The Pandavas and their mother, Kunti, wandered about the country in disguise. After some time they reached a city called Ekachakra. There they stayed in a brahmin's house. Brahmin and his wife treated them with kindness.
Kunti discovered that the brahmin and his wife were in deep sorrow. She wanted to find out what the trouble was, and she asked the brahmin's wife about it.
"There is nothing we can tell you," was the answer.
"But" Kunti said, "I see that great grief is eating your heart. Tell me what is the matter."
The woman said, "We have our own sorrow. It is not proper to tell our guests about it."
"Please tell me what it is so that I may share your sorrow with you," said Kunti.
"No, you are our honored guest. We must not make you feel unhappy," the brahmin's wife replied.
"If you will not tell me what it is, we shall go away from here and stay somewhere else," Kunti answered.
Brahmin's wife sat silent for a time. Then with tears in her eyes she began to tell the story of their grief "Beyond the mountains, some miles giant lives in a big cave. His name is Baka, or Bakasura, as people call him. He used to come down to the villages and take away men, women, and cattle and eat them up.
"Our King tried to fight the giant with a big army. But Bakasura was very strong. He defeated the King and his army. The King fled to save his life, so the people had to face the giant. We then decided to make peace with him. Bakasura agreed not to come down from the mountain if we sent him every day a cart-load of cooked food. Bakasura eats the food, the bullocks, and the human being as well. We have kept our promised.
"Every day one persons is chosen by lot and sent with the cart-load of food. It is our bad luck that our turn has now come. Tomorrow our family has to send a man with Bakasura's food. We are a small family; my husband, our only son, and myself. We do not know who should go. Each one of us would like to go for the sake of the other two." As she ended her story the Brahmin's wife burst into tears.
Kunti tried to comfort her. She said, "you have only one son, but I have five. I shall send one of my sons instead of one of you."
"Oh, no, no," cried the poor woman. " You are our guests and we shall never allow own son and bear the sorrow."
Kunti only smiled in reply. She called all her sons to her and told them of the danger facing the brahmin's family. " I think you, Bhima, can take the food to the giant tomorrow morning," she said.
" I?" said Bhima. "You don't like me, mother ; so you send me to be killed by the giant!"
The Brahmin woman protested. She said she would not allow any of Kunti's children to be killed. Bhima laughed and told her that he was only joking.
"As a matter of fact," he said, "I want to go and see this giant myself. You know I am a strong man. I shall meet the giant and I shall come back again."
It took a long time for Kunti to make the Brahmin and his wife believe that Bhima would defeat the giant if he were allowed to go. At last they agreed.
Early the next morning Bhima set out, riding in a cart filled with food and driven by two fat bullocks. It was a long way to the mountain, but Bhima was on in hurry. When he reached the mountain, the giant was shouting. He was very angry because the food was late.
Bhima stopped some distance away from the giant. He unyoked the bullocks and then quietly unpacked the bundles of food. He sat down and began to eat what he had brought for the giant.
The giant roared in anger. Bhima told him that he was only making the giant's work easier. The giant could eat him with all the food inside.
Bakasura now became even angrier. He took a huge rock and ran towards Bhima pulled up a tree to use as a club. When the giant came near, Bhima hit him with the tree.
A big battle began. Bhima fought with the giant giving blow for blow. At last he killed the giant. The giant lay like a huge hill.
Bhima returned to the city in the evening and all the people gathered to thank him for saving their lives from Bakasura.