One morning after a particularly restless and remorseful night,
noticed that his store of food had dwindled to nothing, and, digging up
the earthen pot in which he kept his money, he found that only a few small
coins remained. The time had come to rob again and, if need be, to murder.
Like a shadow, the vow he had taken the night before passed through his
mind, and like a shadow it vanished. He smiled at his childish fears and,
knowing that Shiva would not hold him to a vow made when he was not fully
himself, set to sharpening his knife against a stone.
About a mile away from his shelter the highway passed through the thick
of the forest. Travelers were wary of this portion of the road, going
in groups whenever possible and glancing always to right, to left, and
behind, as much in fear of such as Buckshee as of wild beasts. Rarely did
a solitary and unarmed traveler pass this way, still less carry with him
a fortune of money or goods. But Buckshee was patient and could wait hour
after hour behind the screening trunks of a large banyan tree, silently
watching the road, careful only that a coiled cobra or crouched tiger was
not at the same time watching him, as silent and intent.