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The Wayfarer




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Hindu Books > Stories > Vedantic Tales > The Wayfarer

Page1

In India long ago there lived a man who made his living by theft and murder and who saw no wrong therein. Or if in the bottom of his soul he saw wrong, he ignored it, for he took a sense of guilt to be a sign of weakness standing in the way of his prowess as a bandit. Moreover, a hungry stomach was more painful to him than the pangs of conscience he may at times have felt. Occasionally, however, when sleep did not come at night, when there was nothing for his eyes to fasten upon in the thick blackness of the forest and nothing for his ears to hear but the lonely cries of jackals, he felt afraid and longed for the company of righteous men. At such times, the faces of all those he had killed passed before him in parade some silently accusing, some grimacing in pain or in anger, and some pleading in terror. Fifty two in all. Lying in the dark, he would count them, and the weight of so many sins seemed too much for one soul to bear. He would vow with all his heart to kill no more, calling upon Shiva to hear him.

But with the first daylight, when the friendly chatter of birds replaced the lonely and furtive night sounds, he would rise and leave his enclosure of woven branches and look with pleasure at the red dawn. He would sense the joyous excitement of the waking forest and feet his strength rise within him, even as the sun rose in the sky. He would flex his muscles in anticipation of adventure and be glad for the way he lived. He was his own master, an expert at his work, and was respected as such among the other dacoits of his time. Neither fear nor pity weakened his attack nor lessened the speed of his flight. I am Buckshee, the Terror of Travelers! And laughing loudly he would break a sizeable branch from a tree and snapping it in two would hurl the pieces far into the brush.

Author : Sister Gargi




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