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And so it was on the day of the wedding, with hundreds of eyes watching in rapt awe and envy, that I, Kovalan, only son of Sir Masattuvan—he of a long line of renowned merchant princes, patrons of the arts, and philanthropists extraordinaire—bent and touched the trembling skin of my bright new wife and embellished her dainty feet with the tinkling anklets, even as her toes curled in virginal modesty. I drew my dagger and twisted, releasing the fine gold thread linking the two ankle bracelets.

‘Let these be a symbol I have chained you with my love and unchained you also, to come and go as you wish. Remove these not for any man, woman, or god.’

‘I will remove these beauties only for you,’ said Kannagi. ‘I thank you, my dear husband, for this great generosity of freedom. My place is beside you and I freely choose your wishes for my chain.’

Over the next days and weeks, all in my household marvelled at the choral music of the rubies singing from my wife’s feet, as I had first imagined, when she moved about the house. And many times Kannagi said,

‘Dear Athan, what a lovely and appropriate gift, these ankle rings. I am not blessed with the talents of music or song, and my parents did not see fit to have me schooled in these arts, but in my stead let these marvels sing for you and keep you blissful.’

Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2018

Song of the Ankle Rings, an adaptation of Silappatikaram

Continued on Friday: Kannagi’s Destiny Foretold