The Woodcarver and the Painter – Part 1
Posted on: August 23, 2019.

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In a city, many years ago, there lived among noble, righteous people, a painter who was jealous of his neighbour, a wood-carver. Both their names were also almost identical—Thumba, the painter, and Thamba, the wood-carver—and each were on the lookout to avenge the other.

For many days now, Thumba had been looking for an opportunity to trap and destroy the woodcarver Thamba, and subsequently conceived a murderous plan…

Using his connections within the ranks of the royal palace, Thumba secured an audience with the king, on the premise of having to make an important announcement regarding the former king, who had recently died and, presumably, ‘went to heaven’ as he was a pious, noble, and competent ruler.

Standing before the king, Thumba declared, “Your Highness! In my dream yesterday night, your father appeared and informed me that he has been admitted to the heavenly kingdom of Tângâri, and invited me to visit him using that dream as a magic portal. I found your father in great power and splendour. And I have brought for you this letter from him.”

With these words the painter delivered to the king, a forged letter, the contents of which read—

    “I address this letter to my son, the reigning king. After my mortal departure, I was born in the heavenly kingdom of the Tângâri. In this land, reigns an abundance of all things. However, this is not a pagoda here, for me to worship my forefathers, and I desire to construct a pagoda. Please despatch Thamba, the woodcarver, to serve me here. The painter, Thumba, will guide Thamba on the means by which he is to reach this place.”

After listening to his father’s message in Thumba’s voice, the king said, “It is indeed a good thing that my father has been admitted into the realms of the Tângâri, in his afterlife. Summon to the royal palace, the wood-carver, Thamba.”

Thamba was summoned, and the wood-carver dutifully presented himself before the king in the royal palace.

The king told him, “My father spends his afterlife in the heavenly kingdom of Tângâri. He strongly wishes to construct a pagoda, and has asked that you should be despatched to him in Tângâri, because there are no wood-carvers there.”

The king displayed to Thamba the forged letter, and the shrewd wood-carver instantly understood this to be Thumba’s ploy in getting him into danger and death, and the kind king’s unwitting role in it. But Thamba decided to go forward and play Thumba’s game and orchestrate it against him—‘impale him with his own sword’.

Subsequently, Thamba inquired Thumba of the means to reach the kingdom of Tângâri, to which the wicked painter replied, “Prepare you tools and implements of trade and then place yourself upon a pile if fagots. Sing songs of rejoicing and set fire to the pile. That is how you will be able to reach the kingdom of the Tângâri”.

The wood-carver returned home and told his wife all that had happened that day, and his own consequent intentions. In consultation with the king, the royal astrologer appointed the seventh night from that time for the woodcarver’s journey, heaven-bound…

…continued in the next part

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