At nightfall they came to a clearing. The moon shone fully onto the
forest floor; there was no breath in the air; nothing moved. The wide space
seemed empty except for a few fallen trees and stumps, silver in the moonlight.
Then Banshee's eyes slowly distinguished the form of a man, his body white
with ashes, his hair long and matted, sitting cross legged on the trunk
of a fallen oak. Buckshee stood in the shadows, staring at the holy man
(for such he clearly was), and at length he recognized his teacher. He
felt his heart would burst with the wonder of seeing him. He could not
move or take his eyes away. Tears streamed down his face. A cry of joy
escaped his lips.
Who is there? the holy man asked.
Buckshee. His voice was
barely a whisper.
Buckshee! Come, my child. Why do you stand
there in the dark? Come closer.
Buckshee took a step into the moonlight.
You found your way here! the holy
man exclaimed. Come closer so that I need not
Buckshee said, taking two more
steps into the clearing. Your disciple led us
My disciple? Us? Is there, then, someone else
in the shadows?
Bukshee looked behind him; there was no one. He peered deep into the
forest, god a terrible fear clutched his heart. While he had stood transfixed
in his own rapture, the dacoit had freed his hands, throttled the young Brahmacharya, and escaped!
Oh, sir! he cried. Sir!
Your disciple The dacoit! They're gone! A terrible thing has happened!
Saying this, he put his head in his hands and wept.