One day in late
winter he heard a rustling and chirping in the brown grasses outside
the temple entrance.
Nag! Sri Nag!'
Sri Nag went
outside, there to confront a row of five mice, one of whom stepped
forward. This spokesman, whose name was Akhu, cleared his throat. 'Sri
Nagji,' he said in a deferential tone of voice, 'we
have come as a delegation to pay our respects to you and to ask you,
sir, if we may be so bold, as to why you allowed those bullies to
treat you like a piece of rope. It was quite a reversal of the
ancient and well known illustration of maya.' He chuckled at
his own learned wit. The four other mice tittered in a chorus of
appreciation. 'It was a shocking sight,'
Akhu went on, his voice becoming bolder. 'But,
of course, that is your own affair. Of more concern to us is that
you have not been abiding by the Rules of the Game. We have come to
that also is my own affair,' Sri Nag replied without rancor.
'But may I point out that if I had been
abiding by the Rules, as you call it, you would not be here today to
ask the question.'
Akhu lifted his
chin almost imperceptibly and twitched his whiskers. Again ho
cleared his throat. 'Meaning no offence, sir,'
he said, 'it was only the less agile and alert
mice that you were able to catch in the old days. I dare say that
even if things had been taking their normal course, I and my
colleagues would still be here. Moreover, sir, if I may reply to
your first point, it is not your own affair. What you do and don't
do has repercussions far a field.'