Banshee's teacher stood up, his body tall and gleaming in the moonlight.,
yourself! he said with a voice as loving as it was authoritative.
Why are you weeping, my child? You brought the
dacoit to me. Do you really think I don't know? He has gone now. Forever
gone. As for my disciple you are my disciple. There has been no one but
you. Come! There is no one but you, he repeated slowly, each
word distinct. You found your own way. Hear me!
His teacher's words finally penetrated
Banshee's mind. Hearing them,
the burden of grief and guilt dropped from him as a burden in a dream will
drop when one fully awakes. The brahmacharin was not slain! The dacoit
had disappeared! His heart, he realized, was free, pure. Simultaneously,
he realized something else. With joy and wonder, he ran the rest of the
distance to Lord Shiva and prostrated himself at His feet.
The travelers came upon Banshee's body lying in the road. A young
woman of their group gave a cry and ran to him and, kneeling down, felt
his heart. He is dead, she said to
her companions. She picked up his earthen bowl. How
beautiful it is! It shines as though it were made of pure gold!
They carried Banshee's body to the village, where it was cremated with
honour by the villagers, who had known him well.