~ 77. Maricha Becomes a Golden Deer ~

Reluctantly, Maricha obeyed Ravana's command: he transformed himself into a golden deer. He then went to find Rama in the forest.
Sita was delighted when she saw the golden deer near their hut. "Catch it for me, Rama!" she said. "It can be my pet."
"Golden deer don't exist," said Lakshmana. "This is some kind of trick. Do not go, Rama!"
"Please, Rama!' Sita insisted.
"You stay here and keep Sita safe," Rama ordered Lakshmana. "I'm going to catch that deer."
Rama ran off after the deer.
And then... Sita and Lakshmana heard Rama shouting in the distance. "Help me!"

Inspired by: Sita: An Illustrated Retelling of the Ramayana by Devdutt Pattanaik
Notes: This story is on p. 129 of the book. In Valmiki's Ramayana, this is the Aranya Kanda (Book 3), sarga 31. Lakshmana is right to be suspicious; the golden deer is the rakshasa Maricha in disguise, obeying Ravana's orders. Pattanaik notes that in some versions, the deer has two heads, making it seem more supernatural. In the Bhil Ramayana, Sita is upset that the deer has trampled the grass around their hut, and this makes Rama angry, so he decides to chase the deer. 

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