The Snake Eater

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Once, a wise man was riding along when he saw a snake going into the mouth of a man sleeping beneath an apple tree.  He tried all that was possible to scare away the snake but to no avail.  The snake succeeded in entering the mouth.  Seeing that the snake had already entered the mouth of that man, the rider tried to employ other methods to help that man.  He beat the sleeper several powerful blows with a mace.  Those blows roughly awakened the man who was under a tree.  Still he knew not about the snake.  He only saw that he was being attacked by a strange person.

Many rotten apples had fallen from the tree.  The wise man sternly ordered him to eat the rotten apples.  So many apples the man had eaten, that some were falling out from his mouth.   The man, in desperation, without knowing what really happened, cried out, “O Chief, why are you behaving like this with me?  What have I done?  Happy is he who never sees our face.  Ill omen was the hour you sighted me.  Why are you torturing me?  What is my crime?”

Every now and then, he cursed the rider but the latter kept beating him.  The wise man ordered him to run about on the plain.  He had no alternative but to run because the blows of the mace were swift as the wind.  After the tiresome and frightful running, he fell on his face.  He was gorged up with apples.  He was tired.  A hundred wounds covered his body.  On the other hand, the rider ceased not to beat him and make him run here and there until dusk.  The man staggered with pain and fatigue.  So much had the rider forced him that by nightfall, nausea caused by bile, overtook him.  He vomited all that he had consumed, good or bad, until at last, the snake was thrust out from his mouth.  When he saw the snake come out from him, he kneeled before the wise man.  As soon as he saw the horrifying black and ugly snake move away from him, all his grief and pain disappeared.

He began eulogising the rider: “You are the Jibril of mercy, you are the lord of bounty.  How blessed and blossomed was the hour you saw me.  I was almost dead; you restored life to me.  You were caring at me like mothers and I was fleeing like asses.  How many foolish words have I uttered?  Have I known but a little, I would have spoken words of praises instead of those ugly words.  But your silence perturbed me so much.  Your silence stuck me over and over.  My wits flew away.  My reason shattered in hundred pieces.  I had no knowledge of what you were doing to me.  Forgive me of that which I said to you without knowledge.”

The wise man then said, “Had I unveiled to you the reason behind my actions, your gall would have instantly turned to water.  If I were to describe to you the qualities of the snake, fear would have fetched up the breath from your soul.  By elucidating the truth, more harm would be done to you.”

Likewise, we blame not the Creator for the trials and the problems we encounter in our daily lives but rather think the benefiting effects they have on us.  We must praise and show gratitude to the Lord of the Universe in every situation, and be patient.


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