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The Man and the Snake

Published June 15, 2009
Countries: South Africa
Age Levels: 8 and up

A long time ago, a Man was walking along the road.  As he walked, he saw a Snake that was caught beneath a large rock that had fallen on him.

"Pleassssse... help me," said the Snake.  "This rock has fallen on me.  I cannot move.  The heat of the sun is killing me.  If you don't help me, I will die."

The Man looked at the Snake and said, "If I remove the rock, you will bite me.  Then, I will die instead of you."

"Why would I harm the Man who has saved me?" asked the Snake.  Besides, I am so weak, I only have enough energy to crawl back to my home to recover from this terrible event."

The Man was a kind Man and did not like to see anyone suffer, even a Snake.  So, he lifted the stone off the Snake.

As soon as the stone was removed from his back, the Snake raised his head high in the air, and he bared his long fangs.  "Prepare to be bitten," said the Snake.

"This is not right," said 'the Man.  "You promised not to bite me if I helped you."

"You knew I was a Snake when you saw me.  You knew that Snakes bite.  You even said I would bite you when I was freed.  You are right!  Prepare to get bitten."

"Wait," said the Man.  This is not fair."

"Who is to say what is fair," said the Snake.

"Please," said the Man.  At least let us ask another creature to see if it is fair for you to bite me."

"Very well," said the Snake.  "because, I know other creatures will agree with me!"

First they went to the Hyena.  The Man asked  the Hyena, "Is it fair for the Snake to bite me after I saved his life by lifting a stone off his back?"

The Hyena said, "Man has never been fair to me!  So why should the Snake be fair to you?"  Besides, the Hyena thought he would be able to feed off the Man's body after the Snake bit and killed him.

The Snake raised his head to strike.  But the Man said, "Wait!  let's ask yet another creature."

They went and met Rabbit.  The Snake stared at the Rabbit and said, "Is it fair for me to bite the Man after he lifted a rock off my back?"  The Snake looked deep into the Rabbit's eyes.

The Rabbit knew that the Snake would eat him if he favored the Man over the Snake.  So he said, "Man has never helped me before, so why should I help him?  It is fair that you bite the Man."

The Snake again raised his head and prepared to bite the Man.

"Wait," said the Man.  "Please let us talk to one more animal before you bite me."   Just then, the Jackal walked by.  The Man said to the Jackal, "Is it right for Snake to want to bite me, after I saved his life by lifting the Stone off his back?"

The Jackal replied, "I do not believe that Snake could be caught under a stone a stone so he could not get away.  Unless I saw it with my two eyes, I would not believe it. Show me the place where you say it happened so I can see it."

When they arrived at the place where the Snake had been under the rock Jackal said, "Snake, lie down, and let me see how the the rock sat on you."  The Snake laid down, and the Man covered him with the stone.

The Jackal asked, "Is this how you were when the Man found you?"

"Yes," said the Man and the Snake at the same time.  Then the Man started to take the rock off the Snake once again.

The Jackal stopped him.  "Do not lift the stone off the Snake.  He wanted to bite you before.  If you lift the rock, he will do it again."

Then they both went away and left Snake under the stone.

Dr. Mike Lockett is an educator, storyteller and children's author from Normal, IL. Dr. Lockett has given more than 4000 programs across the USA and as far away as eastern Asia. Contact Mike by writing to in order to book him for a storytelling program or young authors program or to inquire about purchasing his books and CDs.