When I was about eleven years old, my brothers and sisters were suffering from boils, and my parents asked a fortune-teller what they should do to get rid of them. He told my parents that the boils had come in consequence of their neglect of serpent-worship, and that the children would be cured if my parents would again worship snakes. These reptiles often take up their abode in white-ant-hills, after the ants have vacated them. My parents had been in the habit of worshipping serpents two or three times a year. Their custom was to pour milk, clarified butter, curds, etcetera, etcetera, into the holes of a white-ant-hill, when they knew there was a venomous serpent inside. The libations were accompanied by fastings, prayers, prostrations, and many ceremonial purifications. And now to remove the boils from their children they resolved to comply with the fortune-teller's directions, and go through a grand performance of serpent-worship. They accordingly consecrated two old stone idols, made in the shape of serpents, and commenced the worship of them. I thought this was all foolishness, and before the whole of the ceremonies could be completed, watching my opportunity, I broke each snake-stone into two or three pieces, and threw them away as common stones. When my parents saw the broken images, and knew that it was I who had broken them, they were exceedingly angry, and my father said, with fury, |Son! is it proper to do so? Other gods may be false, but the Serpent-god is not. The children are suffering from the anger of the Serpent-god, and now you have broken his images, so that his wrath is increased; and what calamity will happen to us it is impossible to say.|
After my father was a little calm, I said to him, |Father, I believe that this worshipping snakes and their stone images is all nonsense. What connection can there be between boils on a human body and the image of a serpent? Have patience; no calamity will happen. Should any trouble come, we will then conclude that the serpent is a true god; and I will, in that case, get two other images made, and putting them in the place of the two broken ones, they shall be consecrated and receive regular worship.| My father thought I was a strange child. However, in a few days, my brothers and sisters were quite well, and the belief of my parents in snake-worship died away.