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The Man and the Serpent

The Man and the Serpent

A Countryman's son by accident trod upon a Serpent's tail, which turned and bit him so that he died. The father in a rage got his axe, and pursuing the Serpent, cut off part of its tail. So the Serpent in revenge began stinging several of the Farmer's cattle and caused him severe loss. Well, the Farmer thought it best to make it up with the Serpent, and brought food and honey to the mouth of its lair, and said to it: "Let's forget and forgive; perhaps you were right to punish my son, and take vengeance on my cattle, but surely I was right in trying to revenge him; now that we are both satisfied why should not we be friends again?"

"No, no," said the Serpent; "take away your gifts; you can never forget the death of your son, nor I the loss of my tail."

Injuries may be forgiven, but not forgotten.

Illustration 189

The Man and the Serpent

There's  in the world a cursed race,

Of nature so perverse and base,

If from the gallows you should save,

A dangerous enemy you have.

A countryman a serpent found,

Stiffen'd with frost upon the ground,

And took her home; but when the fire

Began new vigor to inspire,

Swelling her neck with angry eyes,

She fills the cot with hissing cries.

The rustic then his axe did take,

"Is this then the return you make?

Is this your gratitude?" he said,

And knock'd the reptile on the head.

Illustration 190