All Creatures Great and Small

by James Herriot

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Where was the python kept in All Creatures Great and Small, and how did it escape?

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The narrator's grandmother is surprisingly tolerant of her husband's large and ever-growing menagerie. Grandfather has filled their house with all kinds of creatures, some of them rather strange and exotic. But his wife draws the line at reptiles: she simply cannot stand them; they make her blood run cold. Even a handsome, sweet-tempered chameleon had to be given up.

It's all the more surprising, then, that Grandfather should bring a snake into the house, and not just any old snake either, but a python. He buys it from a snake-charmer in the bazaar for six rupees, and promptly impresses everyone by casually slinging the four-foot youngster over his shoulder.

As one can imagine, when Grandmother finds out about this, she's far from happy. Worried that her husband will be strangled by the deadly snake, she immediately orders him to get rid of it. After a brief, but intense argument, it's decided that Grandfather will take the snake back to the snake-charmer, but in the meantime it will have to be locked away in the bathroom, where it will be kept in a steep-sided tin tub.

Unfortunately, Grandfather forgets to shut the bathroom window. So when he goes into the bathroom to take the snake back to the snake-charmer, he's horrified to see that the young python has escaped.

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