The Parable of the Stone Viper


The green snake hated the men of the village.

They would stomp at him with their boots, and stab at him with their rakes and scythes. They went into his nest and crushed his brood, and skinned his mate for belt leather.

So the green snake went to the riverbed and swallowed stone after stone after stone.

It caused him great pain, but eventually his scales grew as hard as diamond.

He laughed, and slithered into the village – striking at will with venom and fang.

The boots of the men crumpled against his stone skin, their rakes and scythes shattered on his hard back.  For each shattered egg, he took one of the men’s children, and flung himself into the bosom of mother after mother, hissing revenge.

At last he grew tired, and curled up in the wheat field, still marveling at his invincibility.

And so the men of the village burned the wheat field. They burned their houses, and burned the corpses of the dead. They left in the night, leaving behind nothing but ash.

The Stone Viper awoke, and found only smoke. The men burned as they went, so as fast as the snake slithered it could never quite make it beyond the flames to the green pastures beyond.

After ten days and nights, the snake stopped moving.

He coughed up the stones one by one, and died surrounded by fire.

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