Before the Kretlis family owned the house it was owned by a man named Hagg Mohammed.  In those days there lived in the house a benevolent serpent by the name of Anon – she protected the house by preventing other reptiles from entering and keeping evil outside the walls.

Hagg Mohammed had two little boys and co-incidentially the snake also had two baby snakes.  Those baby snakes went exploring one day (they were only supposed to do this at night-time!) and were seen by the two young boys.  Now boys will be boys and they captured the baby snakes, tied ropes around each one’s belly and tried to set them fighting each other.

Courtyard where the boys caught the snakes

Anon woke up and found her babies missing, she searched for them here and there – She eventually saw they had been captured by the little boys and became enraged.  In those times the water for the house was drawn from the well and kept in large porous jars in a cupboard under the stairs.  The sides of this cupboard were made of mashrabeya with allowed the air to flow around the jars and cool the water.  These cupboards were kept locked to ensure the water for the house was not poisoned or polluted.  Anon, in her rage headed for the water jars and spat her venom into them so that anyone drinking it would die.

Just then Hagg Mohammed returned to the house and saw the boys in the courtyard toying with the baby snakes.  He became very agitated and angry because he feared what the benevolent snake would do because of this insult to her and her babies.  He shouted at the boys to release the snakes at ones and lectured them long and loudly on the harm that may befall the house because of what they were doing by insulting the protector of the house.  The boys released the snakes and were very frightened and ashamed of what they had done.

Water Closet where the snake poisoned the water

Anon, the serpent heard what Hagg Mohammed said and saw that they boys were sorry.  She saw that what they had done was out of ignorance not malice and was immediately sorry for poisoning the water.  Then she heard the Hagg calling for water to be brought and she rushed to the water jars wondering what to do so the Hagg would not be poisoned.  She wound herself around the water jar she had poisoned and contracted her body until the water jar shattered and water spilled.  They say Hagg Mohammed counted the pieces afterwards and there were exactly 99 pieces.  As you can imagine the servant maid ran away screaming sure that it had been a Djin or a ghost that had done such a thing!

Other Legends of Beit Al-Kreitlia: