A Boy Charmed by Serpents
The Maysville (Ky.) Eagle says that a little boy, four or five years of age, of Irish parentage, in Bracken County, was in the habit, during the whole of last Summer, of going out into the woods near his home to play with his “pretty things,” as he called them. After much persuasion on day, his mother was induced to follow him to his play grounds to see what attracted him so much, when, to her horror, she discovered her little darling playing with a trio of huge black snakes, wholly unconscious of his peril. The boy was completely fascinated, and would advance and retreat, and sport and dally with his hideous comrades as if he were in the charmed circle of his bothers and sisters. The mother, in terror, ran to the house crying for help, when the father of the child rushed to the rescue of the boy, and after some difficulty, killed the snakes. Wonderful to relate – and we have this information from a gentleman of unquestionable veracity – the little boy soon took to his bed, from which he never arose. He pined away and dies, and early victim of the fascination of the serpents.
from the New York Times of December 24, 1866, which acknowledged reprinting the item from the Maysville Eagle.