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I am by no means so prudish; I discourse upon Trimalcion's feast and the orgies of the twelve Caesars, but certain expressions, used by every one, never pass my lips; I imagine that I see toads and serpents drop from the tongues of those who speak them: only roses and pearls fall from Louise's lips.

Upon the day on which it fell to the lot of two of his children to be killed to feed the serpents, he rose up with indignation in presence of the king, and said: "Thou art the king, but wherefore on my head Cast fire and ashes? If thou hast the form Of hissing dragon, why to me be cruel? Why give the brains of my beloved children As serpent-food, and talk of doing justice?"

Drops of blood from Medusa's head fell down upon the desert. They were changed and became the deadly serpents that are on these sands and around these rocks. On and on Perseus flew toward Atlas and toward the hidden valley where the nymphs who were again to guard the magic treasures had their dwelling place. But before he came to the nymphs Perseus had another adventure.

Being astonished at these answers, I said to them, "Turn your faces, and direct your eyes to the midst of the forest, where the cavern is in which you have been;" and they turned themselves, and saw that great serpent around the cavern in spiral foldings, breathing poison, and also the doleful birds in the branches over the serpents. I then asked them, "What do you see?"

Rocks took the place of the soft, mossy soil, and the forest thinned and shrank. Where there had been monarchs in their majesty she rode now among stunted pines and dwarf oaks no higher than her head. And soon she was at timber line, where the beaten and disheartened trees grew downward, or curled along the earth like serpents, or spread out in fantastic, unnatural, and monstrous shapes.

Nellie fought with herself kneeling there at her window, watching the declining moon, staring at it with set eyes, grimly willing herself not to think because to think was to surrender. Into heart and ear and brain the serpents hissed words of love and thoughts of unspeakable joy. Upon her lips they pressed again Ned's hot kisses.

The Spaniards were constantly throwing these gods out of the temples. Even their great god of war was not safe. Cortes openly derided this image, calling it trash, and proposing to erect the emblems of the Spanish religion in its place in the Aztec temples. Now, the Aztec god of war was a frightful image with golden serpents entwined about the body.

And some issue out directly opposite the place by which they flow in, others on the same side: there are also some which having gone round altogether in a circle, folding themselves once or several times round the earth, like serpents, when they had descended as low as possible, discharge themselves again; and it is possible for them to descend on either side as far as the middle, but not beyond; for in each direction there is an acclivity to the streams both ways.

I took pleasure in looking upon them; but shortly saw at a distance such objects as greatly diminished my satisfaction, and which I could not view without terror, namely, a great number of serpents, so monstrous, that the least of them was capable of swallowing an elephant.

The first time I saw one of these serpents, I had approached very near before discovering it to be a living creature; it opened its mouth wide enough to have received a hat, and breathed on me.