The brahmin and the crooks

Once upon a time there lived a brahmin Mitra Sarma in a small village. He was a great worshiper of lord of fire. It was the month of Magha (February). The sky was full of clouds and it had already started raining. Sarma went to the neighboring village at that time to seek the gift of a sacrificial lamb from some rich man. He called on a well-to-do man in the village and requested him to make him a gift of a healthy lamb for sacrifice to fire god. The wealthy man gave him one of the well-fed lambs he had.

Carrying the lamb on his shoulders, the brahmin began his journey back home. Three crooks, very hungry and emaciated, crossed his path and seeing the healthy lamb on the brahmin’s shoulders thought, “Ah, god has sent us good food. Let us trick the Brahmin into parting with it and free us from hunger and cold.” At once, they began to act.

One of them changed into a disguise, and overtaking the Brahmin by another route, stopped him and said, “O what a fool you are? Such a great worshipper of fire god, why are you carrying this dog on your shoulders? This will bring you ridicule. Don’t you know that it is a sin to touch a dog, or a rooster, or a donkey?”

The brahmin lost his temper and said, “You stupid fellow, are you blind? Why do you call a lamb a dog?”

The first crook replied, “Don’t be angry, if you think he is not a dog, please carry on. I have no objection.”

The Brahmin hardly walked a little distance when the second crook greeted him and said,

“O respected sir, it is highly regrettable that you are carrying a dog on your shoulders, however dear it is to you. The man who touches a dog, a donkey or a rooster has to undergo purification rites.”

The Brahmin challenged him, “Are you too blind? This is a live sacrificial lamb and you say he is a dog.”

The second crook said, “All right, sir. Please excuse me. I am an ignorant fool. Do as it pleases you.”

Now it was the turn of the third crook to cross the brahmin’s path.

Turning to the Brahmin, the crook said the same thing as previous two. “Oh, great brahmin why do you carry a dog on your shoulders. Don’t you know this is not right?

Thinking that he was really carrying a dog, the poor brahmin threw the lamb to the ground and went home. The crooks were well able to fool the brahmin and get the lamb for their food.

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