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The Man Who Spoke Snakish

by Andrus Kivirähk

Though snakes scare me Leemut's best friend is an adder, his grandfather's fangs are poison. His sister's a bear's wife. But he's caught between old forest ways and religion and German invaders' new trends. Where's a medieval lad to turn? At best both are stupid at worst dangerous. As Leemut makes his choices casual violence sees the body count rival a 16thC. tragedy. A tall tale with a mythical quality it poses awkward questions for us today.

Extract

That year, too, we were prepared to hibernate in the usual way, when one evening Ints crawled into our place and said "Father said to ask you whether you'd like to hibernate with us this winter. He'd be very pleased if you came"
This was an unexpected offer, because the snakes had always hibernated on their own, in large underground caves, and I had never heard of a human spending the winter with them. But apparently there were so few humans left in the forest that the adders thought it was possible to take them in.
Translated by Christopher Moseley

Parallels

The Misadventures of the New Satan by Anton Tammsaare
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
 

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