But snakes are smart creatures,” his aunt said. “In ancient legends, they often help guide people. You find this in legends from different cultures all over the world. But when a snake leads you, you don’t know whether it’s taking you in a good direction or a bad one. In most cases, it’s a combination of good and evil.”
“It’s ambiguous,” Kino said.
“Exactly. Snakes are essentially ambiguous creatures. In these legends, the biggest, smartest snake hides its heart somewhere outside its body, so that it doesn’t get killed. If you want to kill that snake, you need to go to its hideout when it’s not there, locate the beating heart, and cut it in two. Not an easy task, for sure.”
From the story “Kino” in Men Without Women – Haruki Murakami