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JISHOU, HUNAN — Yesterday morning, I left my flat to head downtown. Ahead of me, I saw a young guy crouching down to take photos of a bright green garden snake who had gotten very lost. Here’s the little fella:

Green garden snake

I say he (or she, kinda hard to tell) was lost because there’s nothing but yards and yards of concrete up where I live, and he was having no luck scaling the wall.

Anyway, the photographer guy and I are admiring the snake when an older woman walks past and starts freaking out. As far as I know, she doesn’t live anywhere near me, but for some bizarre reason she homed in on this garden snake with the intent to do it in.

First, she tried whacking it with a stick she was carrying. We stopped her. Then she picked up a chunk of concrete, and tried to bash the snake with it, all the while fussing loudly in local language (not Chinese). We tried blocking her again, but she managed to heave the chunk in the snake’s general direction. No harm done. Her pitching arm is in Little League, and the snake was wisely sticking close to the wall.

The Chinese guy tried to calm the lady down or shoo her away, but she was determined to flatten that poor snake. We weren’t sure what the lady would do if we picked up the snake and threw him to safety. As hysterical as she was, she might have bashed one of us with the concrete chunk. Mostly, we just ran interference.

Since I had to be somewhere soon, I had to leave the snake to whatever fate awaited him (or her). But, when I came back a few hours later, there was no snake, no crazy lady and no blood-stained concrete, so I suppose fate was kind to the little green snake.

So, I ask you, what was that all about? The snake was not threatening anyone. In fact, it was heading away from the old woman, who as I said, went out of her way to hunt it down and flatten it. If someone is that afraid of snakes, wouldn’t they just avoid them?

Just plain weird.