"Don't even think about it, son," Pa commanded when he saw me getting ready to kill the slithering black snake I had found in the barn. "Leave him alone."
"You mean we aren't going to kill him?" I asked, proud I had gathered enough courage to even get close to the creature.
"Wouldn't dream of it," Pa said. "Snakes are good for farms. This little guy is a rat snake. He lives here in the barn and eats mice and rats. The snake gets his dinner, and we don't have rodents."