The magic snakes

As a child I would hear the story that, in very drought times, if you killed a snake and turned it belly side up to the sun it would rain soon. One summer in about 1950 it was very dry, the corn fields and land were drying up, and we would hear the older folks talking about how dry it was and how they wished it would rain.

I was staying with my cousin Grady Cranford for a few days. We were around the ages of 7 and 9, and we were full of mischief and adventure. We decided that we would make it rain by testing the old saw of turning the snake belly up to the sun. We started out cutting slim poles for hitting and killing the snakes. We got on each bank of the creek, because at that time there were plenty of water snakes. We had a day of snake killing and laying each one we killed belly side up to the sun.

Behold, that night we were awakened with the sound of an awful storm with thunder and lightning and a lot of rain, rain that flooded the fields and creeks and even washed out the bridge that connected the road to my cousin’s house. We couldn’t believe it!

The next morning my uncle and other men were repairing the bridge and talking about how much it had rained that night. As we listened to them talk, we told them that we had made it rain by killing the snakes and turning them belly side up to the sun. They looked at each other and at us in wonder. I remember one man asking, “Just how many snakes did you kill?”

Richard Joines, Sparta, Blue Ridge Electric

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