Sira-sira store: A slithery meal-A A +A
By Ober Khok
Friday, August 17, 2012
WITH clubs, rocks and sticks as fast as an eight-year-old boy’s arm, the villagers pursue the monster and win over its swiftness in the open land.
Someone hits the bull’s eye, wounding the head of the monster that has opened its fanged mouth. It felt cornered and so it threatened its attackers with its ability to kill also.
A cheer breaks out in the dusk as the victors club the head of the snake, making sure it would not resurrect and create havoc again upon the peaceful lives of the villagers. I must warn you: this is just an Ober Tale.
The strongest among them, Manong Kario, hoists the sawa (python) upon his shoulders and drapes the lifeless snake around his neck as if it were an expensive scarf.
In the house Manong Kario, the python gets skinned, cut into parts to be distributed to the members of the hunting party. It was their revenge for the damage it had done to the village livestock and poultry.
“The sawa has been snatching off my chickens,” a farmer reported. So that is why the people ganged up on the slithery “pest.”
Sawa or pythons are notorious for being “chicks” snatchers, but they can’t be considered pests. In the wild, they hunt down rats and other pests, which helps the balance of nature.
This bit of tale comes in the tail (I know this is pushing my poetic license) of the news about the Cebuano zoo worker who was bitten by a Philippine cobra, a deadly snake that otherwise keeps to its own trail. It strikes back only when cornered or hurt.
The guy, Rolando Aventurado, is in stable condition as of this writing (I do read Sun.Star Cebu, you know). He was lucky to have gotten an anti-venom shot in the nick of time.
Not so some snakes. I mean, they don’t survive man’s hunting and they don’t have anti-man defenses except for their venom, if they are venomous. A python’s venom won’t kill, but it will make the affected spot swell.
Many people like to eat snakes for its delicate flavor and for the purported power people think its meat gives them. I’ve tried it only once, and swear I will never do it again.
The meat is praised for its chicken-like flavor, but why eat snake if all you want is the taste of chicken? I’d rather eat chicken.
Snake fat, particularly one extracted from sawa, has an antiseptic power that can heal second degree burns. You can also find snake preserved in liquor barrels and glass or the bottles. One shot is said to heal a multitude of ailments.
My niece Krystal feels that snakes should be left alone, even the poisonous ones.
“Uncle, they’re losing their habitats and that is why they invade our territory. It’s really nature getting back at us,” she told me.
Man strikes at snake, snake strikes at man. It’s the law of nature.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 18, 2012.