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The Killing Bow

Updated: Nov 25, 2023

Demanding a ride on a temple elephant dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi, Prince Indrajeet is informed that he has to earn his ride by serving the Goddess and paying a gold coin forged in her temple.

“The Killing Bow” by Vaidurya Pratap Sahi & R. S. Chintalapati is a story about a megalomaniac Prince and a proud elephant, describing the incidents after the Prince earned the demanded golden coin by the mahout.



This contribution was co-written by R. S. Chintalapati, edited by Manognya Bethapudi & Sreeraj Kolora, & illustrated by Sonam Jha.



This short story is available in paperback & ebook.

Illustration by Sonam Jha

As the cold winds touched the Prince, he rode triumphantly on his horse followed by two soldiers. He knew, he had earned the ride, the one he waited for a fortnight and as he rode his horse, his light blue cape cut the cold wind with the warmth of his anxiousness.

Listening to the thunder of galloping horses, subjects walked out into the street to witness nature’s will. On the street mentioned two weeks ago, Prince Indrajeet waited for Lakshmi and its master. Observing the Prince filled with pride in earning his ride, a few of his subjects were worried about Lakshmi.

Their faces turned pale under the black clouds hiding the fierce burning ball behind it. The wind grew colder as Lakshmi finally approached them. On top of her was her companion Vishnu.

Resting on his horse, Prince Indrajeet raised his hand holding the demanded coin that appeared to everyone like a white dot in a dark world. While it felt as if nature had to surrender to tyranny, Lakshmi burnt like a golden flame eradicating the darkness.

As they stood facing each other, the fifteen-year-old Prince Indrajeet shouted, “Here is your price Mahout! Command your beast to bow!”

The fifty-four-year-old Mahout observed as the Prince threw the coin on the ground. Feeling his elephant’s anger, Vishnu replied calmly, “That wasn’t just my price, my Prince. It was an undertaking to enlighten you.”

With a raised eyebrow, Indrajeet shouted, “So cleaning the steps of Goddess Lakshmi’s temple while being the first one to offer prayers every morning is to enlighten me? You have failed as a teacher Mahout! Better conduct your sole business as only an elephant master henceforth.”

Vishnu smiled as Indrajeet continued, “I’ve done what you asked for and brought you the demanded coin from the temple after earning it. Now I want my ride!”

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