12. “What was that?” I asked.
     The doctor said, “My vest, the dirty one. The fellow had such a sense of cleanliness...! The rascal could have taken it and used it after washing it with soap and water.”
     “Did you see the snake the next day, doctor?”
     The doctor laughed, “I’ve never seen it since. It was a snake which was taken with its own beauty!”
The narrator inquired of the doctor as to what the thief had left behind, and the doctor responded that the thief had left behind the filthy vest. He went on to say that the thief was so hygienic that he left the filthy vest there that he referred to the thief as a "rascal" for his mischief. He added that the thief could have taken it with him, cleaned it, and reused it implying the doctor's sense of humour once again.
Someone also inquired as to whether he had seen the snake the next day, to which the doctor answered that he had never seen it since that night. The doctor concluded his story by stating that the snake was attracted to its own beauty.
Though the doctor's account of his experience was humorous, we could see how being "proud" and "arrogant" would constantly get us into trouble. Things in this world may perish at any time. One should not be narcissistic about one's appearance or accomplishments. The moral of the narrative might also be seen as not losing one's cool in difficult situations, and remaining calm and thinking about how to get out of them can rescue us.
Meaning of difficult words:
Taken withAttracted by
National Council of Educational Research and Training (2006). Beehive. The Snake and the Mirror - Vaikom Muhammad Basheer (pp.56-60). Published at the Publication Division by the Secretary, National Council of Educational Research and Training, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi.