“Why I thought you would never ask,” exclaimed Ralla with a glaring smile on his face. “You see, deception can be quite a powerful tool. And when used only for the greater good of humanity it is permissible.”
“You mean that you tricked someone into carrying out a work for you, Grandpa?” asked Kuroff.
“Well, you see, [we] hermits were for some time ravaged by the Rakshasa. They we were a sinister breed who, for joy, terrorized the people of the Dandaka forest. Ever since the Rakshasa occupied our grounds, all things tied to mother earth – game, foliage and the like-- died, migrated away or was eaten.”
“Grandpa, what does a Rakshasa look like?” questioned Danzell.
“They are a hideous people. They have wings for flight, claws for battle and fangs for preying on just about whomever they please,” responded Ralla.
“Now, like I was saying, the Rakshasa were a menace to our existence. We hermits had no way of combatting them and their malicious attacks,” said Ralla. “We in Dandaka had heard of a great warrior who hailed from great Aydohya – Rama was his name.”
“What did Rama look like, Grandpa?” asked Kuroff.
Ralla grinned. He said, “As broad as two mature ox. Hair as dark as the fur of a black bear. As tall as the three of us stacked one atop the other.”
“Whoa!” shouted Kuroff.
“As I was saying, we knew that Rama had previously defeated several Rakshasa with only his bow. We also knew that a warrior of his greatness wouldn’t waste his time venturing into Dandaka unless he had to,” exclaimed Ralla. “So when we heard that he was in the vicinity, we devised an attempt to bring him to our modest Dandaka.”
“We knew that Agastya, being a demon-slayer himself, would likely know the great Rama personally. You see, men [Rama and Agastya] of such character demand respect from all men they encounter. As such, we sent Agastya out for a day in order to repay a former favor. We quickly sent a hermit over to Agastya’s abode to pose as Agastya himself.”
“Grandpa, you committed an immoral act!” shouted Danzel and Kuroff.
“Yes, but only for the greater good – as I’ve already mentioned,” stressed Ralla.
“Luckily, the hermit was quite the impressionist and carried out the plan to perfection. He directed Rama and his entourage to Dandaka to help out us hermits.”
“You see, a warrior of his character was obligated to help out laymen like us.”
“But Grandpa, why couldn’t you just have asked Agastya to help you?” inquired Danzel.
Ralla chuckled. “Only a few men in this world could accomplish the feat Rama did,” said Ralla, “thousands of Rakshasa would engage in battle once they heard who was in their territory.”
“The Rakshasa, seething at the opportunity to fight, showed up before sundown.”
“Rama, noble as he was, ordered his entourage to seek protection. The night sky crackled with thunder as the Rakshasa set out for northern Dandaka.”
“What happened next, what happened next?” squealed the boys. “I bet that Rama destroyed them with a single blow,” cried Kuroff as he demonstrated the fighting moves he’d envisioned.
“As soon as the Rakshasa spotted Rama they bee-lined right towards him,” explained Ralla. “Rama, being the seasoned warrior he was, darted to his side so as to line the Rakshasa up one after the other. He drew his bow back as far as the string allowed and fired an arrow – piercing the hearts of a dozen nearly instantaneously.”
Kuroff and Danzel, thrilled by the story, drew and aimed their imaginary bows and fired them into the sky.
“Rama burned through his arrows in nearly no time; he then drew his seasoned blade and jumped tree limb to tree limb slicing through the Rakshasas as they zipped through the trees like angry hornets,” said Ralla.
“Rama would not be defeated, no. He single-handedly dismantled the Rakshasa army headed by Khara.”
“You were present to witness ALL of this?” asked Danzel.
“Why yes,” proclaimed Ralla.
“Our plan to purge the Rakshasas from Dandaka had worked to perfection it did.”
“Gradually, the beasts of the field and plants of the ground found their way back to graceful Dandaka.”
Kuroff and Danzel imitated the battle with imaginary weapons on the banks of the Ganges.
“Has ANYTHING else happened to you that we should know about?” asked Kuroff.
“Let us first make our way back home and I’ll see what I can do,” remarked Ralla.
Author’s note: I told this story in third person in order to maintain the style for my storybook. The purpose of the storybook is to describe some of the more notable landmarks mentioned in the Ramayana. For this story in particular, I hoped to continue telling stories as the grandfather of the two boys, Danzel and Kuroff. I did change the way in which Rama ended up in the Dandaka forest – my story entailed a hermit posing as Agastya.
Bibliography: Buck, William (1976). Ramayana: King Rama's Way.