The saint and the snake

A wandering saint gave a powerful discourse in a village on non-violence. A snake, on hearing it, decided to renounce violence forever. It crept to the front of the audience and told the people present that it would never bite them again.

On hearing this, the next day some children tormented the poor creature, but, true to its word, it did not bite them.

That evening, when the saint resumed his teaching, the battered snake came to him and said, "Sir, look what you have done to me! I listened to your message of peace, and now I am broken and bruised!" The saint replied, "I only told you not to bite: I never asked you not to hiss!"

This was apparently one of the favorite fables of Mahatma Gandhi.