“Sometimes the truth really is skin deep,” asserted the pig, much to the surprise of the others. “I don’t know exactly what it is, but it certainly doesn’t have scales or fur or feathers. Its skin bears a remarkable similarity to my own and logically we have to conclude that it is some form of swine.”
“Complete nonsense!” interrupted the gorilla. “All that pig swill has turned your brain to mush. It doesn’t have a tail! And, moreover, it walks upright on two legs rather than four. It may not have been blessed with the same rugged looks as my good self, but surely it has to be some sort of ape.”
The animals were becoming restless. This discussion had been going round in circles for the past two hours and they were no nearer an answer.
“My turn: let me have a go.” The hyena whimpered nervously, “Early this morning while out walking, it tripped over a vine and it fell flat on its face. Did anyone else hear? It started to laugh and guffaw, all to itself. I am the only beast with that ability so, although I admit we do not look alike, we must be related.”
“Here we go again,” snapped the owl, his patience fraying rapidly. “The difference, friend hyena, is that when you cackle to yourself, my feathers stand on end, whereas its chuckles are by contrast somewhat soothing. Whatever this creature is, it does seem to possess an extraordinary intelligence. Not to the same level as myself of course, but could it perhaps be a form of elephant? Certainly its nose is long enough…”
“I don’t agree. I believe there are depths to this creature that we have yet to plumb.” The animals looked at the cherub with their usual lack of comprehension. He was viewed as something of an eccentric and generally tolerated - but he did have an unfortunate tendency to shape-shift without warning. Only the week before, the dormouse had been recounting some adventure or other when the cherub grew six inches taller and his skin began to glow with a pale light. The poor rodent turned tail and fled and wasn’t seen for three days.
“He likes plums, did you say?” enquired the pigeon, who didn’t like being left out of the conversation.
“Well he may do so although that’s not what …”
“You have to be careful with plums,” called out the rabbit. “If you eat too many of them, you end up producing droppings for days on end.”
“Fellow fauna, please,” said the fox. “What our friend means is that the subject under discussion has a sensitive nature. At times it takes an inordinate pleasure in beauty. On other occasions it seems almost overwrought by loneliness.”
“Well that’s hardly a surprise, given that it’s the only one of its kind.”
“I think its most interesting characteristic is its gullibility,” mused the snake. Its tiny little feet looked out of place beside its long body and most of the animals preferred to keep their distance from this slippery serpent.
“Look, this is getting us nowhere,” said the lion, his massive jaws opening into an enormous yawn that drowned out any further comments. “Why don’t we just ask Adonai? He’s sure to tell us.”
They found Adonai kneeling on the ground beside the outstretched body of the creature. “Excuse us, sir, but we were just wondering about that thing there that’s asleep. What is it?”
“What is it? Why, it is the pinnacle of all I have made, the crowning glory of my creation. More than an animal, different from an angel, it’s a living soul. I call him Adam.”
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