A Sneaky Snake Story

One of the first words I learned in Indonesian was ular. Snake. It stands to reason that if I will be living in a place that is rife with these creatures – there was a quashed one on the road as I walked home from dinner tonight – that I ought to memorize that word. Ular. Ular besar. BIG snake. As far as I’m concerned, any snake is a BIG snake.

But I digress. Speaking of snakes, one of their ilk happened to appear front and center in one of my dreams a couple of nights ago. I cannot recall the last time I ever dreamed of snakes. But there it was, looming large, coiled around the trunk of a tree I think.. that’s about all I remember. Sounds pretty cliched, if you ask me, though I am clueless as to its dream-imagery meaning…

However, and here’s the crux of the matter, a meaning altogether unexpected burst forth last night while I was reading the local paper. Let me explain..

I spent the past week camping out again at Cat’s house (a.k.a. Hamish’s house) down the street and around the corner from my place. Cat was heading to Sumba for a few days and asked if I’d like to house-sit again. Before she left, Cat sent me an email with instructions about the chickens in the coop.

I didn’t pay much attention because it seemed like a minor change in their habitat; Maude and Mabel’s, that is. What I didn’t learn until I read Cat’s latest article in the Bali Advertiser was that Mabel was no longer with us, replaced by (what looked like) an almost-identical hen.

What I also didn’t know prior to Cat’s departure, and only learned yesterday, while reading More Havoc in the Henhouse, was the circumstances of Mabel’s untimely death. Turns out that she was feasted upon by a.. snake. Not just any snake – a python. In the coop, on the other side of the wall from where I slept the past week.

Yikes. Double yikes.

Perhaps, in her wisdom (or recalling from past conversations), Cat thought better than to alarm me, imagining that I might re-consider if I knew that a python had been lurking in her garden. Perhaps it was better to be kept in the dark this long… except that  (and maybe you need to live in Bali to understand this) it is no coincidence that I had this unusual dream about a snake the very night before I read that a snake had insinuated itself into the coop so recently and so close to the bed in which I slept.

Make of this what you will. Dream interpreters, go ahead, have a field day.

This much I know: As thrilled as I was to enjoy the fruits of Cat’s garden (papaya! tomatoes! kale!), Wayan’s cooking (fresh fruit cups every morning! lentil soup! rice paper rolls!) and the companionship of a full-on animal menagerie (Hamish! Kalypso! Chiko! Big Bird!), I am ever so content to be back chez moi, at a slightly greater distance from the source of all snakes, great and small, real and dreamed.

Amen to adventures. Especially those that end with every creature’s limbs and life intact.


  1. Oh my golly golly gosh!! That is pretty spooky Amit. Poor chicken, poor you having to fret about pythons ……scary stuff. I’m not so terrified about snakes (though I know I should be) it’s rats that give me the creeps and there was a huge one on the kitchen counter last week……..It’s not the first time I’ve seen them in the kitchen and I’m sure not the last either – I’m as terrified of them, as you are of snakes.

    We have quite a few snakes at our house. I haven’t seen a huge one yet, these seem to be skinny and long and sometimes with a ‘bump’ in the middle where they’ve eaten something! last weekend there was a luwak (civet cat) in the garden. So sweet! I thought it was a domestic cat at first but then I noticed it’s pointy face and tail and the fur is different too.

    1. Rats and snakes oh my! I guess you can truly empathize.. my theory is if snakes, roaches and rats need to exist on this planet then so be it.. but NIMBY!

      The civet is probably good luck and, anyways, think of all the free cups of coffee you can get out of him (her?) that you would otherwise have to cough up a pretty rupiah for… 🙂

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