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Carolina Indian Heritage Association
The Boy and the Rattlesnake
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(This story comes from the Southwestern tribes. It is told in different ways by different tribes around the country)
 
Long ago a 10-year-old boy was at the top of a mountain. He thought he was alone, but a voice called out to him. "Please, help me. I am very cold. If you don't pick me up and carry me down the mountain where it is warmer, I will die."
The boy saw that it was a rattlesnake talking to him. The boy did not get scared, but said to the rattlesnake, "I can't pick you up. You are dangerous and could kill me."

The rattlesnake asked, "Why would I want to hurt someone who helps me?" The boy replied, "My grandfather is wise. He told me never to touch a rattlesnake."

The boy and the rattlesnake argued for a long time. The rattlesnake told the boy, "Just carry me a little way. I won't hurt you." The boy felt pressure because the snake kept asking him to pick him up. The boy gave in and picked up the snake. Halfway down the mountain the rattlesnake said to the boy, "This is kind of you, but I am still cold. Please put me inside your coat to keep me warm."

A boy walking passed a rattlesnake
Because the rattlesnake had not hurt the boy yet, he put the rattlesnake inside his coat to keep it warm. At the bottom of the mountain the boy felt something bite him. He was surprised. "Why did you do that?" the boy asked the rattlesnake. The rattlesnake replied, "You knew before you picked me up that I might hurt or even kill you. It is in my nature to harm. That's what rattlesnakes do."
 
The lesson of this story is:
Giving in to pressure can hurt you. Do what you know is right.