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NCERT Solutions for Class 9 English Beehive (Prose) Chapter 5 The Snake and the Mirror


The Snake and the Mirror

"The Snake and the Mirror" is a captivating short story that explores themes of vanity, fear, and the unpredictability of life. Set in a small, modestly furnished house, the narrative follows a young, unmarried doctor who lives alone. One evening, after a meal, he sits down to reflect on his future, particularly his desire for a wife who would be fat so she wouldn't be coveted by other men and could help him if he were to be ill.

As he admires himself in the mirror, contemplating his looks and future prospects, his life takes a dramatic turn when a snake slithers onto his shoulder, gazing at itself in the mirror as well. Paralyzed with fear, the doctor remains motionless, contemplating his imminent death and realizing the shallowness of his previous vanity.

The snake, eventually, moves away without harming him, slinking off into the darkness. This encounter profoundly changes the doctor, leading him to reevaluate his life's priorities and values. He moves out of the house, leaves behind his belongings, including the mirror, and takes up a more humble and introspective approach to life.


  • Vanity and Self-Reflection: The story highlights the doctor's vanity and how the encounter with the snake forces him to confront his superficial values.
  • Fear and Mortality: The presence of the snake serves as a stark reminder of mortality and the unpredictability of life, pushing the doctor to reconsider what truly matters.
  • Change and Growth: The protagonist's experience with the snake acts as a catalyst for personal growth and transformation, leading him away from materialistic and self-centered thoughts.


  • The Doctor: A young, unmarried man whose encounter with a snake makes him reconsider his values and approach to life.
  • The Snake: A silent yet powerful presence that symbolizes the turning point in the doctor's life.

"The Snake and the Mirror" is a story rich in symbolism, offering a poignant reminder of the essential truths of existence that often get overshadowed by superficial concerns.