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The Snake and the Rosary

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snake 300St. John Bosco's Dream

I want to tell you a dream I had some nights ago. I dreamed that I was at my brother's home at Castelnuovo d' Asti with all my boys. While they were at play, a total stranger came up to me and asked me to go with him. He took me to a meadow alongside the playground and pointed to a huge, ugly snake, over twenty feet long, coiled in the grass.

Frightened, I wanted to run off, but the stranger held me back. "Get closer and take a good look," he said.

"What?" I gasped. "Don't you realize that the monster could spring on me and gobble me up in no time?"

"Don't be afraid! Nothing of the sort will happen; just come with me."

"Nothing doing! I'm not crazy!"

"Then stay where you are," the stranger replied. And he went to fetch a rope.

"Take this end," he said on his return, "and grip it tightly with both hands. I'll hold the other end, and we'll let it dangle over the snake."

"And then?"

"Then we'll snap it across its back."

"You must be crazy; the snake will leap up and tear us to pieces."

"No, it won't. Leave that to me."

"Count me out! I have no intention to risk my life for a thrill of this kind!"

Again I tried to run away, but the stranger once more assured me that I had nothing to fear, because the snake would do me no harm. He talked so persuasively that I stayed on and agreed to his plan.

He went around to the other side of the monster. We stretched the rope and then snapped it across the snake's back. The monster immediately sparang up and struck at the rope, but as it did so, it ensnared itself as in a noose.

"Hold on!" the stranger shouted. "Don't let go!" He ran to a nearby pear tree and tied his end of the rope to it. Then he came to me and tied his end of the rope to it. Then he came to me and tied my end to the iron grating of a window in the house.

The snake kept furiously struggling to free itself, writhing, thrashing and flailing about. In its fury, it tore itself to pieces, scattering its flesh over the area, till it was slashed to a mere skeleton.

The stranger then untied the rope and coiled it up, "Now watch very carefully!" he said as he put it into a box and closed it. By this time the boys had swarmed about me. Within a few moments he opened the box. We looked in and were astounded to see the rope shaped into the words Ave Maria - "Hail Mary."

"How did that happen?" I asked.

"The snake," the man replied, "is a symbol of the devil, whereas the rope stands for Ave Maria, or rather, the Rosary, a succession of Hail Marys with which we can strike, conquer and destroy all of Hell's demons."