Solo For the Snakes

Hopkinsville Kentuckian (Hopkinsville, Kentucky)
March 25, 1902 p3

Transcribed by Steve Green


Exciting Experience of a Fiddler with Two Rattlers

Bill Needham, a Susquehanna, Pa. fiddler, gave a solo a short time ago under remarkable circumstances, says a correspondent of the Chicago Inter Ocean. He was on his way to play for a dance in Great Bend township, and was walking along a cut in the mountain side, when his attention was attracted by the warning noise of a rattlesnake. Looking up he saw a formidable snake directly in his path. He promptly took to his heels, but had gone only a step or two when from the weeds by the side of the road another big rattler rose up. There was not room enough to pass the snake without running the risk of being bitten, and the frightened fiddler backed up against the ledge that hung above him and eyed the reptiles. Escape was impossible and he was pondering over the dire fact, when it suddenly occurred to him that he had read of people charming snakes with music.

Drawing his fiddle from its box, Bill began to play, and almost instantly the big snakes uncoiled, and, stretching themselves out in the path, glided slowly toward the fiddler. This move was not particularly pleasing to Bill, but he kept sawing away. Closer and closer came the snakes, and faster and faster flew the bow over the strings. At last the snakes reached a point within two feet of the terrified musician, and, winding themselves up, lifted their heads closely together.

At this juncture, Bill’s nerves gave way, and, with a yell, he grabbed his fiddle by the neck and brought it down with crushing force on the heads of the snakes. The blow stunned them, and before they could recover Bill killed them with a rock.