Book Excerpt: How Kannaki and Kovalan of' 'Silappadikaram' met and fell in love

The Prince
Book Excerpt 

Kannaki, when she had run out of questions, told him her story. She was born of the Maravar, and– ‘The Maravar?’ Uthiyan stopped in his tracks. She nodded. And then a little shyly, added, ‘We’re not all like what you think.’

Dimly, Uthiyan recalled that the Maravar were robbers who shunned dharma and lived in the forests near Madurai. They were the bane of merchants who used the land routes between Puhar and Madurai, whose caravans and convoys were constantly raided. The Maravar, when found, had died, impaled by the kings of Madurai and Puhar, and these kings had long sought to find the secret home of the Maravar – but with no success.

Uthiyan, surprised, now understood why Kannaki had been so loath for him to take her back home, for they kept the location of their village secret, to avoid capture. ‘But why are you heading to Madurai?’ . . .