He raced back to the forest to tell the hermit what had happened. "And now my aunt is staying in bed, but do you know what my aunt said? She told him she hurt her foot while sleepwalking!"
"Either she will fear you now," said the old man. "Or she will try to get rid of you. Listen carefully. If you think you are in danger, you must search her bedroom for her snakeskin, and when you find it, burn it."
The young man thanked the hermit, but he was concerned. What would happen if he burned the snakeskin? He decided to give his aunt one last chance.
While she was recovering, she caused no trouble, but as soon as her wound healed, she resumed her nightly slithering about the house.
Sometimes, when the young man was lying in bed, he saw the snake slip in and out of his empty boots or up the sleeve of a coat he had worn. One dreadful night, he felt the snake wiggling under his pillow, and he jumped out of bed in a cold sweat.
His dreams grew worse. He had a terrifying nightmare in which his aunt was trying to choke him. He awoke gasping for breath and realized that something was coiled tightly around his neck.
It was the snake.
He pulled it off and threw it across the room. And after he caught his breath, he knew he had to follow the hermit's advice.