Hake Puranaya (the epic of the conch shell)
Posted by King Dutugemunu on February 10, 1998 at 08:47:16:

(Sorry guys, you have to be a Ceylonese to enjoy this joke)

So, the King Dutugemunu decided to teach a lesson to King Elara becuase he behaved too badly.

When King Dutugemunu starts off to make war, he always accompany his 10 great fighters or
the so called 'Dasa Maha Yodhayo'. Pussadeva is the one who always lead the battalion with the
famous conch shell in hand. It is said that when he blows that conch shell the sound of it can
be heard from a distance of 8 miles('Siv yodunak').

This particular day, Pussadeva could not find his conch shell (or 'Haka' in Sinhalese) when summoned
by the King Dutugemunu. Unable to find a 'Haka' fitting to a Yodaya, he had to borrow the next biggest
'haka' from the temple. This 'haka' popularly known as 'pansal haka' too is as big as 'Pussadeva haka'.

The army is marching towards Vijithapura with Pussadeva leading with his 'pansal haka' in hand. They
were marching on a 'palama' (bridge) over the river Malwatu-Oya. At that very instant a strong wind
blowed and Pussadeva lost his balance and the 'haka' fell down from the 'palama'. Pussadeva, seeing
this was weeping like a child 'Oh! my 'palam haka' how can I get back my 'palam haka'. The 'haka'
fallen to the river, did not sink due to some mysterious phenomina but was floating down the river.
Everybody was surprized to see this wondeful happeninng and they all shouted in unision, "See,
there the 'haka pa-venava.'

This 'pa-vunu haka' went down the river floating all the way. The King told the others 'haka pahalata
wetuna' (the haka fallen down), it is bad luck. We'll go back to the Kingdom. So evrybody went back
to Anuradhapura.

Meanwhile, down the river a middle aged lady and her daughetr-in-law were collecting 'pan'(leaves of
bulrush plant) coming floating down the river, and also 'puvak' (areca nuts). The older lady was collecting
'puvak' and the younger one 'pan'.

They were knee deep in the water when they saw a big white thing coming floating towards them.
The old lady saw it first, but it was the younger lady who first grabbed it. To their amazement, it was
indeed a very big 'haka'. The young lady loved it so much she put it on her collection of 'puvak' and
said to the mother-in-law, 'this is my puvak haka'. But the old lady is furious because it was she who
saw it first and grabbed the 'haka' from 'puvak' bundle and kept it with her 'pan' bundle. She even
christened it again, 'no dear, this is my pan haka 'cause I am the one who saw it first and so is the
rightful owner'. The two ladies are now fighting for the preciuos 'haka'
"Give me my puvak haka you old women"
"No, you young fat ass, this is my pan haka"

They were very noisy fighting for the 'haka' the neighbours tried to settle the dispute of 'pan haka'
versus 'puvak haka' all in vain. Finally, they had to report the matter to the King Dutugemunu. But
even king himself was unable to come to a decision as to whom the 'haka' really belongs. So, he
sent messengers and summoned Pussadeva again and told him to bring this matter into conclusion.
After all it is his 'haka' that started all these fiasco.

Pussadeva thought for a moment, sent for a mortar and a pestle(wanayak saha mo-lak). He put the
'haka' in the 'wanaya' and grounded it with his 'mo-la'. Once well grounded, he took the grounded
'haka' and gave a palmful (or a 'patha') of haka' to each lady. That is 'haken patha patha' to each
lady. They were so satisfied they went 'haka puro-gena' to their houses.

Here ends the 'hake- puranaya' or the epic of 'haka' compiled for the serene joy and emotions of
the pious.

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