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The Snake and The Mirror

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10 The Snake and The Mirror

‘The Snake and the Mirror’ is an interesting story about a doctor’s encounter with a snake. This doctor who lived in a small rented room was obsessed with his looks. One night, he was reading a book under the light of a kerosene lamp on a table where stood a large mirror. Suddenly something fell on the back of the chair. He froze with fear when he saw that it was a big snake. The doctor was busy admiring himself in the mirror, lost in his fancy thoughts about his future. But all of that changed suddenly when a snake crept up on him. He not only realized the presence of God, but also realized how foolish he was to think highly about himself. And the instant that he realized that, the snake turned its attention towards the mirror, and started admiring itself, just like the doctor was doing a while ago. Everybody wants to look good and there’s nothing wrong with that. What’s wrong is to be in vain about ones ownself and to be obsessed with ones looks. That is what the author has tried to convey to us through this light and humorous story.

Meanings of words and phrases

  • coiled: move or twist into the shape of a coil
  • electrified: charge with electricity
  • meagre: very less
  • possessed: to have something
  • solitary: only
  • gables: the triangular upper part of a wall at the end of a ridged roof
  • thud: a dull, heavy sound, made by an object falling to the ground
  • wriggled: twist and turn with quick movements
  • simultaneous: at the same time
  • slithered: slide or slip unsteadily
  • lurked: wait or move in a secret way
  • feebly: weakly
  • vermilion: a brilliant red pigment made from mercury sulphide
  • closer quarters: from a close distance
  • heaved a sigh of relief: suddenly feel very happy because something unpleasant has not happened or has ended
  • reedy: very thin
  • sprinter: runner
  • smeared: coat or mark something messily or carelessly

Character Sketch of the doctor

The doctor is the main character of the story. He practises homeopath and is obsessed with his own looks. He is also proud of the fact that he is a doctor. He appears to be a man full of vanity as we see him looking into the mirror and admiring his own looks. But like any normal man, he is scared of snakes. When he sees the snake at just four inches from his face he is too scared to move. Eventually he realises that he is just a mere human being and that there is nothing that makes him superior.

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