Buckshee said unhappily.
The man laughed again.
Forgive him! Yes, it
is said that the Lord dwells even in the heart of the lowest thief and
murderer, but it is only a saint who can truly see Him there. We householders
have our wives and our children to think of. Surely it is our duty to draw
our weapons when we are ambushed by a dacoit. No, only a Knower of Brahman
has the power to forgive. By the Lord's grace, may you become such a one.
So saying, he saluted Buckshee, and the group went on its way down the road.
Well done! the wayfarer said again
when Buckshee returned to the banyan tree and offered the rice to him. This
is indeed pure food. He took a few grains and tied them in a
corner of his cloth. Then he put his hand on Banshee's bowed head and blessed
him. Be strong, my son, he said, and
you will be victorious. Your heart, as earthen now as this bowl, will turn
to pure gold.
Then, taking his staff and bundle, he left the ambush and strode off
down the road, as tall and as majestic in Banshee's eyes and the king of
all mennay, as the king of gods. And Buckshee was aware of an unfamiliar
feeling: it was as though his heart and mind had been bathed in clear,
fresh water, purging them of every dark speck of fear and guilt. The whole
earth seemed to him a holy place filled with holy men, wherein one could
walk upright and unafraid.