When Sita heard Rama's voice shouting for help, she said, "Go to him now, Lakshmana! He needs your help!"
"No!" replied Lakshmana. "He ordered me to stay here."
"Do you want him to die?" asked Sita accusingly.
Lakshmana was shocked by Sita's words, but he finally relented.
"I will go find out what's happened, but you must stay inside this line," he said to Sita, and he drew a line of protection around the hut. "No matter what happens, do not cross this line until I come back with Rama."
Sita nodded in agreement, and Lakshmana ran into the forest.
Inspired by: Sita: An Illustrated Retelling of the Ramayana by Devdutt Pattanaik
Notes: This story is on p. 130 of the book. In Valmiki's Ramayana, this is the Aranya Kanda (Book 3), sarga 45. The famous "line (rekha) of Lakshmana" does not appear in Valmiki's version, but it still a popular idiom in India today; it is even the name of an insect repellant: Laxman Rekhaa Insecticide. Pattanaik notes that it first appears in the Telugu and Bengali versions of the Ramayana. In the Reddy's Telugu Ramayana, Lakshmana draws seven lines which burst into flames when Ravana tries to cross them.