Thursday, 8 April 2010

Sidney and the snake - a South African tale....

Wendy Rutter sent us a newspaper cutting from the "The Mercury" (Hobart, Tasmania) from Tuesday 8th April 1913. We're not sure whether it was a slow news day to have to fill the paper with a story about a man encountering a snake.... in South Africa ... you can come to your own conclusions!
The Sidney Fitzhenry mentioned in the story is very likely to be Sidney Cawood Fitzhenry,
son of John Arthur and Kate Fitzhenry and brother of Daisy Aletta Fitzhenry, the WW1 nurse.

Anyway, here is the whole article on the anniversary of its publication.

(From Our Exchanges)
Mr. Sidney Fitzhenry had rather a strange experience with a snake one day lately, records the Jansenville paper. He was driving with a cart and a pair of horses to the graals, when he saw a big cobra crossing the road. He pulled up the horses, jumped out and attacked it with stones, whereat the snake turned on him. He got quickly out of the way, and the snake quietly went and coiled up under the horses, with its head up “ready to strike”. He was afraid to move the horses, fearing that the snake might attack them, when, to his surprise and consternation, the snake quietly climbed up into the cart and started to make itself comfortable on the seat. Now, whether the snake picked up the reins to drive, or just what did happen, is not quite clear, but it is a fact that the horses started off with only the cobra as driver. Mr. Fitzhenry ran to their heads, and, after bringing them to a standstill, spanned out, keeping one eye on his passenger all the time. After the horses had been secured, he attacked the snake again, and managed to kill it. – This story is vouched for as being absolutely true.
Perhaps someone who speaks Afrikaans can translate "graals" for us. The best meaning I have come across so far is corral or animal enclosure.

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