Short Story - Summer Madness
One morning when the sage Jamadagni stepped out of his ashram he found that the sun was unusually hot. Soon the sweat began to pour down his body and his throat became parched. He found it hard to concentrate on his work.
“Go away,” he shouted at the sun, staring up angrily at the shining orb. “You’ll burn the earth!”
But the sun stayed where he was and indeed seemed to become even bigger. Enraged, the sage rushed into his ashram and coming out with his weapons began to shoot arrows into the sky.
The arrows fell far short of their mark.
The sage shouted to his wife Renuka to bring some more arrows. When she had brought them, he began shooting again. With each shot the arrows rose higher and higher till finally even the sun began to feel vulnerable. He made himself still hotter, hoping the heat would drive Jamadagni back into his house. Jamadagni stood his ground but his wife began to wilt. Finally, she fell down unconscious.
Jamadagni carried his wife indoors, revived her with water and then rushing out again resumed his battle with the sun, with a renewed fury.
Now the sun decided to go down to reason with him. He took the form of a Brahmin and sauntered up to the sage.
“Shooting at the sky?” he asked.
“I’m shooting at the sun!” growled Jamadagni.
“Too far away for your arrows, don’t you think?”
“Right now, may be. But at midday, he’ll be directly overhead and then he’ll be within range. I’ll get him then!”
The sun shuddered.
“Please put down your bow,” he said, “I am the sun. Heat the earth I must, but I’ll give you something that will protect you from my heat.”
Jamadagni cooled down — and remained cool the rest of the summer because what the sun gave him was a pair of sandals and a very large umbrella, which, they say, was the world’s first portable sunshade.