Thursday, May 31, 2012

Episode 9: The Counter Curse

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 Queen of Ponnivala still has no children. She is worried and wants to find comfort by visiting two wealthy brothers. Her husband is opposed because ill-will exists between the two families. The determined wife goes anyway. Alas, she is ordered beaten by a guard at her brothers’ palace gate. Angered, the Queen lays a curse on their entire family.

A Barren "Witch" is Spotted

The queen orders the jewelers to come and prepare necklaces for her nieces and nephews. She also has lovely boxes made to carry these and her other lovely gifts. Then, early one morning, she awakens her husband to tell him that she is leaving for her brother’s place. Once more the king again tells her not to go but she is determined. She bravely sets out with a group of servants. After much hardship en route the weary travelers arrive. At that moment the two sisters-in-law of the queen spot the strangers. Asking who they are and why they have come, these ladies discover that their husbands' sister has arrived. Remembering that this woman had been forbidden ever to return to their place they rush back to the palace to warn their husbands. Fearing her evil spells (because she is barren) together they make a plan to hide all the children under some large baskets.

The Sister is Refused Entry to her Natal Home

The palace guard has been instructed to refuse entry to the visiting sister. Instead the gate is locked and she is severely beaten when she knocks on the door. The crying woman calls on Lord Vishnu and asks for a magic fireball. Vishnu asks permission for this from Lord Shiva and when the great god consents, the angry woman receives her fire ball and with it she burns the palace.

The Sister Curses Her Brothers and Kills Their Children

The angry sister kills all fourteen children inside the palace by throwing some magical handfuls of earth in their direction. Finally she erects two stones near the palace and inscribes a curse on them that is to lie on her brother’s family. She also goes to the temple of the fierce goddess Kali. Kali feels sorry for the badly beaten lady and thinks about what she can do to help.

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