The Farmer and The Snake

A farmer takes pity on a frozen snake and brings it home. Thawed, the snake reverts to character and bites all.

The wicked show no thanks.

Eliot-JacobsEliot/Jacobs Version

One winter a Farmer found a Snake stiff and frozen with cold. He had compassion on it, and taking it up, placed it under his coat. The Snake was quickly revived by the warmth, and resuming its natural instincts, bit its benefactor, inflicting on him a mortal wound.

Aesop For ChildrenAesop For Children

A Farmer walked through his field one cold winter morning. On the ground lay a Snake, stiff and frozen with the cold. The Farmer knew how deadly the Snake could be, and yet he picked it up and put it in his bosom to warm it back to life.

The Snake soon revived, and when it had enough strength, bit the man who had been so kind to it. The bite was deadly and the Farmer felt that he must die. As he drew his last breath, he said to those standing around:

Moral

Learn from my fate not to take pity on a scoundrel.

JBR CollectionJBR Collection

Countryman and Snake

Ernest Griset (1874)

A Villager, one frosty day in the depth of winter, found a Snake under a hedge almost dead with the cold. Having pity on the poor creature, he brought it home, and laid it on the hearth near the fire. Revived by the heat, it reared itself up, and with dreadful hissings flew at the wife and children of its benefactor. The man, hearing their cries, rushed in, and with a mattock, which he brought in his hand, soon cut the Snake in pieces. “Vile Wretch!” said he; “is this the reward you make to him who saved your life? Die, as you deserve; but a single death is too good for you.”

Townsend VersionTownsend version

One winter a Farmer found a Snake stiff and frozen with cold. He had compassion on it, and taking it up, placed it in his bosom. The Snake was quickly revived by the warmth, and resuming its natural instincts, bit its benefactor, inflicting on him a mortal wound. “Oh,” cried the Farmer with his last breath, “I am rightly served for pitying a scoundrel.”

Moral

The greatest kindness will not bind the ungrateful.

L'Estrange VersionL’Estrange version

A countryman happen’d in a hard winter to spy a snake under a hedg, that was half frozen to death. The man was good natur’d, and took it up, and kept it in his bosom, till warmth brought it to life again; and so soon as ever it was in condition to do mischief, it bit the very man that sav’d the life on’t. Ah thou ungrateful wretch! says he, is that venomous ill nature of thine to be satisfi’d with nothing less than the ruine of thy preserver.

Moral

There are some men like some snakes; ’tis natural to them to be doing mischief; and the greater the benefit on the one side, the more implacable is the malice on the other.

Crane Poetry VisualCrane Poetry Visual

 

Man and Snake

In pity he brought the poor Snake
To be warmed at his fire. A mistake!
For the ungrateful thing
Wife & children would sting.
I’have known some as bad as the Snake.

Beware how you entertain traitors.

1001Rusticus et Coluber

Rusticus repertum in altiori nive colubrum, frigore prope enectum, domum tulit et ad focum adiecit. Coluber, ab igni vires virusque recipiens et non amplius flammam ferens, totum tugurium sibilando infecit. Accurrit rusticus et, correpta sude, verbis verberibusque cum eo iniuriam expostulat, “Num haec est quam retulit gratia, eripiendo vitam illi cui vitam debuit?”

Perry #176