1836 - Madras, India
I met a well-traveled snake charmer from India and requested a performance for the ship’s men.
“My pleasure,” he said. He placed a wicker basket and a beautiful swath of silk on the ground by our feet. On top of the silk, in the center, he laid a laurel wreath.
“All of nature is tied together,” he said as he began to play his pungi. “Often danger and beauty dance together. Watch closely."
Then the most magnificent thing happened: the basket tipped over, and the serpent slithered swiftly to the center of the laurel wreath.
From out of nowhere, a cloud of butterflies appeared and danced and fluttered all around the serpent.
All the while, the serpent lay still and content.
It was a sublime sight.