"Down with snakes! Everywhere they’re about!" Men let out a desperate cry And invited mongooses to help out, "Guys, all these evil snakes have to die!" And mongooses got at once into gear For achieving this ultimate goal. And they didn’t want even to hear About days off or vacations, at all. In the jungles and fields, near rivers and lakes, They instructed patrols and convoys To ignore all non-venomous snakes While all poisonous ones to destroy. Yet, the end of this story is sad: One day people laid snares and set nooses, Since, they said, "They are terribly bad, Harmful animals, all these mongooses." And next morning, with dogs, they appeared, To take them from their malicious traps, While the animals, fought and sweared, They are good, indispensable, perhaps. Yet, like mushrooms, in sacks they were thrown, Badly wounded, without a debate, With cruel pain they’re completely distraught, As well as, with flip-flop of their fate. They were guessing, why extermination Is the fee for their work, why is that? And they finally got an explanation. From the oldest one. Quietly he said, "Goats in India have eaten all cabbage, Sparrows in China devoured all rice, In Australia, mongooses, most savage, Killed all snakes, which were so very nice."
There is nothing unusual here. Were we useful, but suddenly for Everyone made it perfectly clear That too zealous killers we were.
From men now we are getting our bonus And are losing for nothing our lives. People need poison, but they arn’t poisonous, Hence, without snakes, cannot survive."        
© Vladimir Gurvich. Translation, 2013