THE MAN AND THE SNAKE
Once upon a time, a man worked in his field with his oxen. One day, as he was walking into the woods, he saw an oak burning on fire. But there was a snake on the top of the oak and he begged him to save him and he would give to the man anything he wanted. The man told him that he couldn’t save him because he couldn’t climb the burning oak. Then the snake said:
- Take a piece of wood and lean it to the branch, I will take care of the rest.
So did the man. He took a kindling and leaned it to the oak’s branch, so the snake could slide from the branch to the kindling, from the kindling to the man’s arm, then he slithered around his neck and tried to strangle him to death. The man told him: - How come?! I saved you from the fire and you do this to me?!
Then the snake told him: - This is your destiny, man. You saved me, I’ll eat you now.
The man thought it was useless to change his mind, so he told him:
Ok then, let’s go and ask the others about who is fair in this, and if you’re right that you can eat me.
The snake asked him who would they ask about that and the man said they would ask the first man they would see. So they took a walk and they saw a diseased horse ready, maybe dying, whose owner had set him free as he was useless already. They went close to the horse and the man asked him:
- We have come here to judge our situation and sort out which of us is the one who is fair.
The horse wanted to know the situation, so the man told him the story, and asked him for his opinion and the horse answered:
- The snake can eat you because you people are so greedy and never get filled, I worked in thirty years for my owner and he has left me here where I cannot find anything to eat. So the snake can eat you.
The snake gets ready to eat the man, but the man said:
- The horse is mad at us that is why he said that, we should ask someone else.
Walking, they saw an old but fat ox. The man saw that the ox was fat so he said they should ask for his opinion. They went closer and asked him about the situation. After he heard carefully, the ox said:
- It is the snake’s right to eat you, because it is you people who are unfaithful and act like animals to the animal. I worked for a long time of twenty years for my owner, but now that I am old and I cannot work anymore, he has left me here. He even made e deal with a butcher to slaughter me and my meat will feed my owner, whose children I kept feeding till now. So the snake must eat you. The snake got ready to rip the man but he said they should ask the third one. So they went to find someone, but not a human. After they had walked for a long time, they found the fox. They get closer and the man asked:
- We need you to judge our situation, but you should do it right.
The fox let them talk and then she would give her opinion. The man began to tell the story, but he promised secretly to give to the fox five hens. The fox heard everything and said:
- All my life I have been judging others’ situations but this one I can’t give a solution.
The man and the snake were very surprised and asked:
- Why can’t you sort this out?
The fox said:
- That’s why I do not believe that the snake was at the top of the oak. So let’s go and find an oak and see if the snake can climb in it, and after you slide down we will decide.
They found an oak and the snake got away from the man’s neck and climbed the tree. The man was waiting for the snake to slide down the tree and then get the opinion from the fox. But the fox said to the man:
- What are you waiting for? For the snake to slide to your neck and then slither around you?!
The man asked: - What should I do?
The fox said: - Run away so the snake will never catch you up.
The man noticed that the fox had a plan so he ran away. The fox went after him to get the hens. They were outside the village, but the fox said:
- Go bring me the hens, I’m waiting you right here.
He got home and said to his wife: - Go take five hens and bring them here.
Why do you need them? – his wife asked.
He answered: - I have promised those to the fox because she saved me from the snake.
Then his wife said: - Why don’t you let the foxhound catch the fox so we can sell her fur. It will cost a fortune.
So she convinced him to leave the hens, take the foxhound into a sack, and so catch the fox. The man said to the fox: - Come get the hens in the sack, if I let them go maybe you won’t catch them.
But the fox, sly as always, said: - Let them go because I will catch them, I am faster than them. The man untied the sack, then the fox saw what she never wanted to see!
There was a foxhound instead of the hens and he ran to catch her. The foxhound was running, and the fox was running too, but they came to a forest full of thorny bushes where the foxhound couldn’t go into, so the fox wriggled out. As soon as the foxhound left, the fox got out of the forest and found a court in the middle of the forest, where she was kissing her legs saying:
- No one has found the truth and I couldn’t be the one to find it!