Cilappatikaram, is an epic Tamil poem dating back to about the fifth century CE (or AD if you are of the old school!). It is a tragic tale, like a lot of epic poems. The central character is the ever loving Kannagi who was the owner of two jewelled anklets. Although her husband, Kovalan was wealthy to begin with, he threw away all his riches in an adulterous affair which ended badly. He returned penniless to the patient Kannagi who offered her anklets to sell in order to raise money.

Whilst at the marketplace, Kovalan was framed by Pandya, the Queen's jeweler, who had stolen the royal pearled anklet. Kovalan was arrested and killed on the King's order without a fair hearing. Grief-stricken, Kannagi confronts the King and shows him her other anklet which was gem encrusted, not pearled as proof of her husband's innocence. The royal couple were stricken dead. Kannagi then put a curse on the city, whereupon a fire soon destroyed it. Kannagi eventually ascends to heaven with her love, Kovalan.

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