The Story of the Two Legged Snake

This is a story that happened quite some time back in a remote rural village in southern India. I shall refrain from naming the village, so as to not hurt the sentiments and feelings of the honest citizens of this village. The story goes like this- On a hot sultry summer evening Ramu, the village cobbler was returning home on a desolate road, which was his usual route everyday, when he was confronted by a strange sight on the side of the road. He thought he saw a snake walking! His usual journey back home from work included a stop at Kalluram’s toddy shop to drink his favorite village brew, a potent and lethal combination of fermented coconut toddy mixed with old unsold sleeping pills way past their expiry dates. The sleeping pills were supplied by Marundhuram, the only pharmacist in the village. Ramu wasn’t very sure about what he saw and he took in his hand the first thing he saw, a broken twig lying on the side of the road.

Now in this village, there are two types of people, the first type worship snakes, make idols of snakes, paint it with vermilion, offer milk, coconuts, bananas and shave their head or tonsure their tongues in reverence of the snake gods. The second types were those who killed a snake, the first instant they saw one and wouldn’t mind eating a cooked one, if it was made spicy enough to go along with their favorite brew. Ramu belonged to the second category. Anyway, coming back to the story, Ramu approached the beast and what he saw on closer examination truly astounded him. The potent alcohol inside Ramu’s belly churned his senses at the sight and Ramu thought he was going to faint. Here was Satan’s representative itself, Satan had empowered his favorite reptile with a pair of legs. This animal was making its way actually walking on its legs protruding from its belly and was crawling away to safety, inch by inch, to get away from Ramu .This was totally unacceptable to Ramu, here was a repulsive and dangerous animal that was the cause of many deaths in the village, armed with two legs now and Ramu wondered what Satan will do next, give the snake wings to fly away? Ramu stealthily approached the snake to hit it when he realized that the snake was as drunk as he was. It was painstakingly slow in its movements and finding it impossible to get away from the self appointed guardian of the village. The snake finally collapsed on its stomach with both legs flattened on either side of its body, Ramu seized this opportunity and gave three solid blows to the snakes head. He stepped back and surveyed his kill and felt immense pride in his achievement even in his drunken stupor .Now, it was time to tell the villagers about how he has saved the village from an evil beast that was sent by the devil, to wreak havoc on the village and its good inhabitants.

Ramu reached his house in an even more inebriated state, as his elation at the killing of the snake combined with the alcohol pushed his intoxication levels up. He felt a new high now, which he never felt before in his forty five years of a rather boring life. Ramu summoned his wife Buddhudevi to his side and regaled her with his heroic deed of the day. Mrs.Ramu was totally stunned by this behavior, not so by Ramu’s story but by the fact that he was actually talking to her today, instead of thrashing her and calling her lewd names. Buddhudevi was so happy that her husband did not beat or abuse her, as was his practice everyday and instead was rambling about how he saved the village from a mysterious beast.  reticulated python for sale

Ramu woke up the next day to a cackle of noises from outside his bedroom. He hid behind his bedroom door and peeped out into his verandah. There were quite a number of people present in his small verandah, mostly women from the neighborhood and a sprinkling of men folk who were all talking between themselves gesticulating wildly, their discussions interspersed with occasional exclamations. Holding the center stage was Buddhudevi, who was seen talking to the other women present there, with an unusual glow on her face and a new found confidence in her body language. Ramu summoned his wife inside and threatened her with dire consequences if she did not chase away the crowd, who had gathered there to mediate on her behalf against his drunken and unruly behavior everyday. His terrified wife assured him that it was no such thing and that the crowd had just gathered, to honor Ramu for his heroic deed the previous day and also get a first hand account of the incident. She also told him that she never told anyone about this incident except to the neighbor woman Gossippodevi, when they met earlier in the morning to draw water from the village well. She also said that she got an assurance from the neighbor woman that, she should never divulge the details of this incident to anyone. She proceeded to tell Ramu that she did not have any idea of how so many people got to know of the incident and it must be her husband’s destiny that he should become famous and be known for his heroism and sacrifice.

 

 

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