4. Fairy Tales

The Man and the Serpent

Years ago, there was a small village by a beautiful river. The people of this village were mainly poor folks who farmed in others’ lands or in whatever land each of them had themelves. Among them was a man who was richer than the others. He had more land than the others, ten cows, twelve sheep and a little orchard. He had a loving wife and three sons to look after him.

But he was always worried about his youngest son, who happened to be naughtier than his siblings, and was always full of mischief. This boy seemed to be full of an inexhaustible supply of energy and was always out of the house, roaming in the fields, jumping into ponds and climbing hills and mountains, whatever the time was.

But misfortune struck one day, when the boy mistakenly trod upon a serpent’s tail during one of his adventures. The furious snake hissed and bit on his foot. The boy limped back to his parents, crying out of pain. But his helpless family members could do nothing to save the poor boy, for the lethal venom killed him within minutes. However, the boy informed his father about the whereabouts of the snake and how he had been bitten before he took his last breath.

The incensed father took out his axe and hunted down the serpent, who happened to reside in a small hole beside a tree.
Again and again did his axe fall upon the serpent who somehow managed to escape each blow until one powerful stroke cut off part of its tail. Bleeding and crying out of pain, the snake carried its body with great difficulty and slithered into one of the holes between the roots of the huge tree.

“First they trampled my tail. Then they dared to cut it off?” muttered the creature painfully. It vowed revenge against the man.

Thereafter, the snake began to cause losses to the farmer. In a fit of rage, it began to sting several of the Farmer’s cattle leading him to suffer a huge loss.

“I had already lost my son, now I have to see my cattle dying. It is best to reconcile with the serpent before it does any more harm to me or any of my family members.” the man thought.

With this purpose, the farmer went to the serpent’s lair with food and honey and offered him the treats saying,
“You know, we should let bygones be bygones. There was no enmity between us as such. So why don’t we forget and forgive each other and be friends?”

“It can’t be”, replied the snake, “take your gifts away. Neither can you forgive me for the death of your son, nor can I forget the loss of my tail.”

Injuries may be forgiven, but not forgotten.

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