ONE wintry day a Woodman was tramping home from his work when he saw something black lying on the snow. When he came closer he saw it was a Serpent to all appearance dead. But he took it up and put it in his bosom to warm while he hurried home. As soon as he got indoors he put the Serpent down on the hearth before the fire. The children watched it and saw it slowly come to life again. Then one of them stooped down to stroke it, but thc Serpent raised its head and put out its fangs and was about to sting the child to death. So the Woodman seized his axe, and with one stroke cut the Serpent in two. “Ah,” said he,
“No gratitude from the wicked.”
Phædrus, iv. 19. Probably Indian, occurring in Mahabharata. The versions vary as to the threatened victim. In some it is the peasant himself; in others, it is one of his children after he arrives home. In one of the medieval prosings of Phædrus, by Ademar, a woman finds and nourishes the serpent.
Woodman and the Serpent, The
Fables of Aesop, The
Aesop & Jacobs, Joseph
Macmillan & Co.
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