The Pundit was an eloquent speaker. Whenever he gave a discourse, hundreds of people gathered to listen to him. The milkmaid too made it a point to stand behind the audience. Not that she understood much, but she was sure that the Pundit was speaking about God and Truth and similar tough and complex matters. “How much knowledge the man must be possessing to hold so many people spellbound for hours. Only one who is very near to God and Truth can command such wisdom!” she thought. She was happy that she made a humble contribution towards the Pundit’s physical well being by regularly supplying him with pure milk.
      “Even if the landlord fails to pay me for the milk and my labour I will not fail in my duty! ” she resolved.
     One day, while receiving the milk, the Pundit told Moti. “Woman! Can you bring the milk at the least an hour before the sunrise for only a month? I am under a vow for performing a certain ritual for which I need the milk that early.”
      “I will do as you say O Master!” the milkmaid assured him enthusiastically.
     But the next day, by the time she reached the Pundit’s house, it was already daybreak.
The Pundit was a great speaker - he was fluent and expressive. He had hundreds of people to listen to him whenever he was in discussion or conversation. Moti also wanted to listen to his speech. So she stood behind the other listeners. She did not understand much of his learned talk, but she believed he preached about God, Truth and other such complicated topics. She thought it could not be done without a high level of knowledge. She was astonished that he had so much proficiency that he could hold the attention of so many people, for such a long time. She thought the only person who could do such things was the person who was close to God; she felt others could not attain that much wisdom.
She was happy that she could do something towards the physical health of the Pundit by supplying his milk regularly.
She thought she must serve him even if he did not pay for the milk and her labour. She decided firmly that she will not miss her duty at any circumstances.
One day, the Pundit asked Moti if she could bring milk before sunrise, for the next one month. He added that he had undertaken a ceremony, a promise to God - for which he needed the milk very early in the morning.
The Pundit had undertaken a vow ceremony!
Moti agreed eagerly and told him that she would do as he said. But Moti was not able to fulfil what she had accepted - she came to the Pundit's house after the sunrise only.
Meanings of difficult words:
eloquentfluent and expressive in speaking or writing
discoursewritten or spoken communication, or a discussion
spellboundhold the complete attention of (someone) as though by magic
resolvedfirmly determined to do something
vowa serious, ceremonial promise to do something
enthusiasticallywith eagerness and interest
daybreakthe time in the morning when the sun rises; dawn
State Council of Educational Research and Training (2019). Term-2 English Standard-8. Crossing the River - Manoj Das (pp. 131-137). Published by the Tamil Nadu Textbook and Educational Services Corporation.