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The old snake was not far away and, half in and half out of his hole, kept an eye on the saint out of the corner of his eye.
You see he didn't want to give Patrick the satisfaction of knowing that he was worried and so pretended not to notice what was going on.
Let's go back to more innocent times then and find out how St.
Patrick, having banished all the snakes out of Ireland, outwitted one last obdurate, wily old serpent.
Those that could not be driven out were allowed to stay but they had to submit to being turned into conger eels having all the poison washed out of them. Following many sleepless nights Patrick hit on a plan.
He got a big box, and with great ceremony placed it in front of his altar on top of Croagh Patrick mountain.
The story is ancient and was told around Sligo firesides up to the middle of the last century.
A nice one to tell to your children: Civility costs nothing! Patrick by the power of God drove all the snakes out of Ireland. He could neither lead, drive nor coax him and, mind you, he was in quite a pucker about it!
Still, after a while curiosity got the better of him and: "What are you going to do with that box, Pat," says he.
You see by this time the two were on first name terms, or at least the old serpent thought they were.