Snake Charmer: The Tale of Second Green and Little Green

Follow the story of a snake charmer and his two snakes, Second Green and Little Green, as they form a unique bond and journey into the unknown.

In Dongjun County, there was a man who made a living by performing with snakes. He had once tamed two snakes, both of them were green in color. He called the larger one “Big Green” and the smaller one “Second Green.” Second Green had a red spot on its forehead and was particularly agile and obedient. He could command it to coil and perform various actions, and it never disappointed. Therefore, the snake charmer cherished it greatly, treating it differently from the other snakes.

A year later, Big Green passed away, and the snake charmer wanted to find another one to fill the void, but he had not been able to do so. One night, he stayed overnight in a mountain temple. When he opened the bamboo box in the morning, Second Green was also gone. The snake charmer felt extremely distressed and angry. He searched desperately and called out loudly but couldn’t find any trace or sign. Previously, whenever he reached dense forests or lush thickets, he would release the snakes, and after letting them relax and roam freely for a while, they would return on their own. For this reason, this time, the snake charmer hoped that Second Green would come back on its own. So he stayed and waited until the sun rose high in the sky. When he became utterly hopeless, he left reluctantly. Just as he had taken a few steps outside the temple gate, he suddenly heard a rustling sound coming from the thickets. He stopped in surprise and saw that Second Green had returned. The snake charmer was overjoyed, as if he had found a precious gem. He put down the load on his shoulders and stood by the roadside, and the snake also stopped. When he looked again, there was a small snake following behind Second Green. The snake charmer caressed Second Green and said, “I thought you had run away. Is this little companion you introduced to me?” While saying this, he took out snake food and fed Second Green, and also fed the small snake. Although the small snake didn’t move away, it still cowered and didn’t dare to eat. Second Green held the food in its mouth and fed it to the small snake, as if the host was treating the guest to a meal. The snake charmer fed the small snake again, and this time, it ate. After eating, both the small snake and Second Green entered the bamboo box. The snake charmer trained the small snake, and it coiled and twisted just as required, similar to Second Green. Therefore, the snake charmer named it Little Green. He took them everywhere to perform and earned a good amount of money.

In general, for snake charmers, snakes that are under two feet in length are more suitable for performances. If they grow larger, they become too heavy and need to be replaced. Even though Second Green had grown to over two feet, the snake charmer didn’t immediately replace it because it was so well-trained. After another two to three years, Second Green had grown to over three feet in length, and it could barely fit inside the bamboo box when it lay down. The snake charmer then made up his mind to release it. One day, he went to the eastern hills of Zichuan County, fed Second Green with the best food, and after offering some prayers, he let it go. After Second Green left, it returned after a while, slithering around the outside of the bamboo box. The snake charmer waved his hand to drive it away, saying, “Go, there are no feasts that last a hundred years in this world. From now on, hide in the deep mountains and valleys; you will surely become a divine dragon. How can you stay in the bamboo box for long?” Only then did Second Green leave. The snake charmer watched it go into the distance. After a while, Second Green returned again. The snake charmer tried to shoo it away with his hand, but it wouldn’t leave. Instead, it kept touching the bamboo box with its head repeatedly. Little Green was also moving restlessly inside. Suddenly, the snake charmer understood and said, “Are you saying goodbye to Little Green?” He then opened the bamboo box. Little Green darted out, and Second Green interlocked its head and neck with Little Green, frequently sticking out its tongue, as if they were communicating. After a while, the two snakes actually slithered away together. The snake charmer thought that Little Green wouldn’t come back, but after a while, Little Green returned on its own and lay down in the bamboo box. From then on, the snake charmer constantly searched for new snakes, but he never found a suitable replacement. Little Green had also grown too big for performances. Later on, the snake charmer found another snake that was well-trained but not as outstanding as Little Green. By that time, Little Green had grown as thick as a child’s arm.

Before this, Second Green was seen by many woodcutters in the mountains. After a few more years, Second Green grew to several feet in length, as thick as a rice bowl, and began to chase after people when it ventured out. As a result, travelers warned each other not to pass through the area where it roamed. One day, the snake charmer passed through that place, and a large snake suddenly darted out like a gust of wind. The snake charmer was greatly frightened and ran as fast as he could, but the snake pursued him even more urgently. When he looked back, he realized that there was a conspicuous red spot on the snake’s head, and that’s when he recognized it as Second Green. He dropped his load and called out, “Second Green, Second Green!” The snake immediately stopped, raised its head for a long time, then lunged and coiled around the snake charmer, just like it used to during performances. The snake charmer felt that it had no malicious intent; it was just that its body was large and heavy, and he couldn’t withstand it coiling around him. He fell to the ground and begged for mercy, and Second Green released him. Second Green then used its head to hit the bamboo box. The snake charmer understood its intention and opened the bamboo box to release Little Green. When the two snakes saw each other, they immediately entwined tightly together, coiling around like they were stuck together with honey, and it took a long time before they separated. The snake charmer then wished Little Green, “I’ve wanted to say goodbye to you for a while, and now you have a companion.” He also told Second Green, “Little Green was originally brought by you; you can take it with you. I’ll give you one piece of advice: in the deep mountains, there is no shortage of food and drink, so don’t disturb passing travelers, lest you anger the heavens and face punishment.” The two snakes hung their heads, as if they accepted his advice. Suddenly, they sprang apart and left, with the larger one in front and the smaller one behind. Wherever they passed, trees and grass were parted in the middle and bent to the sides. The snake charmer stood there watching them until they disappeared before leaving. Since then, travelers passing through that area returned to their usual peace, and no one knew where those two snakes had gone.

The chronicler of strange tales said: Snakes, merely dumb and ugly crawling creatures, still hold a lingering attachment to old acquaintances and swiftly accept advice when they hear it. What truly perplexes me are those who, despite their human appearance, are quick to plot harm against close friends of ten years or benefactors who have shown kindness for generations. They readily ignore well-intentioned advice from others and even treat them as enemies with fiery indignation. Truly, they are worse than snakes!

《蛇人》

东郡某甲,以弄蛇为业。尝蓄驯蛇二,皆青色,其大者呼之大青,小曰二青。二青额有赤点,尤灵驯,盘旋无不如意。蛇人爱之,异于他蛇。

期年,大青死,思补其缺,未暇遑也。一夜,寄宿山寺。既明,启笥,二青亦渺。蛇人怅恨欲死。冥搜亟呼,迄无影兆。然每值丰林茂草,辄纵之去,俾得自适,寻复还。以此故,冀其自至。坐伺之,日既高,亦已绝望,怏怏遂行。出门数武,闻丛薪错楚中,窸窣作响。停趾愕顾,则二青来也。大喜,如获拱璧。息肩路隅,蛇亦顿止。视其后,小蛇从焉。抚之曰:“我以汝为逝矣。小侣而所荐耶?”出饵饲之,兼饲小蛇。小蛇虽不去,然瑟缩不敢食。二青含哺之,宛似主人之让客者。蛇人又饲之,乃食。食已,随二青俱入笥中。荷去教之,旋折辄中规矩,与二青无少异,因名之小青。衒技四方,获利无算。

大抵蛇人之弄蛇也,止以二尺为率,大则过重,辄便更易。缘二青驯,故未遽弃。又二三年,长三尺馀,卧则笥为之满,遂决去之。一日,至淄邑东山间,饲以美饵,祝而纵之。既去,顷之复来,蜿蜒笥外。蛇人挥曰:“去之!世无百年不散之筵。从此隐身大谷,必且为神龙,笥中何可以久居也?”蛇乃去。蛇人目送之。已而复返,挥之不去,以首触笥。小青在中,亦震震而动。蛇人悟曰:“得毋欲别小青耶?”乃发笥。小青径出,因与交首吐舌,似相告语。已而委蛇并去。方意小青不返,俄而踽踽独来,竟入笥卧。由此随在物色,迄无佳者。而小青亦渐大,不可弄。后得一头,亦颇驯,然终不如小青良。而小青粗于儿臂矣。

先是,二青在山中,樵人多见之。又数年,长数尺,围如碗,渐出逐人。因而行旅相戒,罔敢出其途。一日,蛇人经其处,蛇暴出如风。蛇人大怖而奔,蛇逐益急。回顾已将及矣,而视其首,朱点俨然,始悟为二青。下担呼曰:“二青,二青!”蛇顿止。昂首久之,纵身绕蛇人,如昔弄状。觉其意殊不恶,但躯巨重,不胜其绕,仆地呼祷,乃释之。又以首触笥。蛇人悟其意,开笥出小青。二蛇相见,交缠如饴糖状,久之始开。蛇人乃祝小青:“我久欲与汝别,今有伴矣。”谓二青曰:“原君引之来,可还引之去。更嘱一言:深山不乏食饮,勿扰行人,以犯天谴。”二蛇垂头,似相领受。遽起,大者前,小者后,过处林木为之中分。蛇人伫立望之,不见乃去。自此行人如常,不知其何往也。

异史氏曰:蛇,蠢然一物耳,乃恋恋有故人之意,且其从谏也如转圜。独怪俨然而人也者,以十年把臂之交,数世蒙恩之主,辄思下井复投石焉。又不然,则药石相投,悍然不顾,且怒而仇焉者,亦羞此蛇也已。

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