One day Parvati, the consort of Shiva requested Shiva to tell her a story. “ Oh lord ! tell me a story that no one has heard before”, she pleaded. Shiva agreed and compiled a fresh tale for her. Shiva closed the door to the bed chamber so that no one else should hear it. While he was closing the door one of Shiva’s minions concealed himself as a tiny fly and entered the bedchamber and listened to the tale sitting unnoticed on the wall.

Once he heard the story he could not contain himself and shared the story with his wife . She then went ahead told the story to her companions with the rider “ please don’t tell it to anyone”. Finally the story got shared among everyone as it completed its circle and reached Parvati’s maid, who told it back to Parvati. Parvati was aghast. How could Shiva cheat her by telling a story that everyone knew? She immediately reported it Shiva and accused him for cheating her.

Shiva soon found out how the story was leaked and condemned his gana and his right hand man , who had overheard the tale by hiding in his bed chamber as a fly. “ You will turn into a Pishacha– a ghost and roam the forest aimlessly” he cursed him. But when the gana pleaded for forgiveness he countered his curse by saying he will be released from the curse when he writes down Shiva’s story. As a pishacha, Shiva’s gana went to the forest and tried to write down the story. But he could not find any material to pen it down. He wrote the story with his blood on the leaves of tree. When he finally completed it he went to the King and handed over the ‘manuscript’ written in blood. King felt revolted seeing the leaves dripping with blood and rejected it at once ordering him to leave the kingdom. Heartbroken, pishacha returned to the forest and started reading his story to the birds and and beasts in the jungle. One day in utter frustration of his life as a pishacha he started tearing up the manuscript. When the birds saw him destroying the manuscript they flew en masse to the palace and informed the king what was happening. The King immediately recognized the authenticity of the pishacha’s written work, and rushed to salvage the manuscript and managed to rescue few leaves. But alas, by that time all that was left of the magnificent tale was only a fragment of the entire original script.

Story collected by : Vidya Kamat
Text Source: Collected essays of A. K. Ramanujan
Location: Pan India
Image source: Wikipedia