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.
watched it and saw it slowly come to life again. Then one
of them stooped down to stroke it, but thc 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.’