Snake Bite (Life with Grandfather)

Following text is story from the collection "Life with Grandfather’ by Shankar Pillai.

One day I saw a small snake in the compound. It was crawling along slowly but when it saw me, it moved away quickly and hid itself in a coconut shell. I quietly went near and closed the mouth of the coconut shell with a stone. Then I took the shell and ran to Grandmother.

"Look, Grandma," I cried, "I have caught a snake."

"Snake?" asked Grandmother in alarm. She was shocked. She cried for help. Grandfather came running. When he learnt that I had a snake in the shell, he snatched the shell and threw it away.

The snake crawled away and disappeared behind some bushes. Grandfather warned me never to go near a snake, because snakes were very dangerous.

Later in the evening, I tried to catch a bee and it stung me on my finger. I felt a sharp pain. I ran to grandmother and told her that I had been bitten and wanted her to do something to stop the pain. Grandmother thought that I had been bitten by a snake. She called out to Grandfather, "Come and see what has happened to Raja."

Grandfather came at once. He looked at my finger and there was a blue mark. Without a word he took me in his arms and started running. He ran across the garden and through the paddy fields. He ran and ran and did not stop until he reached a small house quite some distance away from our home. Then he shouted for the man who lived there.

An old grey haired man came out of the house. He knew the cure for snake bite. Grandfather asked him to cure me. The old man took me inside. He looked at my finger and then asked me to sit down and not to move. I sat on Grandfather’s lap. The old man then took some water in a small brass vessel, sat in front of us and started reciting some mantras.

I wanted to tell him that it was a bee and not a snake that had bitten me. But Grandfather held me tight and did not allow me to talk. Grandmother too had arrived by then and some other people with her. They looked sad and silently watched me.

By this time the pain in my finger had stopped. But still I had to sit there and get cured of 'snake bite'.

After a few minutes, the old man got up, washed my finger and gave me some water to drink. He asked me to keep quiet for some more time. Then he turned to Grandfather and said, "Thank God, you brought Raja in time. He is out of danger now. It was indeed a poisonous snake that bit him."

Grandfather, Grandmother and all others thanked the old man for the magic cure. On returning home, Grandfather sent him gifts.

Summary

This is a story about a young boy, Raja. He liked to meddle with snakes and bees. One day, while he was trying to catch a bee, it stung him on his finger. His grandparents thought it was a snake bite. They took him to a man who, they thought could cure a snake bite. The boy wanted to tell the man that it was a bee sting and not a snake bite but he was asked to remain silent.

The man put some water in a pot and started chanting some mantras. By then, Raja’s finger had stopped hurting. The man concluded that this happened because of his magic mantra. The grandparents thanked the man and later on sent him some gifts as a reward for curing Raja.