The wax palace
This is a story from the Mahabharata, which is a famous Indian poem.
Long, long ago, a great king ruled over the kingdom of Hastinapur. He had two sons. The elder son, Dhritrashtra, was blind. So when the king died, his son, Pandu, became the king.
Dhritrashtra had one hundred sons known as the Kauravas. Pandu had five sons known as the Pandavas. The Pandavas were good and strong. Everybody in the kingdom loved them. The Kauravas were very jealous of them.
Duryodhana was the oldest of the Kauravas. He was very cunning. He knew that after Pandu’s death, his eldest son Yudhishtra would be made king. So he decided to get rid of all the Pandavas. He thought of a plan.
He got a beautiful palace constructed for the Pandavas in Varnavat, a small town for away. But this palace was made of wax and could easily burn down. One day Duryodhana asked the Pandavas to go to Varnavat to attend a festival. The Pandavas willingly agreed to go and stay in the new palace.
The Pandavas reached Varnavat with their mother Kunti. After some days, they got a message from Vidura, a wise man in Hastinapur. Vidura warned them of Duryodhana’s plot. The messenger was a miner. So Yudhishtra requested him to dig a tunnel from the wax palace to the forest. After some days the tunnel was ready and the Pandavas were also ready for the fire.
From some of their friends, the Pandavas came to know about the appointed day when their enemies would set the wax palace on fire. They were also quite clever. So they made their own plot.
On the appointed day, which was the festival day for Varnavat, Kunti arranged a great feast. The Pandavas invited the palace guards and the town people to this feast. The guards ate so much that they soon fell asleep.
At midnight, Bhima, the second Pandavas, set the palace on fire. All the Pandavas and Kunti hurried into the tunnel as son as the palace began to burn. Soon, the whole building was in flames.
Next day, Duryodhana received the news that the palace at Varnavat had been burnt down. He believed that his plan had successfully worked and all the Pandavas were dead. He was very happy. But the Pandavas were alive. They had escaped to safety.