the snake of dreams


The illustrious storyteller Hugh Lupton retells this story in his book of riddles. We read it tonight again, after I tried to tell it and got mixed up.

Many years ago – and it was neither my time nor your time – there lived a great king.

And one night that king dreamed a strange dream.

He dreamed that a fox was hanging by its tail from the ceiling above his golden throne, a red fox, snarling and snapping, suspended by its red brush.

When the king woke up he called all of his advisers and wise men.

“What could be the meaning of such a dream?”

But they all shook their heads and shrugged their shoulders and not one of them could find an answer to that question. So the king ordered every grown man and woman in his kingdom to gather before the palace.

“Surely”, he thought to himself, “there must be someone in this great country who can unriddle my dream.\”

So the people came from north, south, east and west. And among the many there was one, a simple farmer who lived among the mountains far in the north. As he travelled towards the king’s palace he came to a narrow pass between two mighty mountains, and curled in the dust of the road there was a snake. As the farmer drew close the snake lifted its thin head:

“Aaaaaah, traveller, stop, and tell me, where are you going?”

The story continues here.

(It’s followed by an essay, which is, well, an essay.)


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