102. The Pilgrim and the Snake

A pilgrim converted a cobra to the holy life.
"Do no harm," he told the cobra, "and don't bite!"
The snake nodded, and the pilgrim departed.
The village boys, however, grew bold and pelted the snake with rocks.
Its bones broken, the snake could barely slither in and out of its hole.
When the pilgrim returned, he was shocked by the snake's condition.
"The boys attack me," it said. "But I keep my vow!"
"I told you no biting, but I didn't forbid hissing!" the pilgrim exclaimed. "Do no harm, but you must hiss if someone threatens to harm you."

Inspired byTales and Parables of Sri Ramakrishna
Notes: This is story 187 in the book. You can find out more about Ramakrishna at Wikipedia. This is one of the longer stories in this book, going into more detail about the snake's life and how the boys tormented it.

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