They say I exude regal elegance, better fitted to one occupying a throne than a slithering reptile.
They say I am the symbol of cunning and wiliness, that I emanate menace and strike fear and awe into all who behold me.
What absolute tosh!!
These humans disgust me. They’ve hardly studied my living habits for a century or two and they assume they know me inside out, and create these fantastical legends that make me mythical even as I exist, however miserably.
Let me put it into perspective. Would I, by studying human existence for a span of 500 years, any 500 years in their history, in any one continent on Earth, be able to successfully deduce the intricacies of human life since they have begun to exist? Would I accurately be able to tell what they go through and have always gone through? Would I be a reliable classifier of human emotions and reactions and their standing in the world thereof? Many idiots who successfully pass themselves off as humans would here be responding with a resounding yes. But that is precisely where they err.
A species, however recent, has stored within its very DNA, information compiled over millennia, known to the homo sapien breed as Instinct. This is acquired knowledge, confirmed over time periods so long that our very muscles remember them. Humans themselves have not deciphered all the instincts they are subject to. Their own existence remains a mystery to them. Even language, an invention of their very own, is a prodigy to them. They are clueless as to the power of the tools they use, but they extol at length about their intelligence.
This, then, is the state of the species that claims to know all about me. That claims to understand me. A child, upon seeing me, runs screaming. An instinctual reaction. One backed up by eons of wisdom. But now an “expert” approaches, he grabs me by the tail, all the while disclaiming passionately to the camera that I mean no harm, I am merely “misunderstood”. “Look at his majestic hood. The magnificent King Cobra,” says the expert, while holding me by the tail and prodding and pulling with his metal contraption. If this is the way they treat kings, it’s no wonder none of their empires last very long.
From the above example it is clear that humans are born intelligent and then studiously become stupider the longer they live.
I am a reptile. I am not a King. I am not even princely. I am a reptile, that’s it. I happen to be a large reptile, and snakes happen to be my staple diet. But last I checked, cannibalism and unnatural size were not prerequisites for a member of a ruling party. What is required is authority. And in that I am hopelessly lacking. If you retain doubts about it, all you need to do is to put me face to face with a couple of mongeese. Such squirming and wriggling would be a familiar sight to you, since you are regularly exposed to politicians in debates, but nevertheless it will remove any notions of royalty that you may have associated with me. Mongeese are to my species what Marxism is to a stable economy. They are, in short, the death knell.
Having established that, let me move on to the other humiliations I have to suffer. It is not enough that I am killed by mongeese, humans, birds and other predators. It is not enough that my territory is giving way every year to some fat sod who wants a “cabin in the woods away from all the ruckus of the city.” No, God (if he exists, I always imagine him to look a bit like Darwin) saw it fit to hurl in a final humiliation. Anti-venom. The one weapon I had, the one droplet of death that I had at my disposal, my pride and joy, was turned against me. Before man turned his attentions to me, I reigned supreme in this department. Any creature bitten by me, no matter the size, would lie paralyzed and would die within the hour. This was my concealed weapon. This was the one thing I had that struck fear into prey and predator alike. This fear, passed down the generations, is what still sends your human children shrieking at the sight of me. But what of it now? I have been rendered impotent by that mortal enemy of mine, science. And to think, of all the ironical events to have unfolded, that the cure to my bite lies in my very own venom!!! I am convinced of an Almighty Deity because I do not believe such cruel and diverse ill luck would befall one single species by coincidence.
Today, a man strolls into my home, has the nerve to whistle merrily, completely unaware he is encroaching. I, in all my apparent majesty, rise, bristling with indignation and strike, my fangs injecting the death serum into his veins, throwing the proverbial spanner into the works of his nervous system. A century ago, he would be dead, and I would have taught mankind a valuable lesson. Today, he makes one call, and a man in a white coat gives him the medicine. The medicine he took from the same fangs that necessitated his action. All the victim gets is a mean looking scar and his 30 seconds of fame in the next Nat Geo special. In all my life nothing has irked me so much as this. Creatures should not get second chances. It defies nature, it defies natural selection. That man made a series of fatal mistakes, he should have died. Instead he lives on and I have a toothache and a bad rep. To top it all, I am now referred to as Castruccio by my mate. I must be the first cobra to suffer accusations of dental impotency.
As to my traits of supposed cunning and wiliness, I have no clue where that came from. Reptiles don’t have expressions, we cannot choose our countenance. We look how we look. If evolution chose to give me a face that looks evil, I am hardly to blame for that. If I could smile, I would. But as it is, I am expressionless. But humans have a habit of reading more into facial expressions than there ever is to read (Kristen Stewart, Jason Statham, Keanu Reeves…). So, to clarify, my expression is not one of intelligence, menace, cunning or indeed anything. My expression is of nothing at all, because I am expressionless.
If the title of King is given to me sarcastically, it would be more appropriate. But from what little I know of humans, sarcasm is aristocratic in its distribution. The masses remain immune to it. And so it is my fate, to my eternal humiliation, to still be reverently referred to as the King Cobra.