Short Story of the Day-1 : "Hiss, Don’t Bite!"

A serpent dwelt in a certain locality. No one dared to pass by that way; for whoever did so was instantaneously bitten to death by that serpent. Once a holy man passed by. As usual the serpent pursued the sage with a view to bite him, but when it approached the holy man, it lost all its ferocity and was overpowered by his gentleness. Seeing the snake, the holy man said, “Well, friend, do you want to bite me?” The snake was abashed and made no reply. At this, the sage said again, “Hearken, friend, do not injure anyone in future.” The bowed and nodded assent. After the sage had gone his own way, the snake entered its hole, and thenceforth began to live a life of innocence and purity without even wishing to harm anyone. In a few days, it became a common belief in the neighbourhood that the snake had lost all its venom and was no more dangerous, and so people began to tease it. Some pelted stones at it, and others dragged it mercilessly by the tail. Thus there was no end to its troubles. Fortunately, sometime after, the sage again passed by that way and seeing the bruised and battered condition of the poor snake, was very much moved to pity and inquired the cause of its distress. At this the snake replied, “Sir, I have been reduced to this state, because I have not been injuring anyone since I received your instruction. But alas! They are so merciless!” The sage smilingly said, “Dear friend, I simply advised you not to bite anyone, but I never asked you not to hiss and frighten others. Although you should not bite any creature, still you should keep every one at a considerable distance from you by hissing.” Similarly, if you live in the world, make yourself feared and respected. Do not injure anyone, but do not at the same time let others injure you. (From: “The Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna”, a Ramakrishna Math publication)

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