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The narrator of the story is a doctor. He is telling this story to some of his friends. He tells the story of his encounter with a deadly snake. He is a homeopath. He says that he had just started his practice in those days when he was living in a rented room.
It was a hot summer night. The time was about ten o’clock. He had just returned home after taking his meals at a restaurant. He lighted the kerosene lamp, as his house was not electrified. After some time, he opened the two windows in the room. Then he sat down on the chair and took out a book to read. Apart from the lamp, there was a large mirror on the table. In those days, the doctor bothered much about his looks, as he was a bachelor. He picked up a comb and parted his hair. He looked at his reflection in the mirror and smiled at his own image. There were rats in the room which constantly made noises.
The doctor got up, lit a beedi and paced up and down the room. He decided that he would marry. He thought that he would marry a woman doctor who had plenty of money and good medical practice. He decided that he would marry a fat lady so that she would not be able to run after him if he wanted to run away. He resumed his seat in the chair in front of the table. There were no more sounds of rats. Suddenly something fell on the back of his chair with a thud. He was horrified to see that there was a large snake on the back of the chair. Just then the snake came on his shoulder. Before the doctor could think and act, the snake coiled itself around his left arm. Its hood was spread and its head was hardly three or four inches from his face.
The doctor was turned to stone with fear. But his mind was active. He prayed to God to save him. It appeared as if God had heard his prayer. The snake turned its head and looked into the mirror. It appeared to like its own image. Then the snake unwound itself from the doctor’s arm and fell into his lap. From there the snake crept onto the table. It moved towards the mirror. Perhaps it wanted to see its image closely. Now the doctor acted quickly. Still holding his breath, he got up slowly from the chair. Then he ran out of the house. He went to the house of one of his friends and spent the night there. Next morning, he took his friend and one or two others to his room. He had decided to shift to some other house. He was shocked to find that there was nothing left in his room. Some thief had taken away most of his things. There was no sign of the snake either.