ANOTHER GENESIS

The Lord God planted a beautiful garden in Eden. In the middle of the garden he put a pile of shekels, and said to the man and woman, "You may eat the fruit of the trees, but you may not touch those coins. If you do, you will die."

The man and the woman were both naked but they were not particularly embarrassed.

There was in the Garden a serpent who had a basket of fresh fruit. The fruit was to die for. It was more beautiful than any of the fruit on the trees, and smelled divine. The woman felt she had to eat some, but when she reached for a kumquat, the serpent told her, "The price is one shekel, fifty agorots apiece."

The woman cried, "That price is too high."

"Wrong," said the snake. "You will not find a better price in all of Eden."

"But," cried the woman, "the price is too high for someone who has no shekels and not a single agorot either."

"Wrong again," said the snake. "Look over there."

So the woman took a few shekels from the forbidden pile and gave them to the serpent. She shared the fruit with her husband. As soon as they'd eaten some, they understood what a bargain the fruit had been. They wished they knew where to get a good bargain on some animal pelts to cover their nakedness, which had begun to bother them.

When the Lord God found shekels were missing, he asked the man what had happened. The man told the Lord God that his wife had taken the money to buy fruit. "Why did you do this?" the Lord God asked the woman.

"The snake offered me a fantastic bargain," she replied.

The Lord God then told the man that for the rest of his life he would have to work hard for money, from before sunrise until the moon was high. But the more money he had, the more he would want, and the harder he would work to obtain it.

The man was appalled. "But it wasn't my fault," he told the Lord God. "The woman you gave me took the shekels. I didn't know anything about it."

The Lord God then told the woman, "You will be as greedy as the man. You will spend half your time eating, and the more you eat, the fatter you will get. The fatter you get, the more you will hate yourself. The rest of your time you will spend shopping for better and better bargains, until you drop. Shoes and childbirth will be extremely painful. If you decide to work, you will never earn as much as men do for the same labor."

Then the Lord God named the man Sneed, and the woman Tavarice [which in ancient Hebrew rhymed with greed and avarice], and made clothes for them out of animal pelts. He sewed pockets in the pants, because the Lord God knew that where there's a pocket, there's a desire to put more and more into it.

Then the Lord God told Sneed and Tavarice to go forth from Eden, find jobs, and multiply. "Having sex is good," he told them, "but the love of bargains is the root of evil."

Then the Lord God broke all the serpent's legs off and kicked him out of the Garden into the dust of the world.

 

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