I. The Green Snake:
Early morning, the day before yesterday,
under a slab of stone,
in a crack,
eyes glittering,
forked tongue licking and flashing,
a frog swelling his belly,
he lay there quietly:
a baby snake, two hands long,
a green snake.
“Poor thing. It’s a green snake. Still a baby.
What harm can it do?” I said.
My father replied,
“A snake’s a snake.”
And mother,
“That’s where everyone walks.
We don’t need trouble. Kill it.”
“I can’t,” I said.
Father struck him with a piece of firewood,
chased him outside,
and killed him flat.
[translated by A.K. Ramanujan]
A.K. Ramanujan is an Indian poet who has written numerous folktales, short stories and poems. The poem "The Green Snake" describes about an early morning incident in the poet's life, where he encounters a green snake lying quietly under a slab near their house. The snake has a forked tongue and has swallowed a frog. He is happily taking rest after his meal and his eyes are glittering. The poet says that the green snake was only a baby, which was only as long as two human hands placed together. He uses the term 'Baby' which is referred to only human children, thereby considering him as an equal. When his father tries to hit the snake, the poet pleads with him, to let him go as he is not capable of harming anyone. His father says that a snake which is believed to be a poisonous animal will never be harmless. His mother backs him up, saying that they were not willing to take risks. When the poet cannot bring himself to attack the snake his father takes a firewood and chased it out. Rather than leaving the harmless snake to escape alone, he makes sure to kill it. The author emphasizes that men try to exert their power on harmless submissive creatures, despite knowing that they can cause them no harm.
National Council of Educational Research and Training (2006). Beehive. The Snake Trying- W.W.E. Ross (pp 125-126). Published at the Publication Division by the Secretary, National Council of Educational Research and Training, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi.