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Main > Indian folktales > Fairy tale "A Royal Thief-Catcher"

A Royal Thief-Catcher

They let him see however that they thought it was mean of him to hide away his riches, instead of using them to help the poor and suffering; and this added very much to his rage. At last he lost all self-control and cried, "It is not worth while for me to live any longer. I will go to some holy place of pilgrimage by the banks of the river, and there I will starve myself to death."

A place of pilgrimage, you know, is one where some great event, generally connected with religion, has taken place, to which pilgrims go to pray in the hope of winning some special favour from God. The word pilgrim means a wanderer, but it has come in course of time to signify any traveller who comes from a distance to some such place. Benares in India is a very famous place of pilgrimage, because it is on the River Ganges, which the Hindus worship and love, believing that its waters can wash away their sins. Hundreds and thousands of Hindus go there every year to bathe in it, and many who know that they have not long to live wait on its banks to die, so that after their bodies have been burnt, as is the custom with the Hindus, their ashes may be thrown into the sacred stream.

7. Can you name two other places of pilgrimage, one held sacred by Christians and one by Hindus?

8. Will you explain exactly why the two places you have thought of are considered holy?

Chapter V

The news of the Brahman's loss spread very quickly through Sravasti; and as is so often the case, every one who told the story made it a little different, so that it became very difficult to know what the truth really was. There was great distress in the town, because the people thought the Brahman would go away, and they did not want him to do that. They were proud of having a man they thought so holy, living amongst them, and ashamed that he should have been robbed whilst he was with them. When they heard that he meant to starve himself to death, they were dreadfully shocked, and determined to do all they possibly could to prevent it.

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