Snakes in the Attic

Snakes in the AtticPeople always said the adventures of home ownership were abundant and sometimes downright weird. How about creepy? Or slithery…as the cause was. How did a person get rid of something that no one expected. All the animal removal sites listed removal of raccoons, rats, bats, and squirrels, but no one said anything about snakes in the attic. People always told horror stories about snakes crawling up through busted plumbing pipes, only to end up in the toilet bowl, but somehow having snakes slithering about overhead was even scarier. A person would just about die if a snake fell out of the ceiling and onto their head. Something had to be done.

Anne and Noah were terrified of what they knew. They knew that there were snakes, not one, not two, and not even three, but multiple snakes living in their attic. It had purely been chance that they found the snakes. They had purchased an older home; it wasn’t that large and needed many renovations, but the price had been right. Many plans were made to remodel the home. One of those plans including enlarging one of the rooms, so the walls came out. Noah had a bit of knowledge of carpentry and had been able to tackle most of the home remodeling himself. When Noah and Anne tore into the wall, they saw something both strange and eerie at the same time. There in the wall was a long snake-skin coiled between studs and around pipe. It disappeared through a hole up into the attic.

They had hoped that this was a one time deal. The house was old. At some point in the past a snake had slithered its way into the wall and into the attic, where it presumably died, because the attic was about a thousand degrees in the swampy southern summer heat. All hopes of that hypothesis died when Noah took a look inside the attic. Anne stood down below ready to catch Noah if he fell from the small ladder.

Noah carefully pushed the attic entry hatch up and out-of-the-way. He then poked his head through fifty years of spider webs to the interior of the attic. He was in their territory now. He brought his flash light into the attic with him to see what was going on. It was dark and looked as if it had been burned at one point. All seemed normal. There were cords draped over the ceiling joists, which seemed strange to Noah because he knew that it wasn’t up to code. After doing a once-over of the attic, Noah looked back to the spot where he had originally saw the sub-par wiring. The cords were gone.

As his eyes focused further into the attic, he was able to discern movement off near the eaves of the house. This was not the movement of a mouse, or a squirrel, that would have been inconvenient, but a million times more pleasant than what was actually in the attic. No, there were snakes in the attic and they were alive.

Noah lowered his head out of the attic. He wasn’t going to be a sitting duck for all those snakes to bite on. He quickly put the hatch back over the attic opening then asked Anne for some duct tape.

“Why do you need duct tape?”

“Just get it. Get it now.”

Anne obediently went and dug through the mess that was their house for the duct tape. Piles of supplies littered the house. It took her longer than Noah would have liked, but she finally returned with the circle of silver that was going to put Noah’s mind at rest. He took the tape from Anne and tore off long strips. He taped the attic shut.

“Why are you taping the attic shut? How are we supposed to get back up in there if you duct tape it shut?”

“Snakes! There are snakes up there! They’re moving around everywhere!”

“You mean like real snakes?” Anne asked incredulously. Who had ever heard of snakes in the attic?

“What are we going to do about it?” Anne was already worrying about how the snakes would get out of the attic. “Do you think they can come down?”

“I have no idea. I have never once heard of having snakes in the attic. The basement or the bathroom maybe, but not the attic.”

“Maybe we can call one of those pest removal places?” Anne suggested.

“Ok, let’s do it. We’re tight on money, but maybe they’ll be reasonable or at least have a free estimate.”

Anne went to Google animal removal places that were nearby. She found one that was only five miles from the house and called them on her cell phone. A man with a very southern accent answered the phone.

“Bubba’s Animal Removal, how can I help you?”

“Hi, um, do you remove snakes?”

“Yea, we remove snakes all the time. We get about twelve calls a week for snakes, sometimes more, depending.”

“Oh, good…do you do free estimates?”

“Sure we can do an estimate. Most people don’t want snakes sticking around though, so we usually remove the snakes right away. When would you like us to come over?”

“How about now? We’re only a few miles away”

“We can do that, we’ve got Roy who isn’t on a call right now. Roy can come and check out your problem and give you an estimate. He can be there in about ten minutes.”

Anne gave Bubba, or who she assumed was Bubba the address of their house.

“He says that Roy can be here in ten minutes to give us an estimate.”

“Good, let’s wait outside. I don’t want to be in here any longer than I have to.” Noah tried to be tough and manly, but creepy crawly things were not his forte.

In reality, it took Roy about thirty minutes to get to the house. Anne and Noah both developed a layer of sunburn on their exposed skin. Roy arrived. He got out of his truck and hitched up his pants, which were barely held up by his thin hips. He spat on the ground, a brown gob of gunk anyone could tell was chewing tobacco related.

“Bubba said yuns weren’t too far ‘way, but I git lost ’round all these trees. Le’s see dem snakesss.”

It was clear that there was a reason Bubba was the brains of the operation instead of Roy.

Noah spoke up to explain the situation.

“Well, the snakes are in the attic.”

“The ATTIC?! YUNS got SNAKES in the ATTIC!”

“Yes, there are snakes in the attic.”

“A’ight, let’s see de snakess in the attic.”

They showed Roy into the house. He climbed up on the ladder and looked up at the duct taped attic hatch.

“Scared dey gonna git ya?” Roy grinned down from his perch like some kind of toothless brown-mouthed angel. He had been chewing tobacco for a really, really long time.

Roy peeled back the duct tape, lazily humming to himself. It was probably the 1990s Monday Night Football song, at least that’s what it sounded like. He pushed the hatch up and poked his head up there, quickly followed by a flashlight from his tool belt, which did not help hold his pants up at all. As Noah and Anne looked on, they could see Roy’s pants gradually resuming the slacked position they once held before he got out of his truck.



“There are snakes up here. Dis is gonna take le’st five people. We gotta have two people up here catchin em and we gotta have two people down there ready with bags and then we gotta have another guy to help out. We gonna need two trucks. We prob’ly gonna need ev’rybuddy from the shop.”

This did not sound good price-wise to either Noah or Anne.

“So how much is that all going to cost?” Anne finally asked.

“Oh, prob’ly at least five hundret, maybe more. I reckon.”

“We don’t have five hundred dollars right now. Do you do any type of payment plan?” Asking about a payment plan had always been worth a try in Anne’s opinion.

“Nope, he don’t do no payment plans. He gotta have a check or cash to git the job done. I even knowed him ta put snakes right back under the house if the check bounced.”

Anne and Noah really didn’t have five hundred dollars. All the renovations had been expensive. With all the moving expenses they were still paying on, they really didn’t have any wiggle room(more like slither room, Anne thought) to afford the snake removal people. They had to be honest with Roy.

“We can’t afford that right now. We really can’t.” Anne let Noah do the explaining, since this was the South and people still had a penchant to charge women more for certain repairs.

“Well, they been up der, they prob’ly gonna stay der for a while. Jus’ make sure yuns don’ have any holes in the ceiling anywhere. Get some moth balls…but if I were yuns, I’d carry ’round a stick, just in case.”

Roy got down from the ladder, hitched up his pants, left the house, spat on the ground, got in his truck and left.

Anne and Noah stood side by side in the yard watching their toothless, brown-mouthed angel drive away. It seemed they were going to have to learn to live with the snakes for a while, but first, they were going to go into the trees and find big sticks.

The End

P.S. This is loosely based on a true story. Really! I have snakes in my attic! Well, not my attic, the attic of my rental house, but it’s still technically my attic. I really wish Steve Irwin was still alive right now.

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Short Stories

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Query Letters

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I’ve added a new progress bar. I’m writing query letters. Go me! I have it set for fifty, but if I write fifty letters and it’s a “no go” I’ll set the bar to one-hundred. I’m being optimistic. Maybe fifty is too low of a number, but I’m open to trying again, and again, and again. You guys have stuck with me through over a thousand posts, so fifty query letters is nothing.

P.S. as an afterthought, it’s probably not the best idea to let you guys know that I failed x of x times, but I’ll be open. I’m going to let you see me fail. I’ve already been embarrassed enough in this life, a little more can’t hurt.
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The Amazing Adventures of Diet Girl by Shauna ReidThe Amazing Adventures of Diet Girl by Shauna Reid

This book is a memoir of sorts, it’s actually a blog turned into a book. The author Shauna Reid spent six years losing over 160lbs. She made a post almost every single week during her journey.

Shauna starts out at about 350lbs. She can’t fit in anything and she knows she’s always the biggest one in the room. She knows her problems started as a child. Her mother would often put her on diets and say she was over weight, when there was no need for her to do so. When Shauna left home, her weight piled on because she realized that she could pick her own food.

As time went on Shauna graduated college, but lacked the confidence to excel in her chosen major, journalism. She works a job she’s ok at, but knows she has to change. Something has to give. She starts out by going to Weight Watchers. She makes detailed charts. Shauna starts to see the weight come off. She has her sister Rhiannon to help her out. She goes on diets with her. She goes to the gym with her. She’s always there for her even when it seems no one else is. The two sisters finally make peace with their mother about their growing up years.

Shauna loses more weight. She changes jobs. She and Rhiannon decide to go and work in Scotland for two years. They get rid of their things and live in a shared house in Scotland, where Shauna continues to lose weight after a few ups and downs. She meets a man she likes, Garreth, who doesn’t seem to see that she isn’t a stick figure.

After several years of writing about her journey, Shauna gets published in a book and the cat is out of the bag. In Scotland she could pretend that she wasn’t 350lbs, but when the story comes out, everyone knows, but no one really cares. She gets a few mean comments, but her life goes on. Eventually Shauna realizes that she wants to be healthy instead of obsessed.

What I liked

Shauna is definitely inspiring to people everywhere. I can’t imagine having to lose 160lbs. That seems like a momentous task, but Shauna did it. It took her a few years, but she made it. She’s alive. She’s healthier. She exercises. She has a husband. Life really started looking up for Shauna when she decided to change her own life.

In the end, that’s what we all have to do if we desire change. We have to take our own life into our own hands and make things happen. I think Shauna did just great. She just kept going even when things were bad and even after she had fallen off the wagon for periods of time.

I liked reading about Shauna’s travels. It makes me insanely jealous. I need to figure out a way to travel like Shauna got to travel.

What I didn’t like

I feel Shauna. I feel for her. When she explained her home life growing up, I knew exactly what she was feeling. At one point she tells her mother she just can’t keep up with it. I know what she meant. There comes a point, if you’re a child growing up in a household where a lot of fighting is going on, that you just can’t deal with it anymore. Even if you’re not being physically harmed, you just can’t take it. As a teenager or a child, you lack the thick skin and fortitude to deal with other people fighting around you all the time. It gets to you. It makes you think terrible things about yourself. This is probably a large percentage of what was wrong with Shauna’s life. She didn’t get to grow up in a safe home environment.

I’m jealous of Shauna in a couple of aspects. First, she got to travel. I haven’t traveled very much and it’s a big regret on my part. I would love to see as much of Europe as Shauna has seen. I would love to live there. Seriously, if you own some type of business in Europe and you need someone to come and write articles and make artwork and stuff, call me, seriously. Let’s move back to Shauna. I’m jealous of her because she married a foreign guy. That’s exotic. Then probably the third and biggest thing I’m jealous of Shauna for is that it seems her weight came off fairly easy.

I know it wasn’t easy for Shauna to lose the weight, but it seemed like she just ate less and the weight came off. I think Shauna is very lucky not to have been diagnosed with PCOS or other hormonal or thyroid condition that would hamper her efforts to get healthier for her. She really was lucky. Having disorders of those types makes it very difficult to lose weight, even if you are majorly cutting calories. Shauna is so, so lucky to be able to lose the weight in a timely manner, without an exponential amount of effort, and to lose the weight before she developed one of the previous conditions that would make it very difficult for her to lose weight.


Way to go Shauna! I hope your life is happy and healthy!

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Health, inspirational, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Reid-Shauna, social commentary

Word Myths by David WiltonWord Myths by David Wilton

If you didn’t read my book haul post about when I purchased this book, let me give you a little refresher. When I first saw this book, I thought it said, “World Myths,” and as I like mythology and folklore, I was all up for that, but upon closer inspection I realized it said, “Word Myths,” but I think that is equally as interesting.

The idea behind a word myth is that we tell stories about certain words and their origins, which may or may not be true. The story depicted on the cover of this book is the myth that Eskimos/Inuits have about a billion words for snow. David explored this myth and it turns out that it’s partially true. The language which the Inuits speak has a main root word that means snow, but has various prefixes and suffixes to mean different kinds of snow. David also points out that we have more than one word for snow in the English language. We have flurries, sleet, blizzard, and so forth.

David goes on to explore “ok” which is a favorite of mind. It turns out OK is from a weird fad to first misspell phrases then initialize those phrases. Who would have thought that was a thing? Apparently it was  back in the hay-day of newspapers.

David attacks some of these myths with historical research, which I think is pretty nifty. He goes as far as to research the first recorded usages of certain words. Some people will say a word has been around for three-hundred years, when in reality it’s only been around a hundred years. That does put a damper on some of the stories we tell about words.

David explained something to me that I never really paid much attention to. Acronyms and initialisms are not the same thing. An acronym is when you take the first letters of a phrase and it actually spells something out or means something. An initialism is when you take the first letters of a phrase to shorten it, but the resulting letter combinations don’t mean anything.

One of the tales David tackles is JFK saying that he’s a jelly donut. He never said that. David explains why he never said that and what the phrase he said really means to the German people. He did say that in a manner of speaking what JFK said could have been translated to mean that he was a jelly donut, but he was in the wrong region for that and everybody knew what he meant anyway.

There is apparently a trend in word and phrase mythology to attribute various words and phrases with nautical origins. In most cases these words and phrases don’t have nautical origins at all and come from completely different places.

One of the more important aspects of debunking a word myth is that you have to have hard facts. You can’t just rely on some story someone told you one day. The story is more believable if there is a city mentioned where you can research said phrase or word. Most myths will change locations. It happened here, or it happened there. Oh it’s the next county over. It’s never your county; that’s how you smell a rat. A myth often doesn’t have anything real you can pin down. I like David’s reasoning on this whole thing.

What I liked

I liked learning about various words. As this is my non-fiction book for the month, I did quite enjoy it; it wasn’t boring. It did broaden my view of the English language and it enlightened me to some weird trends in the way we speak. Who would have thought that there were official words trends? There are. I guess you have to consider the slang we use each decade. Cowabunga! Nobody says that any more. I’m actually not sure what people say today. I know people used to say, “That’s tight,” but that was way over ten years ago now and I just have no clue what slang people are throwing around these days. It only stands to reason that as each generation has their own weird slang stories will develop about how those words came about. I can’t imagine anyone studying the word, “Cowabunga,” in fifty years, but maybe someone will.

What I  didn’t like

There were times I felt that David’s research was lacking. There were many cases in which he was able to disprove a supposed origin of a certain word or phrase, but he wasn’t really able to prove an origin for that word or phrase. That wasn’t his job. He set out to debunk myths, not confirm their true stories, but I’m kind of disappointed. I feel like I got half the story. Don’t get me wrong, if David was able to find an origin, he did include that in the text.

Part of me wonders if the truth really matters in a situation like this. Do I really need to know where the word “hooker” really came from? Is it that important?

The last section of the book deals with marketing failures and supposed mistranslations of various slogans around the world. First off, most of them aren’t even true. These things didn’t really happen. These companies have big marketing and PR departments that make sure that kind of thing doesn’t happen. Second, I almost feel that it’s slander to go around perpetuating some of these myths. When you have a business your image and your name are everything. I think it’s wrong of us to say, “Oh that product’s name translates to prostitute with infection in Swahili,” or whatever if we don’t know that that’s really the case. I think it’s even more wrong that supposed business coaches and motivational speakers, and whatever else you call those people, use these stories as marketing examples gone bad. This is in poor taste. I don’t think people should do this. I think maybe this section of the book is probably the exception to my lament that we don’t really need to know any of this.


This was an interesting book that lightly stuck its toe into the waters of strange words and their origins.

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History, Non-Fiction, Random fact, Reference, Social Commentary, True strange Happenings, Wilton-David

End of the Grimms

End of the GrimmsEnd of the Grimms

The end has been reached. We’ve said, “The end,” over 208 times during the course of my exploration into the world-famous fairy tales collected by two brothers over two-hundred years ago.

I found that reading and analyzing the entire series really broadened my horizons about the Grimms brothers, fairy tales, human behavior, history, Europe and so much more. We’re not going to say good-bye just yet though.

I have a few things in mind.

A wonderful reader sent me some information concerning one of the fairy tales we discussed. I’m going to do a follow-up post which is going to shed some more light on the fairy tale. I am also going to do an essay series about things I realized about the Grimms collection. These are things you wouldn’t notice reading one or two of the stories, but since I read them all, I was able to notice patterns. I may also go as far as doing some background posts about the brothers and some of their sources.

I will be moving on though. We’re going to be starting Sherlock Holmes and the Anderson tales here soon in addition to all the other wonderful things that go on here at One-elevenbooks, of course.

Please feel free to recommend other folklore and fairy tale traditions. If you happen to have some folklore just sitting around, I’d be happy to take it off your hands.

Thanks for following me over a year on my adventure with the Grimms brothers and all their stories!

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Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Information

 Pregnant Pause by Han Nolan Pregnant Pause by Han Nolan

I was fairly pleased with this book. It was a quick read and was very sweet in its own way. It’s very clean. There isn’t really any cussing or any graphic scenes.

This book is about a sixteen year old girl named Eleanor and spans the space of about two months. At sixteen, Eleanor finds herself with a juvenile record and pregnant at the same time. Her boyfriend Lam seems to be the cause of lots of her problems, but she’s going to marry him because that’s what all the parents want. Eleanor’s parents are missionaries and humanitarian aid workers, who often live in Kenya. Lam’s parents run a fat camp for kids. The deal is that Lam and Eleanor get married, they live at the fat camp, and are counselors in exchange for a place to stay(one of the cabins at the camp).

Eleanor is obviously overwhelmed. On her wedding night Lam goes to a party and leaves her alone at the cabin, which doesn’t even have running water. At seven months pregnant, Eleanor has to get up with a flashlight to walk to the bathrooms in the middle of the night. She is supposed to assist in the dance cabin and the crafts cabin. While she knows a little about dance, she knows nothing about crafts, but Leo, the crafts man, assures her that he really just needs her there to help supervise.

Eleanor and Lam obviously drift apart. Lam is only eighteen. There are nights he comes back drunk and high. Eleanor doesn’t know what to do with herself. She knows she has disappointed her family, but isn’t quite grown-up enough to realize that she’s given them a hard time as well. Her older sister Sarah wants to adopt her baby. Eleanor isn’t quite sure what she is going to do. At times Lam says he wants to keep the baby and at other times he tells Eleanor they’re not ready.

Eleanor learns to mentor the children at the camp. She is able to observe the dynamics of the camp and how the children treat each other. She even softens up on the in-laws, eventually. She comes to understand how they feel about the children and how they feel about their son Lam. They know he’s a screw-up, but he’s their only child. She also learns that there is more to the world than a first boyfriend.

Over the course of her pregnancy, Eleanor has not received prenatal care. On a whim she goes to the doctor on her day off. They automatically rule that Eleanor needs a C-section. She is scared, but she faces it. Her entire family flies in to be there for the birth of the baby. The day Eleanor’s baby is born, she receives bad news in many ways. The day just gets progressively worse for Eleanor. The birth of her baby changes every situation Eleanor has with her family, friends, and Lam. Eleanor must make a very important decision about the life of her baby and really only has own judgement to aid in the decision.

What I liked

The story was sweet in ways. It was a quick read. I probably could have read this book in a day had I had the time to do so. Eleanor does grow up a lot during the course of the story. She learns more about the world. She becomes more aware of the world. She becomes more aware of how people act and why they act that way. Having a baby can help a woman grow up rapidly; it all depends on the woman though, of course.

What I didn’t like

I think in ways this story was meant to be tough love. Eleanor made her own choices and now she’s supposed to live with those choices. Those choices affect everyone around her and she can’t rely on her family to continue to raise her when she has to be an adult now. I think that’s what the story was supposed to be about, but at the end, that isn’t what it was about. It’s true that second chances are almost always permissible, but I think in the end, this story wasn’t about tough love. Essentially, I think Eleanor made the wrong decision… again. For a girl who keeps making the wrong decisions, but says she  wants to make the right ones, she isn’t doing too hot.

Look, I’m not going to give away too much, but let’s just say that the baby isn’t what everyone expected. Eleanor made a terrible decision.

I pretty much want to say that this book goes as far as to be almost anti-adoption. It’s not quite there, but it’s pretty darn close. This book gives all kinds of reasoning as to why a baby should be raised with its parents. Look, your biological parents are the most ideal situation, but it’s not always ideal. This book gives plenty of examples why it’s not always ideal, but then the ending throws all of that in your face.

In the end, Eleanor is selfish. I’m not going to mix words. The entire book built up to her learning to be more adult and to realize that sometimes situations aren’t always how they should be, but then instead of using that knowledge to make a choice that would end up in a better life for her baby, and for her, she ignores that information and makes the opposite choice. I don’t know if the phrase “bait and switch” applies here, but that’s kind of what I feel like.

This whole thing just irritates me. Let me tell you a story. I don’t watch that show Teen Mom, but apparently a Facebook “friend” does. On my news feed I saw that she commented on a post about a couple who had been on the show who had given their baby up for adoption. Her comments were that they were selfish for giving their baby up for adoption and that they never should have done so. I hate to call someone out on their ignorance because we’ve all been ignorant at points in our lives, even me, but that was an ignorant comment. Adoption isn’t about what’s best for the parents, although some people paint it that way, it’s about what is best for the child. If you don’t have what it takes to raise a baby, then adoption is a very good choice to provide that child with parents and the support they need to grow up. The bottom line is that it’s selfish to keep a baby when you know, when you know deep-down and without a doubt that you really don’t have anything the baby needs to grow up.

Some people will disagree with me, of course, saying that a parent should always raise the child they created. That’s their opinion; what I said is my opinion. I will say that some people make it work even though their situations seem dire. Those people are remarkable, even if they aren’t on par with everyone else as far as socioeconomic status, they’re still pretty darn amazing for being able to do what they did, but everyone isn’t like that. Everyone doesn’t have that drive and determination. It’s when you couple a situation like teenage pregnancy with a person who doesn’t have that drive that children really suffer. These girls think that they’re the biological mother so they should keep the baby, no matter what, and they know what’s best, no matter what. Some of them will move mountains to make sure that baby has what it needs, while others will always, always, put their needs before the child and that child will always suffer.

My point in saying all of this is to illustrate that Eleanor chose wrong, once again. She chose the route that will satisfy her wants and needs instead of satisfying the needs of this new baby. She spent an entire book learning to be a better person, but then said, “Well, crap on that!”


I will say that Eleanor does grow up enough during the course of the book to be a somewhat adequate mother, but that would only be if she had the proper help and education, which she doesn’t. If she had those things, I wouldn’t be so hard on her.

So yeah, </rant> I guess.

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Coming of age, Family dynamics, Fiction, Finding Your Self, Nolan-Han, Romantic Fiction, Social Commentary, Young Adult

The Hazel Branch

The Hazel BranchThe Hazel Branch

Surprisingly, nobody dies in this story, which is pretty great. It’s a short one, so you’re getting the entire text. It also happens to be the last…THE LAST… story in the Grimm’s anthology.

One afternoon the Christ-child had laid himself in his cradle-bed and had fallen asleep. Then his mother came to him, looked at him full of gladness, and said, “Hast thou laid thyself down to sleep, my child?” Sleep sweetly, and in the meantime I will go into the wood, and fetch thee a handful of strawberries, for I know that thou wilt be pleased with them when thou awakest.” In the wood outside, she found a spot with the most beautiful strawberries; but as she was stooping down to gather one, an adder sprang up out of the grass. She was alarmed, left the strawberries where they were, and hastened away. The adder darted after her; but Our Lady, as you can readily understand, knew what it was best to do. She hid herself behind a hazel-bush, and stood there until the adder had crept away again. Then she gathered the strawberries, and as she set out on her way home she said, “As the hazel-bush has been my protection this time, it shall in future protect others also.” Therefore, from the most remote times, a green hazel-branch has been the safest protection against adders, snakes, and everything else which creeps on the earth.

The End


I actually have six hazelnut trees in my front yard. I planted them myself. I was never aware of any folklore surrounding the tree. I planted hazelnut trees because they produce hazelnuts, which I happen to really like, and they bush out and a hedge can be created out of them. The end product on my farm would be an edible hedge that blocks my view of the road from my house.

I remember one other mention of the hazelnut tree in the Grimm’s stories. It was in Cinderella. The branch her father brought back for her from his trip was a hazelnut branch.

I don’t think strawberries grow in the Israel/Jordan region. I could be wrong, but I just don’t think that it’s a plant that grows there. I also don’t think they call their vipers “adders,” but I could be wrong. All of this clearly points to this story being more European in origin. Strawberries do grow in Europe. Hazelnut trees do grow in Europe. In Europe various breeds of vipers are called adders, “atter/adder” actually being a word that means poison. So basically they’re calling snakes poison.

I seriously doubt that snakes don’t like hazelnut trees. I mean, I’ve never seen any snakes hanging around my hazelnut trees, but just because I haven’t seen it doesn’t mean that snakes are scared to go around them.


Witch hazel.

Witch hazel is also a plant. It doesn’t grow nuts that we can eat, but it is a medicinal plant. That is often used to treat things like poison ivy and wounds resulting from childbirth. If we look at witch hazel as our plant(I still don’t think it grows in the region Jesus grew up in), we have a little more validity behind this story. Witch hazel is used to treat some poisons. Snakes are considered poison by definition of the word “adder/atter” therefore, using a hazel branch to scare one away, makes a weird kind of sense.

Mary is the mother and mothers bear children. Childbirth involves all kinds of unpleasantness and witch hazel was used as a treatment for some of that unpleasantness, so it does also make a little sense how Mary would choose this plant as her protection.


This is actually an origin story. It’s an origin story of an antiquated practice. I don’t believe anyone believes that you can carry around a hazelnut branch and snakes won’t bug you. Snakes are often somewhat shy, so maybe if you’re making a lot of noise while carrying around this hazelnut branch snakes will leave you alone.

If you’ve read Genesis, there is a bit of a curse there. I forget the exact wording, but basically it says that woman and snake will be enemies. In this story Mary and the snake are enemies. The story hints that there is some deep-rooted enmity between snakes and women. It’s not true. Women often don’t like snakes, but lots of people don’t like snakes and they’re not all women. The supposed Biblical dislike that is created in Genesis and illustrated in this fairy tale has no basis in reality, but that doesn’t mean people didn’t believe it was true.


Everyone loves hazelnuts. This story has to be a load of junk. How could a snake dislike hazelnuts? Don’t snakes know about Nutella, the most magical substance made of nuts in the world?

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Grimm’s Fairy Tales


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