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Ancient Stories:

Sansaaraaranyaye Dadayakkaraya

(The hunter in the wilderness of sansara)

Translated by Malinda Seneviratne

Chapter1; (Part 12)

While listening to the Hamuduruwo’s sermon, the Giant suddenly looked towards a higher point on the rock nudged by some instinctive urge.

The Bahiravaya who protected the treasure trove beyond that point stood there, waving his arms and trying to indicate something to the Giant. With his short and stocky frame, the Bahiravaya looked comical waving his short fat arms at the Giant.

He had something urgent to convey. The Giant fell deaf to the words of the Hamuduruwo even before the sermon ended. He started walking towards the Bahiravaya.

The Bahiravaya whispered something into his ear. He pointed towards the South of the rock and kept saying something incoherent. The Giant realised that the news was not good, basing his conclusion on the gestures and demeanor of the Bahiravaya.

The Giant went about the task of preparing the midday meal in deep thought. The moment the Hamuduruwo completed his meal, the Giant took off down the mountain, picked up the axe and sped off in a Southern direction.

Unlike on other days when he would tarry awhile to observe the playing out of some eternal verity in the behaviour of creatures small and large, the Giant did not pause. At one point a set of aggressive ants were preparing to launch an attack on a termite hill. On another occasion he might have spent the entire day and night at such a place.

He would watch in quiet contemplation how each individual ant and each individual termite faces a moment of threat and so too the behaviour of each collective. He would on occasion intervene and disrupt the invasion.

He knew how to do this with the least effort. He could warn the termites of the imminent attack. Ants never attacked creatures ready to meet such a challenge because such a collective could easily disrupt the careful arrangement of ant-forces.

Today, however, the Giant did not weight such options as were relevant to this conflict. He was focused on moving South in accordance with the unclear message delivered by the Bahiravaya.

By and by his nostrils flared involuntarily by a human-inhuman scent. He stopped. He sniffed. He slipped into a dark spot where he would not be seen.

The three of them came along the elephant-path, walking watchfully. In the lead was a plump man. He carried a gun over his shoulder. On this shoulder there was also a dirty bundle of clothes.

The second was an extremely emaciated man. Hanging from his shoulder, covered in a white piece of cloth, was something that resembled a drum. In his other hand was a rope made of vines. Tied by the wrists at the other end of the rope was a girl who could not have been more than fifteen years old.

Both men sported thick beards. Their hair was combed back and tied in a knot at the back of their respective heads. They were clothed in extremely soiled loin clothes and nothing else. Only the piece of cloth that covered the drum or whatever it was that it covered was spotlessly clean. The bundle that the plump man carried was made of sack-cloth and this too was extremely dirty.

The only cloth that the girl wore was her long locks of hair. Her hands were tied at their wrists. Although she was being led by the thin man who held the rope she was not being pulled along. She hurried behind the thin man, clearly exhausted and as though life was leaving her legs. She had a perplexed look on her face or else the expression of someone who was deeply drugged.

Amidst all this there was one fact which the Giant noticed again and again, the thick hair below her stomach. Her breasts hardly protruded and this lush growth between her thighs appeared as an abnormality to the Giant. Also, on each occasion that the rope was not taut, she used the slack to quickly cover this area with her hands.

This happened frequently although it wasn’t clear whether or not it was a conscious act on her part. The heavy set man continued on his way, gun on shoulder. The others followed him in silence.

The Giant followed at a distance taking care to remain out of sight. By and by they reached the rocky outcrop where the Southern treasure trove was located. Neither the Bahiravaya nor the Naga King were to be seen.

Fatty forgot Skinny and the girl and rushed around the rock in haste and excitement. He brushed aside the sand that lay over the crow-foot mark and repeated the gesture several times. He climbed down, pointed his hand all around and was seen saying something to Skinny.

Then they walked to the stream that ran by the rock and sat on its banks. They kept the gun and the bundle aside, waded into the water and washed themselves. Thereafter, they unwrapped the bundle, took something out, and ate.

Through all this, the girl stood standing. Although this made her weary, she remained standing. Her hands covered the area between her thighs. Fatty and Skinny didn’t spare her a glance. They went on eating.

The Giant, who was barely fifty yards away from them, could hear clearly the munching noises that emanated from their hungry mouths.

He did not hear what they were saying, though. He went down on his haunches and slowly moved closer, using the cover of the thick brush.

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