Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Ponnar and Shankar Part XII: The Beast is Conquered

  •  A war against King Komban, the huge wild boar, has now been declared. The decision has been taken and the great hunt for this beast is about to begin. The many strong and loyal men living in the hamlets of Ponnivala are ready with their fighting sticks.

  • The twin rulers’ assistant Shambuga has pitched the brothers’ war tent. It has been set up deep in the forest a long way from Ponnivala’s own lands.

  • The two warrior rulers, Ponnar and Shankar, arrive at their tent on horseback and are greeted by their men, including their key assistant, Shambuga. They are shown the hunting camp and the tent where they will stay.

  • Soon both brothers feel tired and they enter the tent and go to the very back to rest.  

  • But unseen by anyone, a curse now floats in from the forest and settles over the warriors’ humble resting place. It makes both men feel sick.

  • Shankar, the younger twin, is especially effected. He starts to sweat and feel dizzy.

  • He has to lie down. He feels really unwell and knows that he has lost all of his fighting strength.  

  • Shambuga, who acts as the two kings’ First Minister, has to take over. The brothers ask him to go a try to find the boar. Shambuga takes all of the village men with him. Together they creep up on the cave where King Komban is sleeping.

  • But Komban is very smart. He senses that the hunters are watching him. With a roar he wakes up, come out into the open and chases the entire hunting party! The men are afraid. They do not know the forest like Komban does! Soon the great beast has them cornered!

  • The result is horrific! Komban tramples on all of Ponnivala’s loyal field workers. He makes mango juice of them and all these fine men die! Only Shambuga survives. He has to return to his masters’ tent alone. There he explains the sad fate of all their fine supporters. What will the widows back in Ponnivala do now when none of their husbands return from this ill-fated hunt?

  • Ponnar and Shankar are distressed. They feel that Komban is a manifestation of the King of Death himself. What should they do now? They feel dishonored. Is it time to end their own lives? Just then they hear a song coming from the forest. Someone is walking there and singing the same of Lord Vishnu!

  • The two brothers send a messenger to greet this lone traveler. They invite him into their tent. He looks like a holy man and a fortune teller. They do not realize that this is a form of Lord Vishnu himself!

  • The holy man is carrying a palm leaf manuscript. Shankar describes his terrible plight and asks the odd visitor to tell his fortune. He chooses a page using a special tread the man hands him. The soothsayer then reads from this page. Shankar is totally shocked by what he hears! His sister Tangal’s tiny female dog laid this curse on him and his brother because he did not invite her to join them on their great hunting expedition. She is insulted and feels she should have been invited, along with all the male dogs belonging to the village fieldworkers. They got to go on the hunt but she was considered to be too small. To remedy the situation Shankar will have to apologize to this little pet and ask her to lift her curse!

  • Shankar sends his assistant Shambuga to talk to Tangal and explain the situation. He promises her that Shankar will apologize and asks her to find her little pet, named Ponnachi.

  • Tangal finds Ponnachi hiding in a little cave under some rocks, much like Komban, who is known to hide in a much larger cave. Tangal begs Ponnachi to lift her curse and then go to the hunting campsite with Shambuga to receive her apology. She agrees and she goes to the local temple to Celatta. With the help of this goddess the curse is lifted.

  • Then Ponnachi and Shambuga together find their way to the hunting camp. Shankar has now regained his full strength and he meets Ponnachi with some anger. The little dog apologizes for her actions.

  • Shankar then apologizes for his error in not inviting her to join the hunt earlier. Ponnachi is pleased. She now asks how she can help in the effort to find King Komban. Somehow this greatly reduced hunting party must now manage to conquer that beast on their own. Ponnachi has an idea. She asks the three men to climb up on a nearby rock with their great hunting spear. They are to wait there for further instructions.

  • Meanwhile Ponnachi sets out on her own to find Komban’s hiding place.

  • She succeeds in locating Komban but he immediately tries to intimidate her. He asks Ponnachi why she has come to see him and threatens to crush her with just one footstep.

  • When Komban continues to bully her she jumps on his head and chews off both Komban’s ears! Ponnachi herself has been earless from birth. Now she has made Komban look just like her! Komban is furious and starts to run.  

  • Ponnachi runs after him in hot pursuit and jumps onto his tail. She has poison in her teeth and that poison starts to weaken the great beast. She also uses his tail as a kind of steering wheel. She causes Komban to head straight for that high rock where Ponnar, Shankar and Shambuga are waiting. The poison causes Komban to stumble. He is very weak after losing both ears. Now he is suffering a further assault by such a tiny dog, a female at that! Ponnachi knows how to jump off Komban at just the right moment. Landing with a small jolt, she calls out to the two brothers: “Throw your great spear now!”

  • Shankar has the family spear ready. He thinks of Lord Vishnu and then throws it at Komban with all the force he can muster.

  • The throw is true. The spear travels straight for Komban’s heart. He rears up in one final cry: “Viratangal, Viratangal… save me!” Viratangal is the young and beautiful princess who lives in the forest and is the daughter of the powerful hunter king who lives there.

  • Viratangal lives in a lovely forest palace. Komban has been Viratangal’s pet for years. She has fed him and raised him lovingly. His assault on the beautiful fields of Ponnivala was Komban’s way of taking revenge on the two farmer kings. After all, they stole her family’s iron and also her family’s lovely female parrot!

  • Viratangal now hears the horrific cry that Komban makes as the great hunting spear penetrates his heart. “Oh, poor Komban!” Tangal cries. “You have died a terrible death at the hands of those farmers! I must do something to revenge this violent deed!”

  • Viratangal calls together all of her forest brothers. These men are experienced forest huntsmen. Their spears are sharp and they know how to throw their weapons true and straight! The brothers promise Viratangal that they will attack the two farmers. Now the real war, the great confrontation between a group of powerful forest tribesmen and a bunch of intrusive immigrant farmers who claim rights to the lands known as Ponnivala, begins in earnest.

[<==Back to Part 11]

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