|English Version at the Bottom|
Bago pa man gumagapang ang mga ahas ay dati na silang may mga paa. Tulad ng iba pang mga hayop, ang mga ahas ay may apat na paa na kanilang ginagamit upang makalakad.
Sa gubat, tinuruan ng isang guro ang mga magkakaibigang kobra, sawa at dahong palay ng pagtatanggol sa sarili. Ang mga ito ay tinuruan ng guro sapagkat napansin nito na ang mga ahas ay maliliit at palagi silang kinakawawa ng mga mas malalaking hayop.
Matapos ang kanilang pagaaral, natuto nga ang mga ahas ng kakayahang ipagtanggol ang sarili. Mahigpit na ipinagbilin ng guro sa mga ito na wag gamitin ang natutunang kakayahan sa paghahambog lamang. Ito ay gagamitin lang nila kung kinakailangan at sa mabuting layunin lamang.
Ngunit dahil sa bagong natutunan, naging mataas ang tingin ng mga ito sa sarili. Saan man sila magpunta ay pinagyayabang nila na itinuro sa kanila ng guro ang kakayahan na ipagtanggol ang sarili maski mas malaki pa ang kalaban.
Isang araw, ang mga ahas ay nagkatuwaan at nagpustahan kung sino sa kanila ang pinakamagaling. Nagpatagisang gilas silang tatlo. Dahil dito, ang lahat ng mga hayop sa gubat ay nagkagulo. Sumakit ang katawan ni Leon ng pilipitin ni kobra. Iika-ika si elepante matapos sipa-sipain ni sawa ang kanyang mga binti. Si matsing naman ay napagod at hinihingal sa katatakbo upang maiwasan ang mga suntok ni dahong palay.
Narinig ng guro ang ginawa ng mga tinuruan niyang ahas. Napa-iling ito at nag-isip kung paano niya tuturuan ng leksiyon ang mga hambog at malilikot na hayop. Matapos mag-isip ay hinanap niya ang mga ahas.
Nang makita ng guro ang mga ahas, ito ay nagdasal. Napatulog niya ang mga ito. Itinali niya at inipit ang mga paa ng malilikot na ahas at pinutol ang mga ito.
Nagising ang tatlo at nakita ang putol nilang mga paa. Nasa tabi nila ang kanilang guro. Pinaunawa ng guro na kaya niya pinutol ang mga paa nito ay dahil sa naging hambog ang mga ito dahil sa panibagong natutunan. Pinagsabihan niya ang mga ahas na simula noon ay wala na silang paa at gagapang na lamang sila para makalakad. Hindi na rin nila magagamit ang kakayahan sa pagtatanggol dahil hindi sila karapat-dapat para dito.
Simula noon ay gumagapang na lang ang mga ahas. Dahil hindi na rin nila magamit ang kakayanan ng pagtatanggol at sa hiyang dinulot ng pagkakaputol ng paa, sila ngayon ay naging mailap sa ibang mga hayop. Nagtatago sila at nag-aantay ng tamang pagkakataon upang umatake sa kanilang biktima.
Before the snakes ever crawled this earth, they used to have feet. They were like the other animals and as a matter of fact, were very closely related to the large lizards that you might find today. The only difference that they had was that they can stand up on their hind legs or use four at the same time.
They were very shy and meek creatures. They liked staying in the cooler and darker portions of the forest. When they did venture out, they'd get trampled upon by larger animals since they were not particularly smart and aware of their surroundings. The monkey made fun of them and the carabao laughed at them.
Seeing that the snakes were always at the mercy of bigger creatures such as the carabao, a wise teacher appeared and took them under his care. The teacher taught them how to defend themselves in a way that would befit their stature.
The cobra, the boa and the viper were the most avid students in fighting and learned fairly quickly.
Pretty soon, their confidence began to rub off on the others. They were no longer the weaklings of the jungle and were the masters of fighting.
The teacher sensed this growing confidence and began to feel alarmed. One day, he decided to talk to them and warn them that they shouldn't use their new skills in harming others.
He reminded them that their abilities should only be used to protect themselves that they may also live good lives in the jungle. The balance must be maintained.
Yet, the three friends didn't pay attention to their teacher. One night, they secretly talked amongst themselves and decided that it was their right to use their new skills. In fact, they should use them to get their vengeance on those who made their lives difficult before.
With their new abilities, they believed that they must rule the animal kingdom.
They ventured out and bravely walked among the carabaos bragging and teasing them. They told them that they smelled terrible and looked funny whenever they took their mud baths.
The carabaos, though usually kind creatures, were not one to be pushed around in their own land. Their infamous tempers got the better of them which was exactly what the snakes wanted.
The snakes, agile creatures as they are leaped around and fought in tandem. The carabaos may be strong, but the snakes were quicker and faster. Soon, all of the carabaos were lying down on their own land, beaten and exhausted.
It was the snakes' first victory
They marched along wherever they could and beat whoever dared fight them. They were unbeatable and a force to reckon with.
They grew arrogant, believing that each one was the best. So much so, that they made a wager amongst the three of them on who could hurt the most number of animals in the jungle.
What happened next, was unfathomable. Chaos and destruction ensued. Boa killed all the elephants and viper poisoned the tigers. Cobra chased all the horses away.
(Note: If you've ever wondered, there are no native elephants in the Philippines. The animals in the zoo that you see have all been brought from other countries such as Thailand and Africa. Or maybe there were, 10,000 years ago. Go and check the elephant bones in the Ayala Museum and tell us what you'll find. We'd like to hear from you ~Dan)
The teacher found out about this and was dismayed at what he saw. There was bloodshed, death, pain and destruction everywhere he looked.
The balance has been broken.
He sought out the three belligerent snakes and whispered a 'sleeping prayer'. The three abruptly fell into a deep sleep wherein they could not hear or feel anything. Even as they slept, their feet and legs would move about so the teacher bound them.
The teacher never wanted to hurt the creatures even though they wrought havoc in the forest but there was no other choice. He knew that they would continue to cause destruction and pain when they woke up.
He cut off all their legs so that they would no longer be able to make use of them to hurt others. The teacher snuck quietly away while the snakes slept soundly, unmindful of their missing legs.
When they woke up, they found out that they no longer had legs. They writhed and struggled as they tried to move from one place to another. This was when they became acquainted with fear again. They were afraid that the other animals would take revenge against them while they were weak.
They knew that they would be helpless, accursed as they are. They can't fight in this way, not without their feet. Thus they parted ways with each snake choosing his own hiding place. The boa chose the deepest parts of the jungle where nobody would find him.
The viper snuck in between the small rocks and crevices, moving from one small hole to the other. While the cobra wandered from one spot to another.
Eventually, they'd learn to fight again. But this time, they'd rather fight like cowards, striking from places where nobody can see them and slithering away.
Researched and Rewritten by Lovedy
Translated and Formatted by Daniel Andrei Garcia