The Woodcarver and the Painter – Part 2
Posted on: September 6, 2019.

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Thamba secretly contrived a subterranean passage, from the middle of his field—in which the pile of fagots was to be placed—and his own house. He placed a large stone over the aperture in the field and covered it with earth.

When the seventh night arrived, the king announced, “This night, let the wood-carver commence on his journey unto my father in his afterlife!” Subsequently, someone brought out a handful of animal fat, and a huge fire was kindled. The wood-cutter sung songs of rejoicing, and just as the pyre erupted to its full glory, he escaped down the concealed passageway he had made back to his own house.

The painter, meanwhile, rejoiced greatly, and pointed upwards with his finger, saying, “There goes the wood-carver up to heaven!” The onlookers of the village who had stood witness went away, thinking in their hearts, “The wood-carver is dead, and gone up above to the king in his afterlife.”
For a whole month, the wood-carver remained concealed within the confines of his home, allowing no man to set eyes upon him, washing his head in milk every day, and resting in the shadows. After a month, the wood-carver put on a garment of white silk, and wrote a letter, which read—

    “I address this letter to my son, the king, who rules in peace, which is very good. Thamba, the wood-carver, has completed his work, and thus, needs to be duly rewarded. Furthermore, the pagoda needs to be decorated with many necessary coloured paintings. Send unto me Thumba, the painter, as you had already sent the wood-carver”.

Thumba presented himself before the king and related his story. “What!” cried the king. “You returned alive from the heavenly kingdom of Tângâri?’ The wood-carver handed to the king, the letter, and said, “I have, indeed, been to the kingdom of the Tângâri, served your father, and returned home again.”

Hearing this, the elated king rewarded the wood-carver with costly presents. Then he said, “Summon the painter, Thumba, because he is now required for painting the pagoda that Thamba has constructed for my father in Tângâri”.

When Thumba saw Thamba, fair, and in white, shining robes, laden with gifts, he said unto himself, ‘He is not dead!’ The king then handed over the forged letter bearing the royal seal to the painter, and said, “Now, you must go!”

Subsequently, the seventh night from that time arrived, the people came forward as before bringing with them animal fat, and in the midst of the field a pile of fagots was kindled. Thumba seated himself in the midst of the pile, with his painting tools and materials, and gifts of honour and a letter for the king in the afterlife.

Thumba sang songs of rejoicing, and as the fire kept growing more and more intolerable, he lifted up his voice and uttered piercing cries. But his cries for help were overpowered by the cacophony of assorted ceremonial instruments, and the fire quickly consumed him.

Successful in his game of tit-for-tat, Thamba, the wood-carver, bid farewell to Thumba—the wicked painter, now destroyed, completely and forever—and went homeward.

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