Snake-charmers are a class by themselves. They are perhaps, the aborigines of Pakistan who have now adopted this profession to earn their livelihood. They go about from place to place, displaying their snakes which they keep as precious treasures. No one knows from where they come and where they go. Probably they have no fixed habitation.
They have a basket which they sling on their shoulders, and in which they keep their pet snakes. The vina is their constant companion, on which they play sweet tunes, which madden the serpents.
Promise them a pie, and they begin to play on the vina. Their skill in modulating and controlling breath is wonderful, and the drawling music which they produce has a strange fascinating influence.
When the charmer thinks his music has produced its effect on the snake, he will empty the pot or the basket, in which he keeps his ‘jewels,’ on the ground, and you will see a curled up thing. It lies on the ground lifeless, and he begins to rouse it hy touching it with a stick, or prodding it with the thin end of his vina. The lifeless thing now uncurls itself, and begins to hiss and dash the charmer.
Sometimes it rushes at the spectators to their great fright. The dance of the cobra when it stands erect and spreads its hood is very amusing. Sometimes the charmer would even make the snake bite him, but he usually carries snakes whose poisonous fangs have been broken. He pretends to possess charms with which he can make these dangerous things harmless.
It is very difficult to understand this mysterious being. You can’t believe all what he says, and yet you cannot deny that he is a very clever man. His eyes are always red, and he has a very wild and frightful appearance. He certainly takes some strong intoxicating poison, otherwise you cannot explain the weird look of his eyes.