A Toss-Up


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Meaning: A result that is still unclear and can go either way.

Once upon a time there was a young boy Arjun. He was a sharp and courageous boy. Villagers often counted on him when it came to hunting wild animals.

A village was situated amidst the forest, which was inhabited by dangerous wild animals and snakes along with other poisonous insects. Every time people had to take their flock out to graze, they made sure that no one went out alone.

One day it was late at night when all of a sudden quietness of the night was disturbed with the bleating of sheep. Everyone woke up and found that the flock was attacked by a lion. First they thought that it was a coincidence as one of the territorial village gates was left open.

Time passed and soon the attacks became a frequent affair. One day a meeting of villagers was called and everyone was asked to suggest how to save their cattle from the beast. Various suggestions were made and finally all came to the conclusion that patrolling should be done by villagers turn wise for securing the lives of animals as well as people.

Time passed and things got back to normal. People once again started to live without any fear and returned to their daily routine. One day one of the villagers went out in the jungle with his flock early morning and suddenly he was taken by the horror of a dead body all smeared in blood.

He screamed and ran back all the way to his village. Soon people came to the spot in a large group. It was the same man that was part of patrol pervious night. Everyone was taken aback and soon a chill spread over the spines of all present.

All went back home terrified and had no clue what to do. Arjun came forward and told them all not to worry about anything. Considering his past reputation as a hunter he had gained popularity among the people and was always looked upon as a crusader.

He decided to go out with a bunch of villagers to track the lion’s territory. It took them nearly days to get sure about the location and then Arjun used a goat as his bate.

He asked all others to go back to village and leave him alone. Time passed and nothing came from Arjun. Villagers began to worry about him. When one of the villagers saw him walking towards the gate from the tower.

As the gate creaked open Arjun was seen with a lion over his shoulder and as he lifted his foot to enter he fell on the ground and the lion roared. Villagers mouths were dropped open as it was A TOSS UP. Arjun laid all smeared with blood on the floor and the lion was aggressive though injured, seemed like he would kill Arjun. The lion then took a leap to attack one of the villager when he suddenly dropped dead by an arrow shot by Arjun.

©Ritanjali Hastir


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