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Moral Stories

The Snake in Fire

Once upon a time, a man named Ghanbar lived. He had only one camel. He carried goods with his camel. He bought cotton and silk from one city and sold them in another city. Then he bought clothes and carpets

from that city and sold them in another city. When he had no goods, he rode on his camel and returned home.

One day he reached a caravansary. The caravansary was quiet and nobody was there. He looked around. There was a fire in a corner Ghanbar said to himself: ‘Obviously the previous caravan left here just now. They did not put out their fire. I wish I reached here earlier and joined them.’

Suddenly he heard a voice. ‘Help! Help, I am on fire! Save me!’

Ghanbar ran towards the fire. He saw a big snake among the fire flares. Ghanbar asked with surprise: ‘What are you doing there? Why did you go there?’

The snake said: ‘I did not go inside the fire. There was a caravan before you. They set a fire and cooked some food. Then they left. The wind put fire in the firewood and my house. Now come and help me!’

Ghanbar thought: Although snakes are enemies of humans, but now this animal is in fire and I should help.’

He was a kind man. He took out his bag and tied it to a long stick. Then he conducted his bag to the snake with the help of the stick. The snake felt happy and went into the bag. Ghanbar took out the bag and opened it and said: 'get out and go wherever you want’

The snake got out of the bag, but stayed there and said: ‘I won't go anywhere, unless I bite you.’

Ghanbar asked with surprise: ‘Why? I saved your life. Is this my reward?’

The snake said: 'That's right, you saved my life, but don't you know that the remuneration of goodness is badness? Now I want to bite you in return of your kindness.’

Ghanbar said: ‘I have not heard this saying before. Who said that the remuneration of goodness is badness?’

The snake said: ‘If you do not believe it, we can go and ask others.’

Ghanbar said: ‘O.K. let's go and ask.’

They went together. Ghanbar walked and the snake crept, until they reached a cow. The snake asked: ‘Will you accept the words of this cow?’

Ghanbar accepted and then they asked the cow.

‘Is the remuneration of goodness, badness?’

The cow said: ‘Yes, among the humans, this is right.’

Ghanbar was surprised and asked ‘why?’

The cow said: ‘I worked lots of years in a farm. I gave birth to a calf every year. I gave them milk and they made cheese and yogurt out of it. Now that I am old, my owner has brought a butcher to kill me. Is that right, after all that goodness I did for him?’'

Ghanbar said nothing. A few moments passed. The snake said: ‘What do you say now?’

Ghanbar said: ‘With one person's word, it is not possible to prove anything. Let's ask others.’

They continued moving until they reached a tree. The snake said: ‘Let's ask this tree.’

It stood by the tree and said: ‘O'tree, I have a question.’

What question?’ said the tree.

‘Is the remuneration of goodness, badness?’ the snake asked.

The tree said: ‘Yes, that's true. The humans remunerate goodness with badness.’

Ghanbar answered: ‘How?’

The tree said: ‘I am a tree in this desert. The people came here tired. They took rest here under my shadow. When they were refreshed, they would cut some of my big branches to make some doors out of them. You see. I provide them shadow to save them from the hot sun, but they cut my branches. So the remuneration of goodness is badness.’

Ghanbar became silent. The snake said: ‘This is the second one. Now what do say?’

Ghanbar said: ‘We have to ask the third one. If the next one says the same, I am satisfied.’

They moved on, until they reached a fox. The fox was sitting near his lair. The snake asked the fox: ‘Is it true that the remuneration of goodness is badness.’ The fox asked: ‘What's happened?’ Ghanbar said: ‘I came to a caravansary and saw this snake in fire and helped it. I tied my bag to a long stick. The snake went to my bag and I saved it. Now it wants to bite me and says that the remuneration of goodness is badness. Is it right?’

The fox said: ‘I don't believe that. How is it possible that such a large snake be fitted in such a small bag? I don't believe that, until I see it with my own eyes.’

Ghanbar put his bag down and opened it. The snake went into the bag to show that it is speaking the truth. The fox pointed to Ghanbar to close the bag. Now the snake was in the bag; trapped. The fox said: ‘The snake did not bite you. So you should remunerate its goodness with badness. Smash it with your stick.’

The snake heard that and said: ‘No, That is not right! I was wrong. The remuneration of goodness is not badness. Please forgive me. Maybe a few people remunerate goodness with badness, but this is not common. The reward of goodness is appreciation. If you free me, I will thank you forever.’

Ghanbar realized that the snake has understood its fault, so he opened his bag. Then he rode on his camel and left.