Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Episode 23: The Enemy Confronted

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.

A wild boar goes on a rampage and tears up the beautiful rice fields of Ponnivala. It then challenges the ruling brothers to war. They take the bait and prepare for battle. A huge war drum is readied and offerings are given to keep the local demons at bay. The rulers’ sister expresses doubts but the two men are determined to proceed with their hunt.

A Huge Wild Boar Destroys The Farmer’s Fine Crops

Now the end game begins. A great wild boar, pet of the hunters' little sister, is destined to attack the heroes and their fertile lands. He sets out and on three successive nights he systematically destroys the heroes' rice fields, sugarcane crop and finally, the palace flower garden. A gardener picking flowers for morning offerings at the local goddess’ temple is the first to see all this terrible destruction. He is distraught, but still he hopes to collect the few flowers that remain visible. The great boar, which has now disguised himself as a large black rock, feels the gardener’s weight on his back as he climbs on it to pick an especially pretty little bloom.

The Wild Forest Boar Sends A Challenge To the Farmer Kings

The great boar now jumps up. He begins to intimidate the gardener and bully him. Finally the gardener is asked to roll in the mud so that his body is caked with dirt. Then he is told by the boar to turn his back so that the huge creature can write a message on it with his right tusk. The text is to be taken by the gardener to the palace of the two farmer kings. As the memo is scripted the message gradually becomes clear. It reads (as voiced by the boar) "Come challenge me in the forest within three days or die." It is signed with the well-known name of this challenger: “King Komban.” When the heroes receive this message they quickly prepare for war.

The Sister Foresees Disaster But Fears To Speak Out

The two brothers read the message and decide that they must go to war against the great boar right away. But the sister first wants her brothers to undergo a magical "test." She will throw mustard seeds in the air in front of the family temple. They are to split every one of them in half before these little grains can fall to the ground. After this amazing feat the sister inspects the cloth the seeds have fallen on. One seed is left unsplit split after the test. This is a sign that disaster looms, but by now the two brothers are fully committed to their war against the boar. The sister is unhappy. That one unsplit seed is a sign that their mission will fail. But she can not bring herself to tell them this terrible news.

The Heroes’ Ritual Preparations For War Are Completed

The great war drum is now raised from its storage place at the bottom of the irrigation tank. It is re-covered with fresh leather and a huge feast is offered to the demons of the underworld. Soon the drum is beaten and a deep "toom toom" sound can be heard throughout the kingdom.

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