The Man Who Swallowed a Snake


In this story, a wise man saves the life of a man who had swallowed a snake unknowingly. The wise man uses his wisdom to get the snake out of the man’s stomach. He makes the man run fast by beating him and also makes him eat the rotten fruit.


Once a wise man was riding along a road when he saw a snake sliding into a sleeping man’s mouth. At first, he tried to frighten away the snake, but he did not succeed. Finally, he struck the sleeping man several powerful blows with his heavy stick. The man opened his eyes in shock and ran for his life. He reached a tree where a number of rotten apples had fallen. The wise man followed him and forced him to eat the rotten fruit to his full.

The man who did not know what had happened to him cursed the wise man. He cursed the hour when the man saw him. He prayed to God to repay him like that, but the wise man continued to beat him with his heavy stick.

The wise man made him run fast and chased him wherever he went. The man’s body was covered in cuts and bruises. In the evening he vomited and everything including the snake came out. When he found this, he fell on the knees of the wise man. Now he thanked God that he had been seen by that angel. He asked the wise man why he had not told him about the whole matter in the beginning. The wise man replied if he had done that, he would get frightened and due to fear he would not have eaten anything.


The theme of the story is that it is good to be strong, but it is far better to be wise. Wisdom pays in the long run. It is quite obvious from this story that if the wise man had not seen the man who swallowed a snake, he would surely have died. He was saved due to the wisdom of the wise man.

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Thinking about the Text | Solved Questions

Question 1. What did the wise man see while riding?
Ans. The wise man saw a snake sliding into the sleeping man’s mouth.

Question 2. What did the wise man do when he could not scare the snake away?
Ans. When the wise man could not scare the snake away, he took up his club and struck the sleeping man with several powerful blows.

Question 3. Why did the wise man chase the man?

Ans. The wise man chased the man so that he could vomit and everything including the snake he had swallowed, would come up from his stomach.

Question 4. Why did the man fall on the wise man’s feet?

Ans. The man fell on the wise man’s feet because he saved his life.

Question 5. Do you think that the wise man proved to be intelligent enough to save the man’s life?

Ans. The wise man proved intelligent enough to save the man’s life.

Language Work

A) Find from the text words/phrases which mean the following:

a) To make a person or an animal frightened
Ans. Terrify

b) To flow quickly and in large amounts
Ans. Pour

c) Completely filled
Ans. Stuff

d) A short period of time
Ans. Quickly

e) To empty the contents of the stomach through the mouth
Ans. Vomit

B) Find the opposites of the following words from the text:

Foolish, awake, mount, slowly, powerless, danger, blessed, virtue, stop, backward, old, remember, difficult, beautiful, white, alive


Foolish = Wise

Awake = Sleep

Mount = Dismount

Slowly = Fastly

Powerless = Mighty or Powerful

Danger = Safety

Blessed = Cursed

Virtue = Demerit

Stop = Start

Backward = Forward

Old ° New

Remember = Forget

Difficult = Easy

Beautiful = Ugly

White = White

Alive = Dead

Grammar Work

(A) Look at the following sentence from the text:

The wise man dismounted quickly and tried to scare the snake away, but to no avail.

The underlined words in the above sentence are verbs. These verbs are regular verbs. A regular verb is a verb that has –ed or –d in past and past participle forms. e.g.

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Talk talked talked

Dance danced danced

Say said said

Whereas other verbs that do not need –ed or ‘d’ for forming past tense and past participle are called irregular verbs e.g.

Cut cut cut

Go went gone

Tell told told

Feed fed fed

Some verbs are both regular and irregular, e.g.,

Learn learnt learnt learned learned

Spoil spoiled spoiled spoilt spoilt

Light lit lit lighted lighted

Now complete the table given below. Consult a dictionary if necessary.

(B) Pick out five action words from the story and write them in the spaces below:

Ans. Dismount, Terrify, Pour, Run, Chase

(C) Look at the following Sentences.

Direct: He said to me, “Are you going to Jammu tomorrow?”

Indirect: He asked me whether/if I was going to Jammu the next day.

Direct: I said to the child, “What are you doing?”

Indirect: I asked the child what he was doing.

The above sentences in, direct speech, are interrogative sentences (Questions)

In changing an interrogative sentence from direct into indirect speech, the following changes are made:

  • The reporting verb is changed to ask, enquire, demand, want to know, etc.
  • If or whether is used after the reporting verb when the question begins with a helping verb.
  • If the question begins with a question word (who, what, which, why, how, etc.) no conjunction is used to connect the reporting speech with the principal clause.
  • The question form is changed into the assertive form and the question mark is removed.

Now change the following sentences from direct into indirect speech:

1. My friend said to me, “Will you help me in this matter?”

Indirect: My friend asked me whether I would help him in that matter.

2. He said to me, “What can I do for you?”

Indirect: He asked me what could he do for me.

3. I said to her, “Why is the child weeping?”

Indirect: I asked her why was the child weeping.

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Or “I enquired her of the weeping of the child.”

4. The wolf said to the lamb, “Why are you making the water muddy?”

Indirect: The wolf asked the lamb why he was making the water muddy.

5. She said to me, “How often do you take tea?”

Indirect: She asked me how often did I took tea.

6. I said to her, “Is it snowing?”

Indirect: I asked her whether it was snowing.

7. I said to Mubashir, “Will you lend me your book?”

Indirect: I asked Mubashir if he lends me his book.

8. The teacher said to the student, “Have you solved the question?”

Indirect: The teacher asked the student whether he had solved the questions.

9. They said to me, “Did you watch TV last night?”

Indirect: They asked me if I watched the TV the previous night.

10. I said to her, “Do you really belong to Kashmir?”

Indirect: I asked her whether she really belongs to Kashmir.

Now Change the following into direct speech:
1. The teacher asked the newcomer what his name was.

Direct: The teacher said to the newcomer, “What is your name?”

2. My friend asked me if I was feeling well.

Direct: My friend said to me, “Are you feeling well?”

3. I asked her when she would go to Mumbai.

Direct: I said to her, “When will you go to Mumbai?”

4. He asked me if he could use my computer.

Direct: He said to me, “Can I use your computer?”

5. I inquired him what the house had cost him.

Direct: I said to him, “What the house has cost you?”

6. The teacher asked the students if they had revised the lesson.

Direct: The teacher said to the students, “Have you revised the lesson?”

7. He asked his brother if he wanted to become a doctor.

Direct: He said to his brother, “Do you want to become a doctor?”

8. I asked my friend if he would accompany me to the market.

Direct: I said to my friend, “Will you accompany me to the market?”

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