Athiyaman, a hardened warrior, fearsome to his enemies and magnanimous to those he favoured. Kumanan, a king so benevolent that he was even willing to sacrifice his own life for another. The poet Pisiraandaiyar, who stood by his royal friend Kopperuncholan even in the worst of times. And Avvaiyar, a venerable woman poet, respected by rulers and subjects alike. This colourful and powerful cast of characters comes together in The Prince Who Became a Monk and Other Stories from Tamil Literature.
Selected and translated by Sahitya Akademi award-winner M.L. Thangappa, the stories in this volume were originally poems written by famed Tamil poets belonging to a time when kings and poets equalled each other in authority and respect, and when valour and talent were considered the greatest virtues. These tales celebrate family, friendships and bonds that survive the tests of distance and time, bringing to the fore historical figures who depict faith, humility and kindness.
Through delicately woven imagery and subtly imparted wisdom, this collection of more than 35 stories brings alive an era of glory, and the poets who immortalized it in their words.