One day, a rancher was taking the shorter drive to the far backest back 40 on the property, and in a rush to get there before sunset and back for chow-time he was busting dust down that road. With the sun in his eyes, the rancher ran over a rattlesnake that was sunning in the road.

Even though rattler bites killed heads in his herds every season, the rancher stopped, got out of the truck, and went back to see if the snake would live or if he had to put it out of its misery. It was still a Creature of God and deserved Christian rights and niceties. The rancher saw the snake could be nursed back to health, and besides, rattlers were great at rodent control if you kept your distance and let them do the work a rattler does.

The rancher got an old Gelex No.2 box from his pickup up, wrapped the wounded rattler in burlap, and turned around to take the snake back to the ranch house. The rancher chose to put back the far backest back forty for later.

In this Gelex No.2 box, the rancher every day nursed the snake. He fed him warm, fresh mice, and he kept him in a great place for both afternoon and evening sun like rattlers get as their preference. The neglected backest back forty never got cleared, and the number of head his ranch could produce was two fold less this season. It didn’t matter. He made a commitment to the snake, and the rancher was an honorable, trustworthy, and loyal friend to those he chose to help, and more importantly those he chose to call “friend.” Their interactions became pleasant to where the snake would sometimes willingly take a dangled mouse from the rancher’s hand. The rancher, the rattler, they were forming a close bond.

After another two months of this tender treatment, the rancher wanted to lift the snake from the box and set him down to test his strength and readiness to go back to the wild.

The rancher reached down to cup the snake is his two upward palms, so certain the rattler was docile and, more importantly, grateful for all the rancher had done for the rattler bringing health and life once more.

The rattler coiled and bit the rancher in the neck, a sure kill shot with the venom going straight to the brain.

The rancher, with eyes going dim and throat choking off from the snake venom, was able to croak out, “Why? Why did you bite me after all I did for you, for all that we’ve been through in your recovery?”

The rattlesnake said simply, “You knew exactly what I was when you picked me up on that road.”