Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Episode 16: The Home-Coming

In this feature, we outline the chapters of The Legend of Ponnivala as we've laid them out in the animated and print series. The sub-story descriptions are those that occur in each episode, and are drawn from our Teacher's Handbook.

The King and Queen of Ponnivala are reunited with their “lost” sons Ponnar and Shankar. The brothers join their little sister and the reunited family return from exile to their Ponnivala palace. There they clean and rebuild their long-abandoned family home. The boys learn horsemanship and dicing, while the sister dreams in her lovely swing. All three grow up to age fifteen.

A Goddess Visits The Couples’ Humble Home

The goddess takes the boys on her shoulders and sets out on foot to search for their parents. After several inquiries and some wandering she finally hears that the boys’ family is living in a hunter king's horse stall. She leaves the twins at the local temple in the hunters’ main village and cautions them to stay put while she goes on an unspecified errand. Soon her shadow crosses the doorstep of the couple’s living space. They rush out to find this most unexpected visitor.

The Queen Asks For Proof of Her Sons’ Legitimacy

At first the queen does not believe that she could have two sons. But the goddess asks her and her husband to come to the nearby temple to see for themselves. Both the king and the queen are overjoyed at the beauty of the two young boys they find waiting there. But the queen refuses to believe the goddess’ assurance that these children belong to her. She calls upon Vishnu to verify the matter. He proves the goddess’ word by staging a magical demonstration. He makes milk from the queen's breasts pass through seven cloth veils to reach her sons’ mouths and then spill into her sons’ mouths. The couple are overjoyed and realize that it is now time for them to return to their old palace and reclaim their ancestral lands.

The Royal Couple Return From Exile With Three Children Instead of One

The couple return to Ponnivala with all three children and reclaim their ancestral lands. Their palace is cleaned and redecorated. Soon the two boys meet their key guardian for the first time. He is the magical son of a poor family living nearby. They also meet the offspring of many important animals in the kingdom (horses, goats, etc.) that they will interact with again later.

The Couple Arrange Their Sons’ Weddings

All three children grow up happily, but the king and queen now begin to worry about their own deaths and want to arrange their sons’ weddings. The two boys resist, but finally agree to their mother’s wishes. However, they set out one key condition: they will never touch their wives or look at their faces. (Of course this implies there will be no offspring from these promised formal unions). The queen is horrified but has to agree to this wish in order to strike a bargain with her two sons.

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