The Maiden and the Serpent Girls

Astrid, Water Nymph by George L Stein

The girls’ words were daggers

penetrating the maiden’s heart.

Her mother advised her not to worry;

For the cruel women were nothing but

serpents: the most cunning of creatures.

But no matter her mother’s words,

the anguish welled up inside her;

like rainstorms gushing

into deep dales drowning

the lushest of plants.

“Stand up to them,” her mother would say,

“for a serpent has no claws;

it cannot dig or break.”

Then the maiden saw them standing;

the three tormenting crones.

They uttered words of hatred;

spewed dins of disgust.

And she tried to focus

on what her mother had said.

With every word they uttered,

a strange thing then began.

Their arms webbed to their sides;

and their legs began to coil

as their feet crocheted together.

Scales scabbed over their porcelain skin;

rough and green like mossy shingles.

And when they tried to scream,

their words were hisses.

But before they could slither

quickly away,

the maiden proudly stood upon

their scalding and scaling skin.


Olivia Loccisano is a Dramatic Arts, English and Photography teacher from Toronto, Ontario. She is inspired by how young women and children navigate the absurd through their own rituals. 

george l stein is a photographer living in the greater NYC area focused on the art, street, urban decay, surreal, and alt/portrait photography genres. He is very fond of interesting juxtapositions and strong contrasts.