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Friday, 23 September 2016
Village vignettees - Annasamy Anna and Kavya
Annasamy Anna, wise and wonderful, illiterate and landless and poor. Comes home in the evenings to share a cup of tea, and tell stories. millions and millions of stories. Kavya hanging over the doorway listens ... and thus is wisdom passed down the generations.
Annasamy Anna told the story of the goatherd who took the goats grazeing into the forest. An aged goat which had so far delivered sixty kids got left behind in the forest, and when dusk fell, it climbed sat on a rock - as goats have always been in the habit of doing. At midnight a lion came by, and seeing the goat it came running eagerly thanking God for the meal he had sent. Though the goat was quaking in fear, it called out loudly, ‘Oh lion, why have you come ?’ The lion said that it had come to eat it, and the goat laughed out aloud. It said, ‘I have already eaten 99 lions like you, and was waiting for one more. I am so glad to see you.’. The lion, on hearing this, turned around and fled in fear. A jackal saw it running and called out to ask why. When the lion explained, the fox said, ‘Oh lion uncle, you are stronger and wiser than me, and yet you flee this way. Come with me, and you can make a good meal of the goat and I will have the leftovers.’ When the lion demurred, the jackal tied the lion’s waist to its neck with a creeper. The two proceeded towards the goat, the jackal sometimes having to drag the lion when it sat down in fear. The goat saw the two approaching, and though feeling it was at death’s door, called out aloud, “ Oh jackal uncle, we both have eaten from one leaf, slept on one bed, and have known each other for long. You had promised me a good meal whenever I came, and now you are bringing me a good lion. Thank you.’ The lion turned and ran, and the jackal dragged behind it by its neck, died along the way. The next morning when the goatherd came, the goat saw him and laughed aloud. When the goatherd asked him the reason, the goat told him the whole story. The goatherd took it home, applied turmeric and kumkum on its forehead, offered coconut and camphor to it, and from that day on kept it at home offering it the choicest greens. He never allowed it to suffer in the sun and rain walking long distances to the forest to graze. Annasamy anna said that an animal that was so intelligent was after all like a god. When it died of old age it was buried with due respects, with all the accompaniments of drums and naadaswarams. Annasamy anna said that in the olden days people were so wise and hardworking, that they probably even understood the language of animals and spoke to tham.