Eve’s Apples ~ A Short Story by Allen Kopp
The first man and the first woman, Adam and Eve, lived in the garden paradise known as Eden, where they had the best of everything without ever having to struggle for anything. They had lived in Eden for a very long time and they saw that it was good. They had dominion over all the growing things and all the animals in Eden and they were surrounded by the dazzling beauty of nature wherever they turned. They lived without knowledge of sickness, pain, loss, or despair and they never grew a day older. They knew only peace and happiness and contentment.
Now, Eden was enormous, as big as a small country. If Eden had any boundaries, Adam and Eve had never seen them. They were allowed to move around freely and to go wherever they wanted and do almost anything they wished.
Adam and Eve had a father, whom they referred to as G. They never saw G, but they knew he was never far from them and they communicated with him on a regular basis. G wanted them to know that everything they possessed—everything they were, everything they beheld—was because of him. To elevate Adam and Eve above the animals and to keep them from being merely his playthings, G imbued them with a quality the animals didn’t have; he gave them a thing known as Free Will.
The Tree of Knowledge was in the exact center of Eden. G told Adam and Eve clearly that they must stay away from the Tree of Knowledge, and as long as they stayed away from it they would be fine. If they didn’t obey him in this one rule, though, and went to the Tree of Knowledge and ate its fruit, they would find themselves in more trouble than they were perhaps prepared to deal with. With all the space they had to move around it and all the freedom they possessed, staying away from the Tree of Knowledge should have been easy for Adam and Eve.
One day Adam was busy in the garden giving names to the animals. Eve was feeling bored and a little lonely, so she decided to go for a walk, without thinking much about where she was going or what she was doing. She walked and walked and finally ended up in the exact center of Eden, where she saw the Tree of Knowledge in all its magnificence. She was immediately struck with the singularity of the Tree. As beautiful as all the trees were, none could match the beauty and desirability of the Tree of Knowledge. She was irresistibly drawn to it.
She remembered that she had been told to stay away from the Tree of Knowledge, so it was with some trepidation that she approached it. Because of the warnings G had given her and Adam about the Tree of Knowledge, she had the idea that if she walked over to it and touched it she might be struck by a bolt of lightning. As she approached the Tree of Knowledge, she saw that it had growing on it the most beautiful and delightful apples she had ever seen in her life. Her mouth watered at the sight of them. She wanted to taste one of them, but she knew she wasn’t allowed to even think about doing such a thing.
She reached out her hand and touched the trunk of the Tree of Knowledge. She waited for the bolt of lightning to strike her, but no such thing occurred. She laughed then and started to walk away, but when she heard a sound and looked up into the Tree of Knowledge she saw a snake, or a serpent as they were sometimes called, crawling down the trunk toward her.
She had seen snakes before and, although she didn’t like them very much, she had no reason to be afraid of them. She watched the snake come toward her, fascinated by its movement, until its face was just inches away from her own face.
“Hello, my dear,” the snake said to Eve.
“My goodness!” Eve said. “You can talk?”
“Well, of course I can talk,” the snake said. “Whenever I have something to say.”
She saw then that the snake was like so many of the other animals in the garden, except that it could talk. She had never seen an animal talking before, so she was a little surprised. If Adam had seen animals talking, he had never mentioned it. She would have to ask him as soon as she saw him again.
“Have you ever seen more delicious-looking apples?” the snake asked Eve with a smile.
“No, I don’t believe I have,” Eve said.
“They’re yours for the taking. All you have to do is reach out your hand and pick one. I would pick it for you except that I have no arms and no hands.”
“Oh, I would never do that,” Eve said. “This is the Tree of Knowledge. I’m not even supposed to be here. If G knew I was here, he wouldn’t like it.”
“Believe me, my dear, G knows you’re here. And, as you can see, there’s not a thing he can do about it. He has given you the thing known as Free Will.”
“I have to go home now,” Eve said. “Going near the Tree of Knowledge is the one thing Adam and I are never supposed to do. I’m not sure what is supposed to happen if we do go near it, but I’m sure it wouldn’t be very pleasant.”
“Please, don’t go, my dear. We’re having such a pleasant conversation. And I’ve been waiting for you.”
“Waiting for me?” Eve asked, feeling a little flattered in spite of herself.
“That’s right. I want to have a little talk with you.”
“Do you ever notice that G keeps things from you?”
“I’ve spoken about that very thing to Adam on occasion,” she said to be agreeable.
“Now, do you think that’s fair?”
“No, I suppose it’s not.”
“G created everything, and yet he doesn’t let you in on any of his secrets, does he?”
“Well, he gave us all we have.”
“That’s true, but there’s so much he is keeping from you. He’s selfish in that regard. Wouldn’t you like to possess at least some of his power?”
“Well, I suppose so, but I don’t think that’s possible.”
“Of course it’s possible! All you have to do is eat just one of these apples. After all, this is the Tree of Knowledge. If you eat its fruit, the knowledge that is contained in it will be yours. It’s this knowledge that G so jealously keeps from you and Adam.”
“Do you mean that if I eat just one of the apples from the Tree of Knowledge I will know what G knows and be able to do what he does?”
“How quickly you grasp things.”
“Let me think about it for a while.”
“What’s there to think about? I’m offering you the chance to do anything you want. To be everything you’re not but would like to be.”
“Well, I don’t know.”
“Why do you hesitate? Why do you doubt me?”
“I mean no offense.”
“You offend me deeply. Right to my very core.”
“Well, I don’t mean to doubt you, but I haven’t seen a single solitary thing that you can do. You’re only telling me to perform an act and I have no way of knowing if what you are saying is even true. On the other hand, I know what G is capable of. I see it everywhere and all around me. Adam and I wouldn’t even be here if it wasn’t for him.”
“Would I lie to you?”
“Since I don’t know you, how would I know that?”
“Well, now I’ve heard everything! You’re actually calling me a liar?”
“Not in so many words.”
“Here I am making the best offer to you in all of Eden, and you’re throwing it back in my face! It is absolutely beyond belief!”
“Well, all right, I’ll take one taste of the apple, if it will make you happy.”
“No, no, no! You said you wanted to think about it, so, by all means, take some time and think about it. Take as much time as you want. No, wait a minute! I have an idea. Why don’t you go and get Adam and bring him here. Then you can both taste the apple.”
“I think that’s a lovely idea,” Eve said. “Besides, I very much want him to see you, a snake who can talk! And I want him to see how impressive the Tree of Knowledge is and how delightful its apples are. I think I will go get him and bring him here!”
“Why don’t you do that little thing?” the snake said.
“All right, I will! We’ll be back before you know it!”
After Eve was gone, the snake had a good laugh at her expense. “What a dumbbell!” he said. “This is going to be even easier than I thought!”
Copyright © 2011 by Allen Kopp