Teaching Story - Fear
by Life Positive
The people led delegations to the king and the king, in turn, performed a massive yagna to appease Lord Shiva and win his grace. He succeeded so well in this that shortly, Shiva appeared to the king and asked him what he wished. “Oh, Lord,” said the king, “Please grant that plague does not enter our kingdom.” “Very well,” said the deity. “I shall depute my personal vehicle, the bull Nandi, to guard your kingdom’s walls and prevent plague from sneaking in.” Night and day, Nandi paced around the kingdom’s walls tirelessly, until one day he saw a dreadful form trying to inconspicuously slip in. Nandi hailed him thunderously and stopped him. But Plague pleaded with him. “I too have a dharma to perform,” he said, “and I must do it.” Eventually they struck a deal. Plague would be let in but he would take only one victim.
The next day, the news was abroad and every tongue was wagging it. Plague had claimed over 100 victims! When Nandi heard the news he bellowed with rage. “Where is that rascal Plague? I shall pulverise him,” he determined. Finally, he found Plague, sleeping under a tree with a sack of souls in his hand.
“You fellow,” shouted Nandi, grabbing his scrawny throat. “Did you not promise to take only one victim?”
Plague could only utter a strangled croak until finally Nandi threw him to the ground with disgust. Bringing his hands together placatingly, Plague addressed him, “Brother, I did take only one victim. The others died out of fear.”
Adapted from Folktales from India.
Edited and compiled by AK Ramanujam
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