You knew what I was
Thursday, August 23, 2012
A young man was walking in the high mountains. As he passed along a rugged trail he noticed a large diamondback rattle snake lying at the side of the way. At first he thought it was dead, for it lay very still and looked lifeless. It had several deep wounds here and there along it`s body.
The young man thought how wonderful, I can take its skin and make a nice leather belt or had bands, I can use its rattle as a decoration, and I can eat its meat to recharge my energy for the walk back down the mountain. He knelt down close to the viper and was about to pick it up when he noticed just the slightest hint of movement at the end of its tail. Not enough to rattle, but enough to make the young man leap back away just as the viper struck out at him. The young ma quickly grabbed a long stick and approached the snake. The snake coiled itself and lifted up its head and rattle a warning.
The snake then spoke, “Young man do not do me harm! It is not right! I have been injured and barely escaped death. It is not right that you should now do me more harm.”
“You were about to do me harm!” replied the young man. “Why should I not beat you to death and make you into leather?”
The viper relaxed just a hint and said, “At least listen to my story and then see if you do not have some pity for me. I was down at base of the mountain. I was sunning myself on a rock and a nasty young eagle swooped down and caught me from behind with his strong talons and carried me up, up , up into the sky. He tore my flesh with his sharp claws. I cried out for mersy.”
He croaked at me, “You are a hunter. I am a hunter. You do not show mercy to your prey, and now that you are my prey you should show character and submit to your fate. You are a shifty viper and do not have good character, so I guess I should not expect you to show it.”
“Oh master eagle you are brave and true, you are right we are both hunters. If you spare my life I will hunt for you. I will bring you fine fat rats, and tender mice and now and again a sweet juice bunny. If you spare me I will feed you.”
The Eagle crowed back at me, “You are a viper, you are a lair. You twist your words like you twist your body. Deceit is in your nature. I would never trust you.”
“I knew he was a cruel bird and I would not find any mercy. I cried out `I am dying` and then I went limp.”
“The eagle shook me violently and then shook me again. I remained perfectly still. Then the fool let his iron grip slacken just enough and I coiled and struck and sank my fangs deep into his flesh. It was his turn to cry, but he did not.”
He said, “Snake you have killed me. I shall never again soar over the mountains, I shall never float on the wind. I shall never stare into the sun, unblinking. I am the King of Birds and yet you have killed my. “
With his last breath he asked, “Why?”
I replied, “You knew what I was when you picked me up.”
“As he fell, I fell and I landed here at the side of the road, far up in the mountains where it is could and where I shall surely die. Oh young man, will you not help me, will you not carry me down the mountain. If you do I will hunt for you. I will bring you fine fat rats, and tender mice and now and again a sweet juice bunny. If you spare me I will feed you.”
“No, if I pick you up and carry you down the mountain you will bite me and I too will be as dead as the Eagle.” Said the young man
“In fact you just tried to bite me!”
“Yes, but you were going to pick me up and make me into a belt. So help me now and I will do right by you, trust me.” Said the snake.
The young man decided that he would help the snake and so he picked him up and wrapped him inside his jacket and kept him warm and out of the cool mountain air. The walked for several hours until they had arrived at the foot of the mountain. The young man knelt near a rock that had been warmed by the sun. He reached into his jacket to get the viper out and place it on the sunny warm rock. Then to his great shock he felt a burning fire in his wrist and he pulled his arm out with the snake hanging from his wrists both fangs sunk deep into his flesh. He could feel the burn up his arm as the poison spread towards his heart.
“You have killed me. I picked you up and brought you safely down of the mountain and now you have killed me. Why?” asked the young man.
As the snake slithered away, he replied, “You knew what I was when you picked me up.”
Member Comments About This Blog Post
1850 days ago
1852 days ago
That is a wise way to think of things. It is hard for a bird to change it's feathers. So there are two mottos I live by here. Trust, but verify and Trust in God, but tie up your camel.
1852 days ago
I had a friend who had a very manipulative and controlling woman who asked him to work with her adult children. They were each quite bright and had lots of skills and advantages, but each was failing in life in various ways. My friends perception was the this woman, “mom in this case” was very much involved with the reasons the kids (now adults) continued to fail. She blamed the kids and constantly emphased all she had done for them, all the successes she had modeled; in short, when talking about her kids problems she typically talked about her competence, skill and success.
Although she said she wanted to see here kids succeed, it was apparent that she had managed to get involved in past efforts in ways that tended to sabotage the progress of her children.
My friend John took that strategy of accepting this woman`s consistent tendency to find ways to manipulate her kids and to change the outcome of any work that several therapist had attempted. He met with each child and then with mom. To mom he said that he would not work with her kids because he did not like failure and he knew that she (Mom) was completely incapable of allowing her kids to grow up and become successful. He went so far as to say, “I do not see any hope of your kids become successful, because I perceive you to be an absolute failure as a parent, and I do not see any hope of you changing and allowing your kids to grow up.”
Somewhere between six months and a year she came to John, demanding an apology, and demanding that he had completely misread the situation. Her reasons was, that her kids had all succeed in making dramatic changes in the proceeding half year.
John expressed doubt that he was wrong, but allowed that he might have to apologize if the kids continued to be successful over the next couple of years, and implied that he might even be willing to admit that he was wrong and she was right, if she returned in two or three years with evidence that the successes over the previous six months was more than just a blip on the map.
I did not hear if she every returned or if the kids ended up maintaining their success over the long term.
1853 days ago
I tend to think of people as being very trust worthy; however, sometimes we must be clear on what it is we can trust them to do. I had three people I worked with, one was, in my opinion, mean spirited and would do a harm because she liked to do harm. The second would only do harm to another if there was some advantage to her. The final person would go out of her way to not do harm; even if that resulted in her suffering some harm. Over time and through various situations each person exhibited her own pattern. Therefore I believed that I could trust each to behave consistently with her pattern as I knew it.
In that sense each was trustworthy, however, it was important to trust that each would response to a given situation consistent with her nature. When dealing with the first person, she could be trusted to take every advantage, to be hurtful in many small and large ways and all things being equal, to do harm.
Could she change, of course she could, would she change, not very likely. If I allowed myself to be done a harm in an interaction, well, it was my fault because I knew that was the “way she was”.
I think the point is not to be distrustful, but to trust that people are most likely to do what they have always done. In the face of no evidence that someone has changed, we should anticipate that the person will do what s/he has always done.
1853 days ago
Food for thought.
1853 days ago
I originally heard this story at a D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program. It made me stop and think about drug usage, and alcohol usage too.
1853 days ago
Definitely makes a guy think.
I guess the core principle is although everyone deserves to be trusting, there are some individuals who always betray trust. It's so very difficult for a person of faith to accept that not every being is prepared to accept redemption . . . .
1853 days ago
Always goes to show - be CAREFUL!
1854 days ago
Wow. And how many times do we do that, in spite of our better judgement, because we believe in the good in everyone. Truly profound...
1854 days ago
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