This story, by Irattakkulangara Rama Warrier who is believed to have lived in the first half of the 18th century, is from Aranyaparva of Mahabharata. This takes place in Kamyaka forest where the Pandavas were living after they were cheated of their kingdom by the Kauravas in a game of dice.
Kiratham is a very popular play, known for its earthy Malayalam verses and its appeal to the connoisseur as well as the layman. It is also devotional and is frequently staged in Siva temples. It is generally the last story to be performed in a full-night programme.
On the advise of Ved Vyasa, Arjuna sets out to do penance with the aim of acquiring divine weapons from Lord Siva. He reaches the plains of river Ganga and begins his penance after receiving blessings from his father Indra, who appears disguised as an aged ascetic, at Indalika.
Lord Siva, on hearing about Arjuna's penance, disguises as a hunter, his consort Parvathi appears as a huntress, accompanied by bhoothaganas, reach the place where Arjuna is doing his tapasya. At that time Duryodhana's emissary Mookasura, who has taken the form of a wild boar, attacks Arjuna and is killed by an arrow from the hunter, while another arrow from Arjuna's bow also strikes the boar. An argument erupts between the hunter and Arjuna about the ownership of the trophy hunt. In the full-fledged battle that ensued the hunter picks up Arjuna and flings him away. Arjuna was then dumbfounded to see the flowers he had offered to the Sivalinga on the hunter's head. Arjuna prostrates before Siva who hands over the divine arrow called Pasupata to him and disappears.
Translated by: Achuthan TK