One morning a young brave was walking through the mountains on the way to his village and came across a rattlesnake on the path.
The rattlesnake spoke to him, “Please my boy, I’m so cold from the snow that fell on my home last night. I need to get down to the warm valley so I can survive. Will you take me with you?”
The boy answered, “No Mr. Rattlesnake. If I pick you up, you’ll bite me and I’ll die.”
The rattlesnake replied, “Little boy, if you do this thing for me I will forever be in your debt, and I promise I won’t bite you. We’ll be friends from here on and I’ll let you pass in peace whenever we meet again.”
The boy thought about this and answered, “Mr. Rattlesnake, my grandfather is very wise, he’s the chief of my people. He taught me to never touch the snake people.”
The boy and the snake aargued back and forth, with the snake flattering the boy, telling him, “To be the grandson of the chief is a great honor, and I’m sure
you must be very wise and brave. I can tell that one day you will also be chief of your people.”
“Please do a very small thing for me then,” begged the snake, “please just carry me the short distance to the river where I can sun myself on the smooth warm rocks. Can you do that small thing for me?”
The snake was very persistent and very persuasive and the boy finally gave in to his pleadings. He picked up the snake with a stick and began walking down the mountain towards his village.
After just a short distance the snake began pleading with the boy, “My boy, my boy, this is a very wonderful thing you’re doing for me, so kind and generous. I will forever remember you. But I am still so cold and this stick is hurting my ribs, can you put me under your deerskin coat and keep me warm until we reach the river?”
The boy seeing that so far the snake had kept his word, took the snake and tucked him next to his body.
Finally at the river, the boy reached into his warm coat and carefully removed the snake and placed him on the rocks. As he pulled his hand back the snake reared and struck a fatal bite on his wrist.
The boy screamed out in shock and pain at being betrayed by the snake. “Please,” said the snake scornfully, “don’t act so surprised that I bit you. You knew exactly what I was when you picked me up.”