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Heera reasoned with him, "No brother, stand still."

"If he hits me, I will knock down one or two of them."

"No, it is against our religion."

Moti kept his anger buried in his heart. In the meanwhile, Gaya reached and pulled the two towards home. Fortunately they were not struck else Moti would have given vent to his pent up rage. Gaya, perceiving Moti's dangerous attitude, was wise enough not to provoke him. His assistants also realised that the time was not right for displaying any bravado.

Today also dry fodder was pushed before them. Both remained standing quietly. The people in the house were having their meals. At that moment, a small girl approached them with two pieces of bread in her hand. After giving one piece to each of them she went away as quietly as she had come. The small piece of bread was unlikely to satisfy their hunger but their hearts were satiated. There were some good people here too! The girl was Bhairo's daughter. Her mother had died and the step-mother ill-treated her. It is for this reason that she had developed an empathy for these bullocks.

Both were made to work hard throughout the day, they were struck and then kept tethered in the evening. In the night, the same girl would come and feed them bread. It was perhaps because of the power of this affection that the two remained strong despite being fed with dry fodder. But there was revolt in their eyes.

One day Moti said in the silent language of theirs, "This cannot be tolerated any further."

"What do you wish to do?"

"I will attack one of them with my horns and toss him up in the air."

"But do you know that the warm-hearted girl who feeds us is the daughter of the master of this house. The girl would be orphaned."

"Then I will attack the mistress; it is she who beats the girl."

"But it is against our religion to attack women."

"You have a counter-argument for everything. Okay, then, lets break free and escape."

"I agree to this; but how can we tear this strong rope?"

"There is a way. First chew at the rope for a while and weaken it, and then it will snap."

When the little girl left after offering them bread that night, both started chewing at the ropes. But the ropes were so thick that they could not chew at them. A little later the door of the house opened and the same girl came out. Both of them began licking at her hands. She caressed their heads and said, "I will untie the ropes. Both of you run away quietly, else the people here will kill you. At this moment they are discussing whether to put ropes through your noses."

The girl untied the knots and set the bullocks free. But the two remained standing.

"Lets go now; why don't you move?" Moti asked in the silent language.

Heera replied, "But what about this little girl? Everybody will suspect her."

At that instant the girl shouted, "Both the bullocks are running away. O grandpa! Come quickly."

Gaya rushed out in great haste. Both the bullocks started running. Gaya gave chase but the bullocks ran faster. Gaya shouted for assistance and then returned back to get help. The two friends got plenty of opportunity to escape and they kept running straight ahead but did not know where they were going. They could not find any familiar path; they passed through unknown villages. They halted by the edge of a field of peas and contemplated the situation.

"Seems like we have lost our way," Heera said.

"You simply ran away in haste. We should have attacked him and dropped him to the ground."

"What would the world have said had we attacked him? He may have forsaken his religion but why should we forsake ours!"

Both of them were hungry and began grazing warily, lifting their heads from time to time to see whether anyone was approaching.

When they had their fill, the two bullocks experienced the joy of freedom. In their exhilaration they jumped with joy and locked horns good-naturedly. The two began pushing each other and very soon Heera was pushed back quite a few paces and fell. This angered him and he took up Moti's challenge in right earnest. When Moti saw that their play was poised to transform into a real fight, he stepped back.

What is this! A bull, massive as an elephant, was coming towards them. Both the friends eyed the bull with some apprehension. It was foolish to engage in a fight with a bull; they could lose their lives! But, then, there was no other choice also. The bull approached menacingly and it looked fierce.

Moti said in the silent language, "We have landed in a mess. How do we save our lives? Think of some way out."

Heera was troubled by the approaching danger. "He is wallowing in pride and is unlikely to listen to any plea."

"Why don't we flee?"

"That would be cowardice."

"Then you stay back and tackle him. I am running away"

"What if he chases you?"

"Then, think of a way out immediately."

"The only way out is that both of us should attack him simultaneously. I will tackle him from the front, you attack from the rear. The two-pronged attack will render him helpless and it is he who will have to flee. The moment he rushes towards me, you pierce your horns into his abdomen. It is a dangerous strategy but I can think of no other plan."

The two friends, putting their lives at risk, set the plan into motion. The bull had no experience in countering an organised attack - he was more used to wrestling one-to-one with his opponents. The moment he rushed towards Heera, Moti would attack from behind, and when he turned towards Moti, Heera would harass him. The bull wanted to tackle his opponents one by one, but these two were skillful beyond imagination and they did not provide him that opportunity. In utter frustration, the bull attacked Heera; Moti who was awaiting the opportune moment pierced his horns into the bull's abdomen. The bull turned in rage towards Moti and that gave Heera sufficient time to pierce his horns into the other side of the abdomen. The badly injured bull took flight and the two friends chased him for quite some distance. The bull dropped down exhausted and in pain, and it is only then that Heera and Moti gave up chase and left him alone.

The two friends were intoxicated by their victory. Moti said in the silent language, "I wanted to kill the brat."

Heera reproached him, "One must not kill a fallen opponent."

"That is hypocrisy. An opponent should be beaten to such an extent that he should not ever be able to get up again."

"Forget all that and now think of the problem at hand - how do we reach home?"

"First let us eat something; that will stimulate the thought process."

Moti entered the field. Heera repeatedly called Moti back but the latter was in no mood to listen. Moti had only taken a mouthful of peas when two men armed with sticks rushed towards them. Heera, who was on dry land, could have run away but Moti's feet were stuck in the sludge and he was caught. When he saw that his companion was in danger, Heera returned. They were in it together and must remain so till the end. The men caught him too.

Both the friends were kept locked in a cattle pound. It was for the first time in their lives that they were not given even a morsel of food throughout the day. They could not understand what sort of a man their new master was. Gaya was better!

There were a number of buffaloes, several goats, three horses, and two donkeys in the pound. But no one had food before them and all were lying on the ground like sick animals. Some of them were so weak that they could not so much as stand on their own feet! All through the day the two friends kept their eyes on the gate but no one came with food for them. They began licking at the salty sand on the walls but how could that satisfy their hunger?

Night fell but still there was no food. Heera could stand it no further. "I cannot bear this any longer, Moti."

Moti dropped his head and said, "I feel as if life is ebbing out of me."

"Don't lose your courage so soon, brother. We have to think of some way to escape from here."

"Come, let us try to break the wall."

"I will not be able to do it."

"This is your strength you are so proud of!"

"All my pride has left me."

The wall on one side was not very strong and Heera rammed his pointed horns into it. Some part of the masonry crumbled and Heera, enthused by the success, kept jabbing the walls with his horns.

At that instant, the watchman came around with a lantern to check whether all the animals were there. When he saw Heera jabbing at the wall, he took a stick and hit him hard a few times and then tethered him with a strong rope.

"What did you achieve? You only got beaten," Moti said while still lying down.

"I tested my strength, at least."

"What use was it? It only led to you being tied up."

"They may bind all my limbs but I will keep testing my strength."

"You will lose your life."

"I don't care. As it is we have to die. Just imagine how many lives would have been saved had the wall come down. So many brothers are imprisoned here. No one has enough strength in their bodies. If this continues for another few days, all of us will die."

"Yes, that's true. Okay, I will also test my strength on the wall."

Moti also jabbed at the wall with his horns. Some more parts of the masonry crumbled and his confidence grew. Then he attacked the wall with such ferocity as if he was fighting some challenger. After two hours of strenuous efforts, the top of the wall crumbled by an arm's length. He redoubled his efforts and half the wall came crumbling down.

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