Kapila was a Kshatriya, or warrior caste, guy who had lost his parents at a young age. As a boy, he looked after a large cattle herd that belonged to a rich man. The rich man had a son by the name of Kasia. Being the same age, Kapila and Kasia spent a lot of time together and became good friends.

Kasia would accompany Kapila to the fields to graze the cattle. One day, it got extremely hot and windy, and Kapila began to feel very tired. He wanted to take a nap under a tree. Kapila asked Kasia to keep an eye on the cattle until he woke up.

Kapila slept soundly under the cool shade of a tree. A few minutes later, a cobra from the nearby woods happened to spot the tree. Seeking refuge from the scorching sun rays, it spread its hood over Kapila’s head and feel asleep. When Kasia came back to wake Kapila up, he saw the snake. He started trembling with fear. However, the well-meaning snake left the place quietly when it sensed Kasia’s fear.

Kasia ran over to Kapila and told him how the cobra had its hood spread over his head while he was asleep. As the snake hadn’t harmed Kapila, Kasia thought his friend had had a lucky escape. Even the old villagers felt Kapila had been fortunate, prophesying he would become a king someday. The image of a snake protecting a person from the sun meant royal life for Kapila. Kasia asked Kapila if he would forget his friend upon becoming the king. At this, Kasia promised to make Kasia his minister.

A few days later, Kapila left his village for Puri. He took refuge near a temple and began serving the pilgrims who visited the temple. One day, Bhanudeva, the King of Odisha, visited the temple. Impressed with Kapila’s majestic looks, he inquired about this mysterious young man. Kapila replied that he was looking for work in that city. Pleased with him, the King made Kapila his personal assistant.

With hard work, intelligence and good manners, Kapila impressed the King and his courtiers. It was only a matter of time before the childless King adopted Kapila. After receiving the best possible education in scriptures and warfare training, the King appointed Kapila as the captain of the army. He won several battles for the kingdom and soon became a household name.

On his deathbed, the King called his minister and asked him to arrange for Kapila’s coronation. Kapila, the young boy who had started his life as a cowherd, became the King and went on to be known as King Kapilendra Deva.

Kasia heard this great news and decided to pay Kapila a visit in Puri to check if he would make good on his promise. After getting to Puri, Kasia couldn’t get inside Kapila’s palace to see him in person. When his repeated pleas failed to convince the gatekeeper to let him in, he devised a plan. He climbed over the palace wall and let himself be arrested by the guards.

The following morning, the palace guards produced him before Kapila. However, King Kapila refused to recognize Kasia and demanded that the latter explain his bravado at once.

Kasia retold the incident where the cobra had its hood spread over Kapila to shelter him from the sun. He also told the King that he had to sneak in like a thief because the guards just wouldn’t let him in. Hearing this, Kapila realized who Kasia really was. He welcomed his old friend and made him a minister in his court.

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Kalai Selvi, Folk Tale writer at Ameya

Kalai is passionate about reading and reinterpreting folk tales from all over the country. Write to her at kalai.muse@gmail.com to know more about her.

Folk tale adopted and abridged from Internet Archive.