Illustration by Gustave Dore
The same goes for the seven little kid goats (except the clever one hidden in the grandfather clock that is ) saved, alive, bleating and replaced with stones in the stomach of another big bad wolf. I soon realised this too was beyond belief.
Recently however I had such an obscure encounter of my own it surely seems to have stepped off the very pages of a fairytale. Sadly there are no photographs as I didn't have my camera with me at the time. Oh how I wish I had....
It happened a few weeks ago on the day that our Mother hen had hatched her two eggs. She had to be moved to a safe pen with her newborn chicks. The pen was moved to a new position and it was as we brushed the old sawdust out that a rather long grass snake appeared. It headed straight across to the vegetable bed and quickly became entangled in the strawberry netting that we use as fencing to protect the plants from scratching hens. I soon realised this strawberry netting is lethal to small creatures such as a snake.
I had never held a snake before, but did as I've watched on numerous occasions on television and held it by the back of it's head whilst it lashed about frantically. Poor thing, the more it moved the more it became embedded in the net. My daughter quickly ran to get scissors and we carefully cut the net away from it's scales and thankfully managed to free it. It began to slither away slowly, then stopped and proceeded to regurgitate its lunch, a brown slime covered lump. Not a pretty sight....
The snake then slipped under cover to safety, beneath the blackberry brambles and we had a closer inspection of the brown slime covered lump which we noticed now was moving slightly. Yes, moving! With the aid of a small watering can of water the slime was washed away and low and behold there sat a toad still alive! Once we cleaned him or her off it began to walk slowly. We picked it up and carried he or she in a flower pot to the other side of the land away from the grass snake and set it free.
This is a memory I will now keep with me forever. It was just so surreal...
And before you ask.... No, I didn't kiss the toad.
So who knows, maybe if the wolf had been a giant snake then Grandma and the six baby goats would have survived after all?
I do apologise if I have given you the shivers with this story. My posts don't often contain talk of snakes,slime and Grandmas being eaten. For those of you that don't know, a grass snake is a totally harmless snake and a protected species in this country.And for those of you that use the lethal strawberry netting, please be sure to watch out for wildlife getting caught.
To calm things down now ;) Here is something relaxing to finish with. A little birdsong in my garden.