Ashwamedha horse went past many countries. The kings of all those States paid tribute and
became Rama's dependants. The horse was now returning to Ayodhya.
On the way it espied Valmiki's hermitage. Seeing the lush green grass there, the horse
entered the hermitage. It was trampling upon the flowerbeds there and spoiling the garden.
Kusha was not there. Lava happened to be playing there with other boys of the hermitage.
He saw the horse. He went near it and saw the golden plaque on its forehead. When he read
the inscription, he became very angry. He thought, "is Rama, the son of Kausalya,
the' only hero? If I don't humble his pride, what is the use of my being the son of
Sita?" With the towel, which was his upper garment, he tied that horse to a tree. He
would not listen to the other boys who in fear asked him not to do so.
Meanwhile the soldiers accompanying the horse came there. They became angry that the
horse had been tied up. "Who did this?" they asked the boys who were 'there.
Trembling with fear, the boys said, "We didn't do that. It was he," pointing at
Lava. The soldiers turned to Lava and shouted, "Untie it first." But Lava said,
"Why should I untie the horse? I won't. And take care! If any of you tries to untie
it, I'll cut off his hands." One of them, thinking that a young boy's words need only
to be ignored, went to the horse to untie it. Lava promptly fixed an arrow in his bow and
shot it the soldier's hand was cut.
The other soldiers were all very angry at what had happened to one of them. All of them
surrounded the boy. But a swarm of flies does not shake a mountain. Lava stood firms and
brought on a rain of arrows upon them. Many soldiers were injured and fell to the ground.
They were stunned by his courage and heroism.
By then the commander of the army, Shatrughna himself, confronted Lava. He said,
"Look, boy, who are you? And why have you tied the king's horse? Well, don't die of
my hands. Leave the horse and run."
The words did not frighten Lava. He chanted the Mahesha incantation taught by Valmiki
and aimed an arrow. Shatrughna was enraged at the boy's impudence. He also took his bow
into his hands. But Lava shot an arrow that broke his bow. Shatrughna was utterly
surprised at the boy's bravery. He was also angry. He took another bow and shot a terrible
arrow Lava. Lava cut that arrow too. But only one half of the arrow fell down on the
ground and the other sharp half-pierced Lava's chest. The boy fell down with a loud cry.
Shatrughna went near the boy prostrate on the ground. He greatly admired the boldness
of the boy. He looked at him from near. Seeing the boy's handsome features, he felt drawn
to him. He lifted up Lava and lay him down in his chariot. The soldiers freed the horse
tied to the tree. All of them started towards Ayodhya, led by the horse.