Melampus and the ear lickers

Melampus found a nest of young snakes under an oak tree and nurtured them carefully. One night as he slept the sneaky little dickens licked his ears. When Melampus awoke he was astounded to discover that he possessed a new ability to understand the language of birds and creepy things, he became a soothsayer, one of the first and foremost. Yessiree!