Medicine Snake

Snake Stories

Battle With the Snakes (Iroquois)
Coyote Challenges Never-Grows-Larger
Great Serpent and the Great Flood (Chippewa)
Hero with the Horned Snakes (Cherokee)
How the Cherokee Learned the Rattlesnake Prayer Song
Legend of the First Ohki:we (Kahnewake, Six Nations)
Serpent of the Sea (Zuni)
Snake with the Big Feet

Some universal tales have variations shared worldwide. Stories carry lessons for young and old. Stories do not always represent reality so much as they teach lessons, values and morals. The following is a very old story told by Cherokee, Seneca, Hindu, and many other people all around the world.

The Little Boy and The Rattlesnake

The little boy was walking down a path and he came across a rattlesnake. The rattlesnake was getting old. He asked, "Please little boy, can you take me to the top of the mountain? I hope to see the sunset one last time before I die." The little boy answered "No Mr. Rattlesnake. If I pick you up, you'll bite me and I'll die." The rattlesnake said, "No, I promise. I won't bite you. Just please take me up to the mountain." The little boy thought about it and finally picked up that rattlesnake and took it close to his chest and carried it up to the top of the mountain.

They sat there and watched the sunset together. It was so beautiful. Then after sunset the rattlesnake turned to the little boy and asked, "Can I go home now? I am tired, and I am old." The little boy picked up the rattlesnake and again took it to his chest and held it tightly and safely. He came all the way down the mountain holding the snake carefully and took it to his home to give him some food and a place to sleep. The next day the rattlesnake turned to the boy and asked, "Please little boy, will you take me back to my home now? It is time for me to leave this world, and I would like to be at my home now." The little boy felt he had been safe all this time and the snake had kept his word, so he would take it home as asked.

He carefully picked up the snake, took it close to his chest, and carried him back to the woods, to his home to die. Just before he laid the rattlesnake down, the rattlesnake turned and bit him in the chest. The little boy cried out and threw the snake upon the ground. "Mr. Snake, why did you do that? Now I will surely die!" The rattlesnake looked up at him and grinned, "You knew what I was when you picked me up."

Indigenous Peoples' Literature Return to Indigenous Peoples' Literature

Compiled by: Glenn Welker

This site has been accessed over 10,000,000 times since February 8, 1996.