The Woodman and the Serpent

: Aesop's Fables

One wintry day a Woodman was tramping home from his work when

he saw something black lying on the snow. When he came closer he

saw it was a Serpent to all appearance dead. But he took it up

and put it in his bosom to warm while he hurried home. As soon as

he got indoors he put the Serpent down on the hearth before the

fire. The children watched it and saw it slowly come to life

again. Then one of them stooped down to stroke it, but the

Serpent raised its head and put out its fangs and was about to

sting the child to death. So the Woodman seized his axe, and with

one stroke cut the Serpent in two. "Ah," said he,

"No gratitude from the wicked."