Serpent and the File, The

The Serpent and the File is an Aesopic fable found in various collections throughout the world. In the course of its wanderings a serpent came into an armorer’s shop. As he glided over the floor, he felt his skin pricked by a file lying there. In a rage he turned on it and tried to dart his fangs into it. However, he could do no harm to the heavy iron and gave up his anger.

Moral: It’s useless to attack the insensible. The fable is told in the Arabic fables of Lôqman. In his version, however, the snake’s part is taken by a cat. R. L. Stevenson quotes the fable in his novel The Master of Ballantrae.



Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, Third Edition – Written by Anthony S. Mercatante & James R. Dow– Copyright © 2009 by Anthony S. Mercatante