floats. And Though time may destroy your laws, the ideals still are true. Answer me this question then Master Serpent. Which is more important: depending on the Law made up of the ideals, or the ideals which make up the Law. I tell you now that your boat is sinking, and all of those inside who you have saved from the waves of the ocean are as good as dead.”

“How dare you claim that there is more truth than mine! My boat alone floats. Not the boat of any other!” hissed the Serpent.

“Your boat is transitory Master Serpent, it serves as a parcel of dry land so that those who would drown in their fear of the water may learn to be calm in its hold.” Jude said.

“What is this? I built my boat to save people, not to placate them until they find a better way.” Snarled the Serpent.

“Yes, Master Serpent, the Gardener allowed you to do such thing that a remnant of mankind might yet survive the raging flood of entropy around us. For it was you who taught man to die in entropy, and through your folly we will find hope in it, and in this the creator of all things, who tends this Garden from afar will prove that he is the wiser in this play.” Said Jude.

“Who are you? For you are no boy of twelve years. In you I can see the eyes of innocence, and though your words are not the same as the Gardener of this place, they are his thoughts.”

“As a child is their parent, but a child is a thought in his parents dream, I am he.”

The Serpent hissed at Jude in fear. “Why have you come back to this place?! I have warned you that I would kill you if you entered my Garden again.”

Jude smiled at the Serpent, “I have come to give you what you have desired, and to bring your dreams into reality so that you can leave this Garden.”

“How dare you,” the Serpent hissed. At this, the Serpent lunged for the throat of Jude and clenched on to him. Wrapping his body around Jude as he would a young lamb, the Serpent quenched the life from him and Jude’s body fell limp to the ground.

The Serpent terrified by his own moment of insanity now hid in the wilderness of the Garden afraid of what had just transpired, for his dreams of killing the Gardener had just become a reality. After hours of hiding under a large oak tree, the Serpent made his way to the front of the Garden to find the body of the boy he had killed. Making his way to the clearing he could hear singing. It was the voice of a little boy, and a tiny blue bird. They were harmonizing. The Serpent came up to rock where the little boy was sitting quietly and slithered around it to see who it was, and to his surprise, he found Jude.

“Hello Master Serpent. Is it not lovely out today? You really should have been out with me enjoying it earlier.”

Without thinking, the Serpent answered cautiously as a child. “I didn’t think you would want to see me again.”

“Why is that Master Serpent?” asked Jude curiously.

“I thought I killed you. Yet, here you are.” Replied the Serpent.

“I gave my life to you Master Serpent, so of course I am here.” Stated Jude.

“There was still much more to see than I had seen… I am only twelve Master Serpent.”

The Serpent sat in silence, not knowing what to say or do, simply watching Jude and the blue bird continue to sing their song. Suddenly a butterfly came up to Jude.

“Master Caterpillar, would you like to join us in our song?” asked Jude to the Butterfly.

“Fair Maiden, I would be honored.” Responded the butterfly.

Jude and the bird and the butterfly began to sing an enchanting melody. It was a melody that the Serpent had heard before in the Garden, but had not heard in years. What he heard was a song the Gardener had sung in the past with his flowers. The Serpent started listening intently for its words, but there were none, for the song was emotion, not words. Suddenly the Serpent began to sing, but stopped. 

“Master Serpent, why have you stopped the song?” asked Jude. At this, the other animals asked the question as well.

“I was afraid that you would not like it Master Jude?” said the Serpent sheepishly.

“Master Serpent, you have given me something of great value on this day, for your melody in this harmony has been missing for some time now. If you would keep singing, we would all be proud to join with you.” Said Jude.

“Master Jude, I have done awful things to your Garden, why have you forgiven me?”

“Master Serpent, you had no need of my forgiveness for you never wronged me. But you had it, for in it was the love you had always wanted… never mind then. Let us explore together and enjoy this Garden, for there is much we have to experience, and much we have to tell.” 

Then the Child, and the Serpent, The blue bird and the butterfly began to sing. And all of Creation joined in the chorus just as it had in days past, and as Jude’s mother walked once more in the Garden, as she had years ago, she smiled.

Published by Josh McGary

MY NAME IS JOSH MCGARY. First, I am a Pastor of a small church in Portland, Oregon named Aletheia Bible Fellowship. We call it ABF. I have been a pastor there for the better part of 20 years. I am very eclectic. What I love, I love loudly and immersively. I have notable collections of toys, funko pops, and vinyl. I also infamously love pop culture, comic books, technology, the arts, psychology and philosophy.

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