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.”