A Horse and Two Goats

by R. K. Narayan
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After he smokes bhang in "A Horse and Two Goats," what thoughts pass through Muni's mind?

After he smokes bhang, thoughts of forgiveness pass through Muni's mind. Feeling light and elated, he is inclined to forgive his brother-in-law, despite the fact that he'd once tried to set fire to his home.

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A famous butcher from the town comes over on market days to bring Muni betel leaves, tobacco, and sometimes some bhang, which is partly composed of cannabis leaves.

Muni and the butcher retreat to the safe confines of a hut in the coconut grove, where, undisturbed by wives or well-wishers, they smoke some bhang. A powerful drug, bhang can have a mind-altering effect on those who use it. It certainly does on Muni. After taking one little puff, he's suddenly transported into another world. In that world, a world far from his care-worn earthly existence, he feels light and elated and ready to forgive anyone, even the brother-in-law who once tried to set fire to his home.

Before long, though, Muni is deposited back into the real world, where his situation remains as desperate as it was before he smoked bhang with the butcher. As with all drugs, bhang can only shut out the real world and all its problems for a relatively short length of time.

And so, once he's come down from his high, Muni must once again face up to the sad fact that he has nothing left in the world but a couple of scraggy, scrawny little goats, a marker of just how impoverished he is.

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