Once upon a time, there lived a man by the name of Gowda in a village. Gowda lived with his two daughters. Even though he married his eldest daughter in a pompous ceremony, he did not have the resources to do the same for his second daughter. Irked, the second daughter refused to accept all possible proposals from prospective grooms. Unable to put up with her stubborn attitude, the man killed and buried her in the backyard. He then told his wife, who was at their eldest daughter’s place when the incident happened, about their daughter’s death. The woman mourned her daughter’s demise for a long, long time.

Quite surprisingly, a pomegranate tree started growing from where Gowda had buried her. The pomegranate tree grew tall in no time. Lush green, the tree was adorned with a peculiar flower that was both unique and large. The beautiful petals of the flower unfurled only at night. When the sun came up in the sky, the petals retreated into their bud.

The younger daughter, now known as the Pomegranate Queen, lived inside the pomegranate flower and played beautiful music on her veena at night. While Gowda and his wife could listen to the divine melody every night, they could not tell where it came from.

One day, while traveling across his heavenly abode, Lord Indra’s son happened to listen to the splendid music that moved soothingly up in the air. The enthralling tune sounded more pleasant than the celestial music played by the minstrels and nymphs in heaven. In search of the source of that calming melody, he stumbled upon the bewitching pomegranate flower. He could see a beautiful girl playing veena in the center of the flower. Once she was done playing, the girl stepped out of the flower. Mesmerized by her beauty, Indra’s son proposed to her, and she immediately accepted.

He went back to heaven to seek his parents’ permission. However, when his mother found that her son wished to marry a mortal, she forbade him from tying the knot with her. She wanted him to marry some apsara, or fairy, from heaven. However, her son wanted his mother to at least meet the girl before taking a decision. The mother reluctantly agreed as the two came to the pomegranate tree that stood in Gowda’s backyard. Both of them waited impatiently until darkness set in.

When it was pitch dark, the flower unfurled and they could hear the heavenly music streaming from its petals. A few minutes later, the Pomegranate Queen walked out of the flower. Enthralled by her unparalleled beauty, Indra’s wife gleefully accepted her son’s choice and took the soon-to-be-married couple to their heavenly home, making arrangements for their marriage.

Once the Pomegranate Queen left for her heavenly abode, the pomegranate tree started withering, finally crumbling into dry sticks. The girl’s mother cast a concerned look at the tree. She could not tell what had gone wrong. A few days later, the Pomegranate Queen came along to the backyard. She was accompanied by her husband, Indra’s son. At once, the pomegranate tree stood fresh with thick green leaves as a large flower bloomed in the middle. Surprised to see her second daughter alive, more so inside the flower, Gowda’s wife ran to take a look at her.

The daughter narrated what had become of her when her mother was away at her eldest daughter’s. She also told her how she had lived inside the flower as the Pomegranate Queen and played divine music every night. Finally, she informed her mother about her marriage to Lord Indra’s son and how they were leading a happy life in heaven.

Hearing this, the mother felt both relieved and happy. She showered her blessings on the young couple. Having mourned her daughter’s sudden, inexplicable death for so long, seeing her happily married brought immense happiness and peace to her mother.

โ€ฆnow that youโ€™re here

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Kalai Selvi, Folk Tale writer at Ameya
Kalai

Kalai is passionate about reading and reinterpreting folk tales from all over the country. Write to her at kalai.muse@gmail.com to know more about her.

Folk tale adopted and abridged from University of California Press.