~ 35. Drona Demands Payment ~

"Who did this?" Drona shouted, pointing to the arrows in the dog's mouth.
Ekalavya stepped forward. "I did!"
Drona recognized the forest-boy. "Who trained you?"
"You did," Ekalavya replied, proudly showing Drona the statue he had made, certain Drona would now accept him as his student.
But instead, Drona said, "Since I was your guru, you must now pay the guru-fee."
"Anything!" exclaimed Ekalavya.
"Give me the thumb of your right hand," said Drona.
Ekalavya did not hesitate; he cut off his thumb and presented it to Drona.
Drona smiled; the boy would never again rival Arjuna as an archer.

Inspired by: Jaya: An Illustrated Retelling of the Mahabharataby Devdutt Pattanaik.
Notes: This story is on p. 65.

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