Escape loved stories that involved deadly snakes, and "A Shipment of Mute Fate" was one of their favorites. This radioplay was broadcast four times, each with a different cast. In this story, a South American Bushmaster is accidentally let loose on a passenger ship traveling from Caracas, Venezuela to New York City. The passengers panic and the crew desperately tries to find the killer snake, but in the end, a mother's love saves everyone from danger. Depending on how sensitive you are, this story may have you in tears.
The Latin name of the South American Bushmaster is Lachesis Muta (also Lachesis Mutus), which translates to "mute fate." Lachesis was the name of the Greek fate who assigned the length of a man's life and Muta was the Roman goddess of silence. The designation of muteness is in reference to the snake's tail, which rattles like a rattlesnake but makes no noise.
"A Shipment of Mute Fate" was written by Martin Storm and appeared in an Esquire anthology of short stories in 1940. It was later adapted for Escape by Les Crutchfield. Of their four presentations of this episode, here is the third. It aired on March 13, 1949, and stars John Lund, Barry Kroeger, and Lois Corbett.
Suspense later presented Escape's radioplay of this story in 1957 and 1960. The sound effects are a little bit better in the later versions but the story is shorter. Here is Suspense's presentation from January 6, 1957 starring Jack Kelly.
(Photo of Lachesis Muta from Wikimedia Commons)