Sylvester’s Hiss

by stewart

Turtle was standing in front of his class of young turtles and began to speak.  It was time to say something about the violence that was occurring all about them.

“Within each there is the capacity for peace and violence.  Often the choice between the two is not an easy thing to decide.

In order to illustrate, let me tell you a story about Sylvester the snake.  Sylvester was very lonely and wanted friends.  None of the other creatures of the meadow wanted to play with him.  They were afraid of his fangs, bite and terrible hiss.  Although Sylvester rarely bit anyone and this occurred only when he needed to eat, the meadow creatures were frightened and stayed away.

One day, Sylvester realized it was his fangs and terrible hiss that stood between him and having friends.  So Sylvester promised himself that no matter what, he would not bite, show his fangs or hiss.  Sylvester changed his diet, ate meadow grass and learned to control his terrible hiss.  Over time, he even forgot how to hiss and bite.

Slowly, birds, field mice, squirrels, hedgehogs, and all meadow creatures realized Sylvester lost his hiss.  Now creatures came to the meadow in large numbers.  No one was afraid of the meadow snake and it was a great place to find food.

Although Sylvester no longer bit or used his terrible hiss, no one wanted to be friends with a snake.  Some creatures, that had lost friends to Sylvester’s hiss, used the opportunity to get even.  Each time they came to the meadow, they threw rocks and sticks. Over time, Sylvester grew battered and bruised.  Not only was he lonely, but he was growing thinner because he ate meadow grass. Sylvester was a pathetic sight.

One afternoon, as fate would have it, Sylvester’s Mama came for a visit.  Mama snake brought some of Sylvester’s younger brothers and sisters to see how a full-grown snake operates.  Mama was unaware of the recent changes.

When Mama saw Sylvester in his tattered, shriveled, and bruised condition, she was shocked.  Excitedly Mama cried, “Sylvester, what happened?”

Sylvester sobbed and told Mama the whole story.  Mama listened closely, as Sylvester explained how he lost his hiss and how the other creatures took advantage.  All this happened, Sylvester said, because he wanted friends and to be liked.

Mama replied, “O Sylvester, you have to be who you are.  Snakes bite, have fangs and are supposed to hiss…  This protects them from others, helps them get food and is necessary to their life.”

As the days passed, Sylvester worked on what Mama said.  Slowly Sylvester found his hiss, and returned to a diet of meadow creatures.  In time, meadow life was the way it was meant to be and creatures, when they heard Sylvester’s hiss, knew to stay far away.

The Lesson

  • Each traveler must be true to who they are; often we get into trouble when we try to be something we are not.
  • Sometimes, troublesome situations cannot be managed without force. In order to protect our self, we must show courage and stand-up for our convictions and desires.


Check-out my two books: Sufism for Western Seekers: Path of the Spiritual Traveler in Everyday Life and The Ferryman’s Dream.  Both books are also in Kindle format and available on or local bookstore.

If you are interested in learning more about universal mysticism and Sufism contact:



{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

information marketing February 12, 2015 at 1:15 am

I every time spent my half an hour to read this blog’s articles
or reviews everyday along with a mug of coffee.


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