A Short Story by Brigitte Franssen Illustrated by Jef Franssen
It is early one summer's day and the first rays of the sun are reflecting their light in the many little water droplets left by the rain that night.
I just put the kettle on when one of my neighbours storms in.
She is in a dreadful state and it is obvious that something terrible has happened.
Over a cup of tea she tells me how she stepped outside this morning without paying any attention. And that's how it happened!
She had stepped on a snail. The snail had been killed instantly.
"Oh," she says, "Isn't it awful. That lovely, innocent creature is now dead simply because of my negligence. I'm a murderer, a killer."
Finally, after her second cup of tea, she calms down enough to realize there is nothing she can do about it now. Except, to give the poor snail a decent burial and as a kind of peace offering, plant some lettuce for its family. Happy with this idea we have another cup of tea before she leaves to prepare a funeral and plant some lettuce.
She is barely out of the door when my other neighbour barges in.
He too, looks terribly upset and I wonder what terrible thing has happened to him.
"You will not believe this," he cries out, "One snail I caught. After all the money I spent on traps and beer, I catch one snail, while there must have been a whole army feasting on my flowers again last night. I must find some way to get ride of those snails, once and for all."
" You wouldn't know anything?" he asks.
"No, not really, maybe…" but before I can finish my sentence he has already stormed out of my kitchen.
I pour myself another cup of tea and think about my two very different neighbours when I realize they do have something in common: