They were very shy and meek creatures. They liked staying in the cooler and darker portions of the forest. When they did venture out, they'd get trampled upon by larger animals since they were not particularly smart and aware of their surroundings. The monkey made fun of them and the carabao laughed at them.
Seeing that the snakes were always at the mercy of bigger creatures such as the carabao, a wise teacher appeared and took them under his care. The teacher taught them how to defend themselves in a way that would befit their stature.
The cobra, the boa and the viper were the most avid students in fighting and learned fairly quickly.
Pretty soon, their confidence began to rub off on the others. They were no longer the weaklings of the jungle and were the masters of fighting.
The teacher sensed this growing confidence and began to feel alarmed. One day, he decided to talk to them and warn them that they shouldn't use their new skills in harming others.
He reminded them that their abilities should only be used to protect themselves that they may also live good lives in the jungle. The balance must be maintained.
Yet, the three friends didn't pay attention to their teacher. One night, they secretly talked amongst themselves and decided that it was their right to use their new skills. In fact, they should use them to get their vengeance on those who made their lives difficult before.
With their new abilities, they believed that they must rule the animal kingdom.
They ventured out and bravely walked among the carabaos bragging and teasing them. They told them that they smelled terrible and looked funny whenever they took their mud baths.
The carabaos, though usually kind creatures, were not one to be pushed around in their own land. Their infamous tempers got the better of them which was exactly what the snakes wanted.
The snakes, agile creatures as they are leaped around and fought in tandem. The carabaos may be strong, but the snakes were quicker and faster. Soon, all of the carabaos were lying down on their own land, beaten and exhausted.
It was the snakes' first victory
They marched along wherever they could and beat whoever dared fight them. They were unbeatable and a force to reckon with.
They grew arrogant, believing that each one was the best. So much so, that they made a wager amongst the three of them on who could hurt the most number of animals in the jungle.
What happened next, was unfathomable. Chaos and destruction ensued. Boa killed all the elephants and viper poisoned the tigers. Cobra chased all the horses away.
(Note: If you've ever wondered, there are no native elephants in the Philippines. The animals in the zoo that you see have all been brought from other countries such as Thailand and Africa. Or maybe there were, 10,000 years ago. Go and check the elephant bones in the Ayala Museum and tell us what you'll find. We'd like to hear from you ~Dan)
The teacher found out about this and was dismayed at what he saw. There was bloodshed, death, pain and destruction everywhere he looked.
The balance has been broken.
He sought out the three belligerent snakes and whispered a 'sleeping prayer'. The three abruptly fell into a deep sleep wherein they could not hear or feel anything. Even as they slept, their feet and legs would move about so the teacher bound them.
The teacher never wanted to hurt the creatures even though they wrought havoc in the forest but there was no other choice. He knew that they would continue to cause destruction and pain when they woke up.
He cut off all their legs so that they would no longer be able to make use of them to hurt others. The teacher snuck quietly away while the snakes slept soundly, unmindful of their missing legs.
When they woke up, they found out that they no longer had legs. They writhed and struggled as they tried to move from one place to another. This was when they became acquainted with fear again. They were afraid that the other animals would take revenge against them while they were weak.
They knew that they would be helpless, accursed as they are. They can't fight in this way, not without their feet. Thus they parted ways with each snake choosing his own hiding place. The boa chose the deepest parts of the jungle where nobody would find him.
The viper snuck in between the small rocks and crevices, moving from one small hole to the other. While the cobra wandered from one spot to another.
Eventually, they'd learn to fight again. But this time, they'd rather fight like cowards, striking from places where nobody can see them and slithering away.