On the lovely banks of Jumna’s stream there was a city known as Dharmasthal—the Place of Duty; and therein dwelt a certain Brahman called Keshav. He was a very pious man, in the constant habit of performing penance and worship upon the river Sidi.
He modelled his own clay images instead of buying them from others; he painted holy stones red at the top, and made to them offerings of flowers, fruit, water, sweetmeats, and fried peas. He had become a learned man somewhat late in life, having, until twenty years old, neglected his reading, and addicted himself to worshipping the beautiful youth Kama-Deva and Rati his wife, accompanied by the cuckoo, the humming-bee, and sweet breezes.
One day his parents having rebuked him sharply for his ungovernable conduct, Keshav wandered to a neighbouring hamlet, and hid himself in the tall figt ree which shadowed a celebrated image of Panchanan. Presently an evil thought arose in his head: he defiled the god, and threw him into the nearest tank.
The next morning, when the person arrived whose livelihood depended on the image, he discovered that his god was gone. He returned into the village distracted, and all was soon in an uproar about the lost deity. In the midst of this confusion the parents of Keshav arrived, seeking for their son; and a man in the crowd declared that he had seen a young man sitting in Panchanan’s tree, but what had become of the god he knew not.
The runaway at length appeared, and the suspicions of the villagers fell upon him as the stealer of Panchanan. His eyes resembled the moon as he confessed the fact, pointed out the place where he had thrown the stone, and added that he had polluted the god.
All hands and eyes were raised in amazement at this atrocious crime, and every one present declared that Panchanan would certainly punish the daring insult by immediate death. Keshav was dreadfully frightened; he began to obey his parents from that very hour, and applied to his studies so sedulously that he soon became the most learned man of his country.
Read the rest of the story from the PDF above…
For other interesting stories for kids, browse though our huge collection of short stories on this page.