Friday, May 16, 2008

Grimm's Saga No. 221: The Snake Queen

(Please read, enjoy, link to or pass this story on to friends. 
Please do not plagiarize, copy or pilfer. Thanks!)

The Snake Queen

Once a shepherdess found a sick snake lying high up on a rocky cliff, fading fast. The maid took pity and offered the creature her milk can. The snake lapped up the milk hungrily and soon regained strength. The maiden continued on her way and it was not long after that her lover asked for her hand in marriage. But to her rich, proud father, the suitor was too poor and thus was mockingly rejected. He was told to come back when he owned as much cattle as the old herdsman. From that moment on, the old farmer had no luck but only misfortune. It was said at night that a firey dragon hovered over his fields and soon his property lay in ruins. But the poor youth became very rich and once more asked for the maid’s hand in marriage, which was now granted. On the wedding day a snake appeared in the room, on its coiled tail was a beautiful maiden, who said it was she whom the kind shepherdess had fed milk when she lay starving. Full of gratitude she took her brilliant crown from her head and threw it into the bride’s lap. The Queen Snake immediately vanished but the young couple were blessed with abundance in their household and they were very prosperous all their lives.

Snakes and Milk? Where did this come from?
A friend in India writes the following:
On Naag Panchami (Naag in Hindi means snake), we feed snakes milk. It’s symbolic as snakes don’t drink milk. The snake charmers just take the milk with them. Naag Panchami follows some time after the Spring festival. Snakes are sacred to us so we worship them. They are the companion of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva is a Hindu God; he wears snakes as garlands.

Thank you reader in India for this wonderful contribution! It is interesting to see the overlap between Swiss and Indian traditions. In fact, I was quite surprised to hear this!

The same reader has sent me an Indian folk tale about a snake. It's wonderful!:
The story tells a different aspect of snake behavior.Though we are all scared of snakes but in the story it is shown that snakes do have feelings of pity and forgiveness.A similar story I would like to narrate which is famous in India. This has been taken from" Panchatantra " a fairytale book famous in India.

"There was once a Brahmin(upper caste person) who had two daughters .The elder daughter was from his first wife ,who died many years ago, while the second daughter was from his second wife who was alive. His wife didnot love the elder daughter.So one day she sent the elder daughter to a forest to fetch some water.In the forest the elder daughter found a snake, who was going to die, but the good girl fed it water and the snake regained its posture, the snake asked the girl if she would marry him? The daughter took the snake to her parents and told them about its proposal. Her step mother immediately agreed as she wanted to get rid of her stepdaughter. So the marriage between the girl and snake took place. They were given a separate room. The snake went inside the room , while the girl had some work to do so after a few minutes she too went into the room. To her surprise instead of a snake she found a handsome young man and the snake skin was lying aside. She immediately took the snake skin and burnt it. The young man was so happy , then he told her that actually he was a prince but was cursed to be a snake and his curse has now been broken .The prince and his wife the lived happily ever after"
Hope you like this story!

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