Vol. 12


A Creek Adventure

1986; Affton, Missouri, USA"A Creek Adventure" illustration: Turtles wander along the wooded banks of a wavy creek

My mom told me this story from her childhood.


I was a fairly anxious and twitchy kid. 1986 was a stressful year for me; my parents were divorcing, and I was having a rough time adjusting to middle school. One thing that helped me relax was spending time outdoors.

One day my mom, my sister, and I went to visit my godparents. They lived close to a creek under a train trestle. I loved to explore that creek. After being warned not to ruin my shoes, I journeyed to the creek, hoping to find some toads. I was strolling along the bank, looking under exposed tree roots.

Suddenly I saw the prettiest snake I had ever seen. I wanted so badly to catch it that I grabbed it without thinking! It bit me, of course, and I released it.

As I was trying to figure out how I could still catch the snake, I saw a huge soft-shell turtle cruising down the bank and into the water. I thought I was dreaming! I had never seen a soft-shell turtle in the wild before.

I jumped into the water with my shoes and non-waterproof watch, and grabbed the back of its shell. It was soft and leathery, like no turtle I had ever felt. The turtle gave me a mean look, as if it was going to bite me, so I let go before it had the chance. I crawled back onto the bank and realized that I had ruined my clothes, my shoes, and my watch, and had nothing to show for it. I figured it was time to go.

Later I was so excited, trying to tell my family what had happened, that I was shaking all over and could not speak clearly. I led them to the creek, but of course, they didn’t see anything. They told me I needed to go home and get some rest.

In the car, I saw two little holes in my hand and realized I didn’t know if the snake that had bitten me was poisonous or not. Feeling fortunate that I had not gotten in trouble for ruining my shoes, I did not want to bring up the fact that I had been bitten by a strange snake. Before bed, I gave my cat extra treats and snuggled her close, in case I didn’t wake up the next morning, because I knew she would miss me.

Fortunately I did wake up; however, I was unsure how quickly poisonous snakebites take effect. Wondering how much time I had left, I casually asked one of my teachers, Mrs. P., “How do you know if you’ve been bitten by a poisonous snake?” She told me a story about how her husband had been bitten on the arm by a copperhead and within a half hour his arm had swelled up and he was in horrible pain. After hearing that, I was relieved to know I wasn’t going to die.

Being bitten by a snake put a new perspective on things that had been stressing me.

Theodore Krieger; Missouri, USA

Illustrator: Helen Butler; Missouri, USA



This copyrighted story may be copied and/or printed for limited classroom or personal use. To reprint this story in an article about The Grannie Annie, please contact The Grannie Annie Family Story Celebration for permission.


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