Jumping Serpents of Bosnia
By Dennis L. Siluk
Aug 4, 2004
The Tale of the: Jumping Serpents of Bosnia
The Snake Killer of Bosnia
Along the coast of the Adriatic Sea lives what now is called the "poskok," better known as the "Jumping Serpent". These creatures are some five feet long and to my understanding can jump some three feet in the air and leap some five feet in any direction they are aiming at. But this didn't happen by chance, this really and truly happened by necessity. And this is the tale you are about to hear, the "why," of it, how it came about. And to be quite honest, you will be the first to hear of it.
The poskok has a macabre-hissing tone to its dynamic language, a hissing that bellows out fear, and out of fear and inborn aggressiveness, its impulses create a neurological reaction that makes it leap and jump. Again, the why of this will come out in the tale? But it is always prudent to know the background of things, and so I am equipped to share it with you. In addition to its poisonous bite, it has quite the temper, and at times it can look no different than a log or branch sitting by a tree. And let's add its natural abode to this narrative background: it prefers if given the natural background to live, it will choose the trunk of trees. And now come join me for my tale of tales, and think not that there doesn't be a feature of truth in this tale, for it would be ill-advised to think otherwise.
Once upon a time, several hundred years ago, or thereabouts, there were a multitude of snakes along the coast of the Adriatic Sea, and within the mountainous area thereof, in a land now called Bosnia. They grew the length of the men of that area in that day. These snakes were a reddish-brown color and a cleaver kind of breed, with sharp fangs, and were quite poisonous and aggressive for the most part. Along with living in the trunks of trees, in lack of a better home, and accommodations, and liking the sun, they slept on the side of the roads to a high extent, where often times they chummed with one another - (figuratively speaking), looking like dried up old branches, especially in the fall season laying over one another like little lions. But as winter came around, back into the trunks and holes of trees they'd find themselves. And when they seen a passerby, especially during the long hot summers, they'd play possum [dead], and when a female carrying water to the village would walk by them, they'd twist their bodies slowly and, positioning them just right and quicker than you could say "help", they'd have their teeth in one's leg. And the water being fresh would feed their thirst, along with its aggressive temperament, even on their best of days would be hard for them not to do their dirty deeds, they seemed to be simply born with an aggressive nature.
--Well, this went on for quite a spell, yes, for the longest time, and one day, one day after hearing - year after year hearing - people's complaints, the King of the area announced that whoever could rid the region of these nasty and evil serpents, he'd reward them by allowing them to marry his beautiful and youthful daughter. Will, all is fare in love and war, so they say, thus, Mr. Goose, an old man from Croatia [82- years old at the time], went to the little mountainous kingdom and spoke with King Mon about his reward to be, should he clear the land of these creepy-crawly type creatures that infested every nook, tree and, oh well, lets just say, the whole landscape.
Said the King, with a skeptical eye, "It would take an army I fear to wipe these hills and mountains and coastline of these aggressive, antagonistic evil doers that have taken over a thousand-lives, a thousand lives I say, from my kingdom's past of which it has been some forty years, to now, yes, yes, how can one man expect to do this, it is beyond me?"
Said the old man, who had an odd looking hunchback and legs that looked more animal than human with mammalian hairs sticking out all the openings of his pants, likewise his shirt, and on his face and arms; in addition, he had a long skull a very long slant to it, with a brow that receded back to prickly looking hair, quite thin, and a smirk that showed he had secrets, secrets beyond our imagination possible, and a small mustache, yes he had a small thin mustache, thin bone structure, big eyes and feet; they were as if claws from a hawk. But here he stood, the old carnivorous gentleman, smiling with a long pause, and then simply said:
(Ah! but said it keenly and sharply), "I will take your daughter for my reward, as you promise, should I accomplish the mission, but if you want to know how I shall do this feat, it will cost you your kingdom."
[Insolent thought the king] With a stiff upper lip, and eyebrow up in the air, the short stubby king, with his curly locks of golden hair dangling over his ears, stood up in front of the beggar type looking man, who had a deep-set of eyes, big, yes big and confident, that had a small and thin bridge separating them from what was called his nose but looked more liken to reptilian type air holes, with only a small arch and slits to inhale though.
Said he, said he with scorn on his cheek bones, stiff bones, perturbing bones - even through his fat:
"So be it, you will have my daughter, not my kingdom, should you achieve this mission, and should you not, I advise you, you old coot, to be gone from these hills - far gone, for I will surely have you stripped and beaten unto your last gulp of air, should you not accomplish this, simply for you absurd audacity to think so highly of yourself in front of me."
--There was no more to be said, the old man turned around and with shifty looking dark eyes, ebony-yes that resembled a rat's, he walked out through the door, as strangely as he walked in, almost silently, not looking any which way but straight. Upon the door opening up, and the king still sitting at his grand thorn, two soldiers came in with a huge seven-foot snake to show the king their good deed, their catch of the day. They had its mouth died shut with a rope, and carried it on a long stick. It must have weighed two-hundred pounds or more. As the two soldiers walked past the old man, the king starting to stand up, the serpent got a look at the old man's eyes - it was the yes and the mouth, yes the mouth most certainly, and like thunder erupting, or possible like such as the sound from a volcano, the snake started hissing, and jumping all hissing more, as if about to fly out of the two soldiers mitts, trying to get free, trying to escape the old mans presence. Matter of fact, so frantic was the snake it even started to eat the rope it was tied with.
When the soldiers seen this, they dropped the snake on the marble floor, as the King looked on, on towards the snake and the old man with one glance he had given the snake, frightened the snake with, he knew this man was extraordinary, and although he hesitated in mind and soul to stop this potential marriage, he had no other recourses left, the old man was it - who else was there, should he not make the deal, there'd be no kingdom to rule in time. As soon as the old man was out of the door: out of sight, the snake regained it's weaken composure it had before it had seen the old deformed gentleman of sorts.
Accordingly, the deal was sealed, and for five years to follow the old man walked slowly up and own the paths of the mountains; looked in every tree trunk, walked the coast of the Adriatic, and combed miles and miles of forest areas within the vicinity, whipping out all the snakes that he could find: he ate them, like an animal eating flesh, ripped them apart like a rat to a hen. It had come to a point, and it was said, that the area had over 10,000 snakes at one time, that now their existence was down to but ten. And these ten got together, and by way of necessity, thus, started learning how to jump, and leap. They'd gathered by the waters, the lakes, the rivers, wherever they could and watched the frogs as they moved about, then even watched the toads, and any creature that jumped. And by instinct, and need for continued existence, within a years time had learned how to leap some three feet in the air, and some five to seven feet in any direction - straight forward that is. As a result it was there way of escape from this flesh-eating human animal of sorts: the old man.
Four years had gone by, and the old man was now 86-years old. His heart was tired, and he wanted more than anything to leave a legacy behind - his legacy that is, but had one more year to keep the land free of these evil serpents, should he fail, he'd loose the beautiful bright- eyed young princess: and in his mind, this could not be tolerated.
As time passed, the old man found these ten snakes, all in different locations: some in trees, others along side of the road playing dead, and others by the great waters of the sea, he'd go to grab them, and before he could they'd jump, leap right through his hands. Several leaps and the serpents were gone, out of sight. Well, this bothered the old man to extremes, but he knew if he kept the snakes hidden, and busy, he'd still get his reward, or could if he was deceptive enough. And consequently, as if nothing had happened - he'd continue to play his game, and the king would be no wiser; in consequence, the old man kept walking the mountain paths - as all the villagers knew, and word got back to the king all the roads were clean and clear of the snakes; and checking out the trees, and road sides, and occasionally finding a snake or two, but it again would leap out of his presence to safety (again I say, but no one had seen snakes for a long time now, no one that is but the old man, so the king was not wise to his charade). And slowly but surely the numbers started to increase, but they were simply baby snakes, and the mothers kept them hidden from the old man, in fear they'd become extinct all over again; so again no one seen them, and the snakes knew the old may was aging, and would not live forever, if only they could out last him.
And therefore, the fifth year had passed, and the old man went to the king to claim his reward. The King looking quite dreadful at his parting of his daughter gave her to the old man nonetheless - with not much to say, and brought forth a great celebration. The lovely twenty-year old princess was adorned with all kinds of flowers, and jewels and riches beyond imagination. And the party went on and on all night. Surprisingly during this time the king noticed that he had only eyes for the princess, not the riches she possessed. Somehow that seemed to dignify the whole matter much more, in an ugly kind of way, that is. As the bride danced with the groom, all the young bucks looked on with discuss and envy. The princess although, said nothing, like a good daughter, she kissed her husband and bid good evening to the guests, as they went into their room to consummate the marriage.
As the evening went on, the old man lay back in his bed, tired, very tired, and in the morn, the princess trying to awake her new husband found him to be dead. Mortified, and yet relieved, she called quickly to her father, the doctor and the guards. Word had gotten out quickly that the princess' husband had heart- failure, and she would be in mourning. But the serpents in the area were refreshed by the news, and came out bravely, back onto the pathways, and around the trees and coastal areas with their young ones.
The king now seeing this didn't know what to do, but it was not half as bad as it was five years past, and figured he'd look for another man of same qualities, and tried to find the Goose family to no avail. Then, finding out his daughter was pregnant, he got thinking, possible, just possible, whatever the qualities the old man had, they might be in his blood line, thus, in his grand-son to be [hoping it would be a boy].
"Awe," he said with glowing and ghastly eyes, "Sure," he said to his daughter, "Should she give birth to a son, he will be the tempest for the snakes." And so the king and his kingdom all waited for the birth of the child.
--And then it happened, the 9th month, third day, in the early morning, the sun had just risen: all waited outside the doorway to hear the baby's cry, but there was no cry, yet a baby was born. As the doctor looked at the child, he was in flabbergasted; the child was horrifying to look at; hence, stunned at its appearance he just shook his head, nodded his head back and forth as if to grab onto some sanity: it looked like a ferret, yet it had human form to it. The doctor remembered what the old man looked like, and now thinking of the king. He didn't show the child to anyone, not a soul, and ordered all to stay away. And during the late night took the child out of the kingdom, telling all concerned, the child had a deadly disease, should it touch anyone, it would kill them, and needed to treat it. He called the child "Mon-goose", taking the kings name and the fathers. And left it in the woods - neither one, never to return.
About the author: Mr. Siluk is a world traveler, a lover of the mysteries around the world, and has visit many World Heritage Sites, the most recent being Easter Island and the Galapagos. His most recent book: "After Eve," and his 26th book thus far, can be seen on/at Barns and Nobel.com, Amazon.com, Walmart and several other sites. He spends his time between Lima, Peru and St. Paul, Minnesota, and is wroking on two more books: "Stay Down, Old Abram," and "Curse of the Abyss Worm," the second being a suspensful mystery.
Contact author: firstname.lastname@example.org