Donald Trump has found another way to promote his xenophobic position by reciting the lyrics to the 1960’s soul song, The Snake. The song was written in 1963, during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, by Oscar Brown, Jr., a dedicated civil rights activist from Chicago’s south side. Brown, who died in 2005, would most likely not have approved of his song being used by a white racist to stir up hatred against war refugees.
Brown’s lyrics are a retelling of the Aesop’s fable The Farmer and the Viper, a classic moral tale that has been retold many times since it was first written in the 6th century BCE. (This should not be confused with Aesop’s The Snake and the Farmer, which has a very different moral.)
Here’s Brown’s lesser known 1963 jazz version.
Aesop’s Fables: Townsend (1867)
ONE WINTER a Farmer found a Snake stiff and frozen with cold. He had compassion on it, and taking it up, placed it in his bosom. The Snake was quickly revived by the warmth, and resuming its natural instincts, bit its benefactor, inflicting on him a mortal wound. ‘Oh,’ cried the Farmer with his last breath, ‘I am rightly served for pitying a scoundrel.’
The greatest kindness will not bind the ungrateful.