Friday Fiction – Ouroboros

(No baby 😉 )

I hope photographer Douglas M MacIlroy will forgive me pulling the limbs off his pleisiosaur for the purposes of this story and Rochelle will consider it far enough from the picture to meet the demands of her dare!



“So what is it?” I asked. All I knew about snakes eating their tails was “The Greedy Python” at 3am, breastfeeding one child and comforting another.

“It’s an ancient symbol of circularity, or self-reflexivity,” Sadie replied. “Jung reckoned…”

I wanted to listen, but my phone demanded to be checked. We’d both escaped, of course, she from clients; me from fingers under the bathroom door – but at that moment I felt the more trapped.

“Either way though,” she laughed; my wonderful childless friend who knows these things because she loves my children, and me, “He’s going to swallow hard and disappear!”


Filed under Friday Fiction

56 responses to “Friday Fiction – Ouroboros

  1. Dear Jennifer,

    I love the window on your world that your stories open for us. You are so beautiful in that way. Lovely life I see.



  2. I missed the story title initially, but the Ouroboros symbol still came to mind. Well told story, though I can’t figure out “fingers under the bathroom door”.

    • I suspect, Weltchy, that you have never been a stay at home mother to a toddler… the image of fingers under the bathroom door when you just want to go to the toilet in peace is a fairly universal one from that perspective! I’m glad the Ouroboros was clearer for you though.

  3. micklively

    Excellent narrative Jennifer: well done.

  4. gahlearner

    That’s a greedy Ouroboros, then. 🙂 I think you met the double dare. A beautiful story, and very unique.

  5. This was totally unique.. the title is crucial to get the story.. Love it.

  6. Great image, “fingers under the bathroom door,” sums everything up.

    • Luckily I tend to lock the fingers away behind a stairgate before I use the bathroom, but it seems to be a popular complaint in rest of the Stay At Home community!

  7. What a delightful last line. Says it all in a nutshell.

  8. Oh, I love your stories about BFFs. It seems we have similar stories in real life with these things, and they come through beautifully in your tales. Nice work.

    All my best,
    Marie Gail

    • Thanks, MG. This one isn’t true, but I’m sure my friend would have Sadie’s part of this conversation down pat if the situation arose. Such friendships are special things and deserve to be treasured.

  9. Knowing nothing about ouroboros, “the greedy python” and “fingers under the door” I still enhjoyed your flash. I did like the last line. LOL

    • Sorry, yes, several ‘in’ references there – I thought about adding links but ouroboros is very easy to google if you want more and I couldn’t find anything on The Greedy Python that showed the last page quoted above (my son’s copy was in his bedroom where he was sleeping so I couldn’t just photograph it!). Glad the story worked for you anyway.

  10. I just love the conversation between two friends from such different worlds – the contrasts are vividly shown. I also love the fingers bit. Brought back memories.

    • 🙂 I’m glad someone got the fingers reference; I was beginning to think I’d made it up! And I’m also delighted the differences between the two women were clear enough as that was hard to capture in such a space without losing the connection between them.

  11. Dear Jen,

    I love the image of fingers under the bathroom door. I remember those days, wondering if I’d ever have a second to myself.
    I remember a time, when I was expecting my first child, watching a friend with three and thinking that my child wouldn’t do those awful things. Ha! How quickly those words were eaten. 😉
    Wonderful writing as always.



    • PS You do a wonderful job of stepping away from the box. This was no exception.

      • 🙂 Yes, it’s so easy to have opinions on parenting when you’re not one. I hope I wasn’t to insufferable, but I’m sure I said / did some stupid things in my time.
        And thank you for the PS. I love the challenge to stray from illustration – sometimes easier to meet than others, but usually worth the effort.

  12. Love the fingers etc. I imagine that’s a good reflection of being a mother.

    • Being a mother is rapidly becoming my specialist subject, Patrick! I imagine if you looked at my stories from the pre-Sebastian era you’d find a lot less of it.

  13. Francesca Smith

    I can imagine the fingers under the door. Not having a moment to yourself must be difficult.
    very out-of-the-box and creative story!

    • Fingers don’t fit under our bathroom door, but I have my own equivalent situations and yes, it’s relentless, but then we love them so it’s worth it too.

  14. Different worlds, different perspectives, the contrasts come out so well in this one. Nicely done.

  15. Jörmungandr always has that same problem!

  16. Congratulations! I’m so happy for you and I truly feel for you having to wake up every 3 or 4 hours. Thankfully, that doesn’t last long it just feels like it does. Loved your story! It tickled me to read about fingers beneath the door. The snake swallows himself and disappears. 😀

  17. Jennifer i love the way you interpreted the picture. I remember being you.

  18. Learned a new word and read an intriguing story. Personally I miss the little fingers under the bathroom door. They become big fingers too fast.

  19. I love the idea of the Ouroboros and connecting it to having kids. Have you read the book, the Worm Ouroboros? It’s quite bizarre, but I like it.

  20. For me, the fingers under the bathroom door got way out of hand. My son would repeatedly throw himself against the door screaming and wailing until I came out. It was scary.

  21. I love the imagery of ‘fingers under the door’ – little ones never allow you to have a minute to yourself! Great story with two well drawn characters. 🙂

  22. You definitely met Rochelle’s challenge! Using the ouroboros as the backdrop for the hectic domestic muktitasking craziness of motherhood was brilliant 😀

  23. Dear Jennifer, Great story! and I like the way you used the craziness of motherhood too (like Jan above). Well done! Nan 🙂

  24. Unique take on the prompt. Loved your story. The last line made me laugh, especially when I looked at the picture again.

  25. Dale

    How did I miss this? What a fabulous take! Do I ever remember those days…trying to hide in the bathroom…

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