The Tribesman [contd.]
A day had passed since he climbed the large tree to escape being tramped by the large elephant. Achuchu had spent the whole night atop the tree and he was already struggling with some minor wounds in his calves and legs caused during the escape from the tusker. The angry elephant stayed there all night under the tree, Achuchu had thought about getting down the tree early in the morning but he decided against it. Few hours passed and he could already feel the atmosphere around him getting warm. The birds were singing melodiously in the distance.
He looked down, the elephant was still there, but something was changing about him, Achuchu felt the rhythm of the beast getting more calmer. That did not make Achuchu believe that the situation was diffused. The tusker was still standing there waiting to strike.
Few hours had passed and Achuchu was leaning against the trunk, his eyes closed. The song of birds had suddenly stopped and in their place he could only hear fluttering of wings in the distance. Achuchu was on high alert, the sound of birds chirping and moving in the branches impatiently became more evident. Achuchu had lost all hope — he was positive that it was a wild beast that had sensed the presence of the elephant or even worse, picked the scent of blood from his body and tracked it all the way to the tree. For a moment, Achuchu also looked down to see if the elephant had sensed this too and to his surprise, the elephant was nodding its head.
He had seen elephants nod their heads this way only when they are in a playful mood or about to meet a possible mate. There was hope, he thought. If it was another elephant that the tusker beneath was expecting, that was his only chance to jump down from the tree and sprint away. What if, it was a wild beast instead , a hungry tiger or a wild bear?
Just when his mind was racing furiously, he saw the dense bushes beneath move and to Achuchu’s suprise, a yellow coloured figure walked in. He examined closely and saw an old man. He was clothed in yellow, his head shaven, he was very lean and was very calm even after seeing the wild elephant. Achuchu realized that it was a monk, an ascetic. Acuchu had never seen anyone crushed to death by an elephant before and he was curious to watch it at the same time trying to clap his hands to warn the monk not to get any closer.
To Achuchu’s surprise, the elephant appeared more playful now and he advanced slowly towards the monk. The monk took tiny steps and stopped. He was looking at the elephant, smiling and reaching out his hand in the elephants direction. Achuchu was ready. If the elephant attacked the foolish monk, that was his chance to get down and run away.
The elephant nodded its head and gently took a step towards the monk. He pointed his large trunk at the monk. The monk was still calm. To the man sitting in the branch above, waiting to run away, this was too much to comprehend as reality. Finally the lean monk took few steps forward and took the elephant’s trunk by his hand, the elephant bent a little and the monk uttered something gentle.
The elephant lifted one of its front legs and bent it a little. He gave a triumpant, fresh blow from his trunk and Achuchu felt the many birds fly in all directions, scared by the drama caused by the stupid elephant. To his surprise, the elephant then turned its back on the monk and walked away gently. Achuchu was so confused and more curious at the same time.
What man has the temerity to walk inside a jungle inhabited by tigers all alone and more importantly, what could he have said to the wild elephant that made him go away? Achuchu thought, he was still sitting on the branch like a lazy, uninspired monkey looking at nothing. He looked down and the monk turned around and kept walking. Achuchu was quick, he jumped off. His body rolled on dirt and he stood up.
“ I hope you know your way out of this forest?” spoke the monk in a calm voice, he was already far away.
Achuchu nodded and said “yes, I do.”
The monk was clearing some bushes, preparing to walk away. Achuchu wanted to know what the monk said to the elephant, so that he can teach this trick to his people too. He wanted to know what was the monk doing and also thank him for saving his life.
The monk said these words as he kept walking. Achuchu was amazed, did he say something? He took few steps now following the man in the yellow robe.
“Wait, O kind sir, you have saved me. Can I see the face of the man who saved me?”
The monk stopped, he turned around.
Achuchu saw the monk. He was very old, had a shaven head and a small bundle made in his robe. He had a calm smile, the man was unusually dark and looked like a Damilan citizen. Achuchu had seen Damila people during his trip to the markets of Malavar. They were intelligent people. The monk smiled in calmness and said these words
“What does it mean?” asked Achuchu. The monk replied in a soft voice.
“May all beings be happy”
Achuchu bowed at the wise monk in reverence with his hands held together.
To be continued…