As a youngster, Yama, the God of death, was too full of himself. He would ride roughshod over everybody and do exactly as he liked. Wherever he went, he created some problem or the other. His mother tried to restrain him but to no avail.
Finally, exasperated at receiving repeated complaints about her son from all the people, she went to her husband Surya and said, ?Your son has become impudent. He simply does not listen to me and does exactly as he likes. You have to do something to restrain him.?
Surya called the maid, Chhaya, and told her to go and fetch him. Chhaya went out in search of him and found him playing with his pet buffalo and pulling its tail. Chhaya called out to Yama, ?Yama, Yama, your father is calling you. Come home immediately.?
Yama continued to play with his buffalo without heeding her call. She drew nearer to him and told him again to return home soon but he turned a deaf ear to her pleas.
Seeing his impertinence, she drew near the buffalo and shooed it away. On seeing this, Yama lost his temper and shouted at her, ?How dare you drive my buffalo away?? He stamped his feet and giving Chhaya one kick on her leg to push her out of his way, he began to walk towards his buffalo.
In a fit of anger, Chhaya called out behind him, ?You dared to kick me? May the same leg with which you kicked me be affected with sores and maggots. That alone will teach you a lesson on how to behave with others.?
Realising that Chhaya had a black tongue, he was about to plead when he felt a searing pain run up his leg. He looked down and found his leg swollen like a large mass of flesh with worms crawling all over it. He gaped aghast and began to howl and cry. Hobbling on one leg, he returned home to his mother.
Surya entered the room and seeing his son'splight said, ?Serve you right. Chhaya had come home and told me the entire story. Will you behave properly in future? I wanted to talk to you for long.? Then feeling sorry for his son, Surya added, ?Since you are my son, all I can say is that as long as I am awake, you will be alright. But, when I disappear from the sky at night, your leg will itch and pain. On second thought, I will give you a cock which will pick at the maggots and clean the wound when I am not there.?
So every night when Surya went to sleep behind the clouds, the cock would clean Yama'ssore by picking at the maggots and worms and when tired, go out and crow loudly, so that Surya would arise and keep the maggots at bay through the heat of his rays. Is it any wonder that the cock crows at the break of dawn every morning so that Surya would not oversleep but shine in all its glory and keep Yama'sleg clean of all sores!