Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Episode 1: In the Beginning

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 goddess Parvati creates nine farmer-brothers. A Chola King gives them land in Ponnivala. Lord Vishnu helps them establish a social contract with people already resident in the area. Then Lord Shiva curses the eldest farmer, due to the accidental death of some cows. The survival of this family hangs in the balance.

The Woman Who Had a Grand Vision

The great goddess Parvati creates 9 brothers who then work hard to bring a lovely and very fertile area under the plough.

The Cloud With a Silver Lining

Lord Vishnu creates a contest. The skilled farmers win and the previous residents (artists and crafts people) lose. Instead of controlling land they must now rely on their well-known creative abilities as “makers of things.” They become carpenters, stone masons, ironsmiths, goldsmiths and the like.

Hard Work Wins Rewards

(or the refugee who found success in a new land)

Drought forces the lead farmer to leave his lands and migrate to find work in a land where there have been good rains. He is successful and the king is pleased. He is rewarded by the king with a land grant where he can homestead and start again.

Think Twice Before You Act

(or do your homework!)

The king’s own lands are brought to ruin by a great drought. He lets loose his cows in hopes they will wander and find food elsewhere. They have tags on their necks and so their story can be understood. But the lead farmer is horrified to find “wild animals” eating his sugarcane. Without proper research he orders a fence built that has sharp spikes. The sacred cows die trying to jump over this fence to appease their hunger. They die and go to heaven where they complain to the great Lord Shiva. Shiva is angered by their story and curses the lead farmer’s family to seven generations of barrenness.

The Gift of a Child

The wife of a large landowner is barren because her husband has been cursed by the gods for his careless actions. The wife learns of this problem and pleads with Lord Shiva for help. Finally this great Lord promises to help her overcome her barrenness.

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