The second his father stepped onto the dock, Loukas rushed headlong into his story about meeting up with the snake. Not once did he take a breath until he came to the part where the snake had left in its wake not one, not two, but three gold coins.
When Loukas’s story ended, the two hurried off to their cottage to bring the news to Loukas’s mother.
“As fate would have it,” the father announced, all the while unfolding the cloth that held the treasure with trembling hands, “the spell cast by our son’s music has brought us a stroke of good luck.
“Oh, my son,” Loukas’s father continued, “on this wonderful day, your gift of music has touched our lives with a special blessing.”
“Let us offer a prayer of thanks,” Loukas’s mother said.
Seconds later, Loukas joined his mother and father at the makeshift altar that stood in a corner of their cottage. They knelt before the small statue of Saint Loukas, the family’s protector, that stood on the altar.
“Saint Loukas, holy guardian, please accept our gratitude for the help you have brought to us today,” Loukas’s father prayed.
“We share with you our endless gratitude for giving us the means to survive,” said Loukas’s mother.
“And for the snake,” Loukas added. “Praise the snake that found its way to my music. That gave to me three gold coins and a better life for my family.”
“Amen,” they said together.
“If your luck holds out and the snake comes by the seawall to be entertained by you once again,” Loukas’s mother said to her son, “be sure to play a song to let the snake know how deeply grateful our family is for helping us pull through these difficult times.”
Early the next morning, as soon as Loukas settled into his seawall lookout and began playing a string of simple chords, the snake emerged from its burrow and slithered over to where Loukas sat. It raised itself taller and taller and stood within arm’s length of Loukas’s stare. The snake held Loukas steady in its sight.
As before, the snake caught hold of Loukas’s soothing riffs. It swayed from side to side and pitched forward and backward, weaving its way into the rise and fall of the music’s rhythms.
As soon as Loukas quickened the tune’s tempo and ended with high-pitched trills, the snake lowered itself to the ground and slid off to its den.
Once again, Loukas stood amazed at the sight of not one, not two, but three gold coins the snake had left along the path.
“Thank you, my friend,” Loukas cried out to the snake.
“From now on, I will call you ‘Lambros,’” Loukas said out loud. “The name means ‘radiant,’ and radiant is the kindness you have brought to me and my family.”
Loukas dropped the coins into his bag and ran off singing, “Laaaam…bros, Laaaam…bros, Laaaam… bros.” He was happy to be bringing home more good news.
“Your snake has rescued us from a life of poverty,” Loukas’s father remarked when his son returned from a meeting with the snake bearing yet another share of Lambros’s generosity.
“And we are just as thankful to you, my son, for giving your mysterious friend such great pleasure with your pleasing music,” said his mother.
Again and again, Loukas returned to the seawall to play his flute to Lambros’s delight.
Again and again, Lambros rewarded Loukas with not one, not two, but three gold coins.
Some years later, just as spring’s first traces were awakening the island’s hillsides and meadows with a dazzling palette of orange and lemon blossoms, Lambros spoke to Loukas.
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