The Snake and the Mirror Summary

“The Snake and the Mirror Summary” is a thought-provoking short story that explores the themes of fear, self-reflection, and the unpredictability of life. Written by renowned Indian author Vaikom Muhammad Basheer, the story takes us on a journey through the eyes of a young doctor, who finds himself face-to-face with a venomous snake in the middle of the night. The Snake And The Mirror Summary Pdf as the doctor grapples with his own mortality and the fear of the unknown, he undergoes a transformative experience that challenges his perception of reality. The Snake and the Mirror Summary, we delve into the key events and underlying messages of this captivating tale. Read More Class 10 English Summaries.

The Snake and the Mirror Summary

The Snake and the Mirror Summary in English

1. We were discussing snakes. Then suddenly a homeopath asked, “Has a full-blooded cobra ever coiled itself round any part of your body?” We all fell silent. The doctor continued with his story.

2. “It was 10 o’clock on a hot summer night. I had my meal at a restaurant and returned to my room. I heard a noise when I opened the door. There were rats in my room. I lighted the kerosene lamp on the table.

3. The house was not electrified. It was a small rented room. I had started my medical practice. The income was very little. I had Rs. 60 in my suitcase. With drier shirts and dhotis I had also a black coat which I was then wearing.

The Snake and the Mirror Summary 1

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4. I took off my black coat, white shirt and vest and hung them up. I opened the two windows. It was an outer room with one wall facing the open yard. It had a tiled roof with long supporting gables, resting on the beam over the wall. No ceiling. Rats ran along the beam. I made by bed and pulled it close to the wall. I could not sleep. I went to the veranda. There was no breeze.

5. I went back and sat on a chair. I opened my box and took out a book The Materia Medica’. There was a table with a lamp, a large mirror and a comb.

6. One feels tempted to look at the mirror if it is close. I took a look. I admired beauty and I wanted to make myself handsome. I was unmarried. I felt I had to make my presence felt. I combed my hair and adjusted the parting to look straight and neat. Again I heard that sound from above.

7. I looked closely at my face. I made an important decision. I would shave daily and grow a small mustache. I was a bachelor and a doctor.

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8. I looked into the mirror and smiled. I made another important decision. I would keep smiling to look more handsome.

9. I lit a beedi and paced up and down the room. Another nice thought came to me. I would marry. I would marry a woman doctor with a lot of money and good practice. She should be fat, for a good reason. If I made some foolish mistake and needed to run away, she should not be able to run after me and catch me.

10. I sat back on the chair. There were no sounds from above. Suddenly there was a dull thud as if a rubber tube had fallen to the ground. I looked back. A fat snake came over the back of the chair and landed on my shoulder. The snake’s landing on my shoulder and my turning my head happened at the same time.

11. I did not jump, tremble or cry out. There was no time to do any such thing. The snake slithered along my shoulder and coiled around my left arm. Its hood was spread out and it was just 3 or 4 inches from my face!

12. I was turned to a stone. But my mind was active. The door opened into darkness. The room was dark.

13. I thought of God, the creator of this universe. God was there. If I said something and he did not like it, there would be trouble. I wrote in my imagination the words “O God” on my heart.

14. There was some pain on my left arm. It was as if a rod of fire was slowly but powerfully crushing my arm. The arm was losing its strength. What could I do?

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15. Even if I moved a little, the snake would bite me. Death was just 4 inches away. Suppose the snake bites me, what medicine would I take? There were no medicines in the room. I was a poor, foolish and stupid doctor. I forgot my danger and smiled at myself.

16. God liked it. The snake turned its head. It looked into the mirror. It saw its reflection. It may not be the first snake to look into a mirror. Was it admiring its beauty? Was it planning to grow a mustache or using eye shadow and mascara or wearing a vermilion spot on its forehead?

17. Was it a female snake? I will never know. It slowly unwound itself from my arm and slithered into my lap. From there it crept onto the table and moved towards the mirror. Perhaps it wanted to see itself more clearly.

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18. I was no more a stone. I was suddenly a man of flesh and blood. I got up from the chair. I went quietly into the veranda. From there I jumped into the yard and ran for my life.”

19. The story ended. All the listeners were relieved. Somebody asked, “Doctor, is your wife very fat?” The doctor said his wife was thin and a great runner. Somebody wanted to know if the snake came after him.

20. The doctor replied: “I ran till I reached a friend’s house. Then I put oil on my body and took a bath. I changed my clothes. The next morning with my friend I went to the room to take my things. Some thief had removed everything except my dirty vest.”

Somebody wanted to know if the doctor saw the snake the following day. The doctor said he had never seen it again. It was a snake which was proud of its own beauty.


In the poignant conclusion of “The Snake and the Mirror,” the protagonist’s encounter with a snake in his room becomes a metaphor for his own inner fears and insecurities. The Snake and the Mirror story underscores the idea that sometimes, our greatest adversaries reside within us, and self-acceptance is the key to overcoming them.

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