The Rescued Snake—p. 231.

With an important difference, this tale resembles that of the Bráhman and the Lion, p. 254, which is a variant of the world­wide fable of the Hunter and the Serpent—the difference being that in this case the snake ultimately rewards its rescuer. In the story of Nala and Damayanti, the rájá rescues a snake from a jangal fire and carries it some distance and is about to set it down when the snake says: “Carry me ten steps farther, and count them as you go.” So Nala proceeds, counting the steps— one, two, three; and when he says “ten” (Sansk. dasa, which means “bite” as well as “ten”) the snake takes him at his word and bites the rájá on the forehead, upon which he becomes black. But this the snake does for Nala's own benefit, that he should not be recognised in his degradation.