Parashurama was somewhat tired. He rested with his head in Karna's lap. He fell asleep.
At that time a bee flew in from somewhere. Flying hither and thither it settled on
Karna's thigh. Within a few minutes it began to bore Karna's thigh. Karna could not
attempt to drive it away. Even a slight movement of his thigh would disturb his master. So
inspire of the increasing pain Karna sat still. He thought that his suffering did not
matter if the teacher's sleep was not to be disturbed. The bee continued to bore Karna's
thigh. Blood began to ooze from the thigh. The blood touched Parashurama's cheek. He woke
up. He was taken aback and said:
"What is this, child? Where did so much blood come from?"
Karna explained what had happened.
Asked Parashurama: "Did you put up with so much pain without a murmur?"
"The pain did not seem unbear able to me."
Parashurama was surprised. He looked at Karna from head to foot. He had all along
assumed that Karna was a Brahmin boy. But a soft-bodied Brahmin could not have endured so
much pain. Karna was not a Brahmin. Parashurama suspected strongly that Karna was a
Kshatriyas. Angrily he spoke to Karna in a harsh voice:
"You, Karna I"
"Tell me the truth, who are you? Have you not hidden something from me?"
"What have I hidden, I do not "Are you a Brahmin boy? Tell me, tell me the
Karna did not reply. He stood silent, with his head bowed. He had assumed that he was
really the son of Adhiratha whobrought him up, Adhiratha was a charioteer. He Karna,
was a charioteer's son; neither a Brahmin nor a Kshatriyas. What answer could he give to
his teacher? He was Miserable and filled with fear. Karna's silence convinced Parashurama
that his suspicion was confirmed. Karna's modesty, courage, reverences for the teacher and
love of learning- he forgot all in his wrath. "You, boy! Have you not deceived your
teacher and received training? I have taught you the use of mighty weapons; but when you
most need this knowledge may you forget it all!" So Parashurama cruelly cursed Karna.
Karna felt as if the ground on which he stood gave way. He had hurt his teacher's
feelings. Besides he had acquired the curse by which he would forget all he had learnt,
when he needed it next, he left Parashurama's hermitage.