2. Author's Notes
That snakes "take until sunset to die," is an old superstition that I first heard as a child from my grandmother. She had been told that by her mother on the day that Granny's granny, my great-great-granny Catriona, had sent her to the springhouse to fetch some butter. She almost stepped on a rattler who had curled up on the springhouse's cool stone steps. Great-Granny Emma came running from the garden with a hoe, which she used to cut off its head, and hung it up on the clothesline until dark.
Snowsnakes is a real game! It's been played (with variations) by Native Americans wherever there's snow, from Maine to the Rockies, and some tribes think it originated in pre-Columbian times. I researched it on several sites; this is one of the best, because it includes a video: http://www.ganondagan.org/articles/SnowSnake.html . It seemed to me that it would be a useful game for the Rangers to utilize, because if it's hard to spear game in warm weather, imagine doing it in bad! Sports Illustrated clocked an average, professional throw at 108 mph, and even a light tap will cause many of them to go 50 ft., let alone half or three-quarters of a mile with some expertise behind it. Kind of like a cross between javelin and curlimg….and maybe luge! Apparently, some snakes will fly out of the trough at a curve, and can cut right through a boot, so they can "bite" the unwary!
This story also had its genesis in one image that stuck with me from PJ's first LOTR movie, a scene where the Fellowship is making its way along a high ridge strewn with boulders and some snow. I did a lot of hiking on the Appalachian Trail in NJ and PA as a kid, and several times climbed Mt. Tammany, part of the Kittitinny Spur in the Delaware Water Gap with my parents; I still remember how startled we all were the time my father almost stepped on a copperhead sunning itself on a large rock, half-hidden by fallen leaves.
I hope you all have a happy holiday season!
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.