Wk5 Storytelling: The Jackal &The Princess

Author’s Note: I sincerely hope that I’m not the only one appalled by the treatment of Draupadi, from the brothers. I doubt I’m the only one, but you never know! That moment within the story *spoilers* I found deeply unnerving, but I saw strength come through Draupadi, and I could not help but capitalize on that strength. That’s when the idea stuck in my head that I had to write a story about Draupadi. Giving her a more central role in not only the dice game, but another VERY IMPORTANT moment (spoilers). The idea of giving Draupadi a central role seemed like the only possibility. In a lot of ways I saw her as a feminist character, a no-holds-barred individual, that not only says, but does as she pleases. To further capitalize on her bravery and strength I gave her an ability, not only to protect herself, but to inflict justice unto others. In the end, I did not wish Draupadi to come off cruel and indifferent because I don’t believe she is that way in the story. So, I made sure to show a more human, compassionate individual unlike the brothers. That is why I am coming up with the prayer piece. As far as Duryodhana was concerned, he was the epitome of evil in the book. I just did not see much redemption of his character so I kept him the bad guy. I did not find it necessary to change the character because the character is so good at being bad.

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Draupadi'

Draupadi’s Moment of Power, Source: Chandrika

He is a jackal among the gamblers. There were rumors of his unfairness, cruelty and manipulation. He was not a trustworthy character and the most disturbing aspect of his personality was his exceptional crudeness and vulgarity when it came to anyone that made him even a teeny bit jealous.

She was a princess of Indraprastha, known for her exceptional beauty, kindness towards others, and her insurmountable bravery when faced with crushing odds. She strived to do what was right, while still holding on to her virtue and her love of her godlike husbands.

Duryodhana the jackal and Draupadi the princess had this long-standing hatred towards one another. The cruelty which Duryodhana inflicted on innocent people made it Draupadi’s mission to destroy him. The bravery of a ‘simple’ woman made it Duryodhana’s mission in life to be to break Draupadi and show her what her true place in society was.

“Draupadi, you must not go! The king is not trustworthy and will surely do anything to compromise the virtue and self-respect you hold so dear!” Arjuna spoke with worried uncertainty.

One of her five husbands, Arjuna was worried for his beloved wife. There are not many people who came back whole after gambling with the Jackal and even more didn’t come back at all. What is even more disturbing is the fact the Jackal requested the princess of Indraprastha for company instead of the powerful brothers.

“It is but a trap my lovely wife you must not cave into your pride. You will not come back to us whole and Indraprastha needs you to be, because you are the foundation of this place.”

“Do not worry yourself, Arjuna. I do not go to the Jackal’s castle to not win. I simply go to rid us of our greatest foe. To destroy the very person that threatens not only our way of life in Indraprastha, but many other places. If he is gone, we can finally live in peace.” Wrapping the sari tightly around her, she said a prayer to the countless Gods, about not only protecting herself during this time, but for her home in which her beloveds awaited her return.

“Please be safe, Draupadi, and come back to us. We could not bear to lose you.” Arjuna’s voice reeked of fear.

“I will not give false promises, Arjuna, but I will win this.”

With that she left Indraprastha for Hastinapura, the home of the Jackal and his many brothers. Upon entering the great hall, she was once again taken aback by the beauty and grandeur of the kingdom and especially the castle.

“Ah, at last, you finally made the long, perilous journey to rid your land of me…. Oh, how I tremble at the sight of a woman like yourself.”A wide benevolent grin crossed his face as he pushed himself off his throne. His brothers and father looked on with smirks of superiority.

“You smell that brothers, it is the stench of a woman. Coming into our midst to prove us wrong. To destroy us.” Spinning around he laughed alongside his brothers and father.Having turned back towards Draupadi he spoke once again.

 “Kunthi’s sons must be more afraid of us than we thought. Destroying them and taking everything they hold dear should be an easy task.” Stepping forward, he brushed the back of his hand across Draupadi’s cheek.

As Draupadi turned her head away in disgust, the fury and bravery that made her strong bubbled to the surface. “I will never be the wife of you or your disgusting brood of brothers, you Jackal! You are not worthy of a vessel of Vishnu and your destruction is inevitable!”

Growling in a low voice, he looked at the woman that defied the laws in disgust and in need of her virtue. “Sit… let this dice game begin. That way we rid you of what makes you an ungodly woman.”

“Your version of the ungodly is loosely based on your corrupted morals, but I will sit just to show you that I may be a woman, but I’m more powerful than you think.” With a smirk on her lips, she showed her brazen side that made her a pillar of strength for her people.

They both sat down on the ornate floor on large square cushions embroidered with the finest silks and satins. They each took their turn throwing the dice. With every dice throw the Jackal laughed with pleasure at the havoc he would cause, once she was out of the picture. With every win Draupadi stayed calm and collected unaware and unfazed by the loss of her own self and the purity that made her loved by her husbands. With every harsh remark, belittling remarks on behalf of Duryodhana and his brothers, she stayed poised and exuded elegance.

After the final roll of the dice, Duryodhana leaned back, smiling because he won the game. At last, he was able to show this vile creature that she was nothing, but a blip of annoyance.

“Now stand. You now belong to me and my brothers… we shall have you for eternity and you must do as we say. Now disrobe those holy saris you wear. You’re not worthy of them. Now that your purity will be compromised forever.”

Her head held high and fire in her eyes, she was angry beyond belief.  “You and your brothers aren’t men your demons. I would rather be poked with a thousand needles before I succumb to your disgusting wishes.”

Now having angered him, Duryodhana got up putting his hand out to his brothers to stop them from hurting or forcing Draupadi-simply because he wanted complete control of the woman who stood before him.

“Do as I say now!” he yelled and glared menacingly.

“Never.” she replied, staring him down stubbornly.

“I will make you!!” as he said this he began to tug at her sari, unaware his hands had been smoking. Finally, ripping a piece of clothing off her, his hands both caught fire.

Realizing his life was now in peril he looked down at his hands in shock.

“What is this?! What have you done!” Gradually his whole body began to go up in flames.

One by one each brother attempted to take the sari off of Draupadi. Each person was set afire, which resulted in multiple piles of ashes around the princess.

“Your vulgarity was to be your death, but I won’t sacrifice your soul. I will pray for you all.”

With that Draupadi lowered her head and said a silent prayer for the lives lost, a prayer for the redemption of their souls. Little did she know she needed to say a prayer for herself to save her own.

 Bibliography: “The Mahabharata” by R.K. Narayan. TM-Narayan

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11 thoughts on “Wk5 Storytelling: The Jackal &The Princess

  1. Hi Jessica,

    Let me just start off by saying that I agree with you about how the Pandavas treated Draupadi. I have based a lot of my stories on emphasizing characters that I felt like did not receive much attention. I have never thought about Draupadi’s charcter! You make a great point! I may even write one of my future stories about Draupadi as well! The prayer piece was very unique. I loved it! I think it was a good idea that Duryodhana should keep his evil character. The image that you used was amazing! It really gave Draupadi a more strong and dramatic tone to her character. All thos men around her looking at her really make her the pin point of the image which draws the readers attention towards her. My favorite scene from your story was when Draupadi set Duryodhana’s hands on fire when he tried to force her to do what he said.

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  2. Oooh, I love the change-ups between the original story and yours! I was wondering where it was going with the first role reversal. It was neat to switch from the wife warning the husband against something to the husband warning the wife. Your story reminds me a lot of the novel I’m reading for this class right now, “The Palace of Illusions.” You’d probably enjoy it, too — Draupadi is the main character and portrayed as very strong-willed and independent, but also with flaws that cause her to make decisions she’ll come to regret.

    Like Whitney, I was noticing grammar errors as I read. A lot had to do with sentence divisions, where there were fragments or run-ons. I think one thing that could help is reading aloud and seeing how the punctuation affects your reading speed. Fragments are probably going to get read as choppy, while run-ons take too much breath to complete the thought.

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  3. First, I loved how you set up your story! Normally, people tend to put the author’s note at the end but I loved how you decided to put it at the beginning. I also really enjoyed how you set up the characters. The descriptions you used helped me picture the characters on a deeper level! I also really enjoyed how you formatted your story. The shorter paragraphs made it a lot easier for me to read and stay engaged in the story. The part of the story were the two main characters were playing dice had me on the edge of my seat! What if you made this part even more descriptive by giving a play by play of the intense game? The end was very strong and entertaining! I love how the woman ended up winning. I also really enjoyed how you left the story on a cliffhanger! Overall, this was a wonderful story. Great work!

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  4. You are an amazing storyteller Jessica! I also was not the biggest fan of how the brothers treated Draupadi. I loved how you changed the story to make her the focus and heroine of the story! I liked how you put your author’s note in the beginning of the story to make sure your readers know exactly what your thought process behind this story was before they began to read it. You described Draupadi as such a strong individual. I would love to be more like her in the face of danger or really just in general. Your depiction of Duryodhana is dead on. You really turned him into a bad guy I loved to hate. Your blog is also amazing! I really love this website. It looks really professional. One note I would like to make is that it is “gods” not “Gods”. Overall, you did amazing this week! I would love to read some of your works later on!

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  5. Hello Jessica. I liked the idea of Draupadi having powers. It was very original and still fit into the narrative without seeming too preposterous. Having the princess handle Duryodhana on her own instead of the Pandavas was an interesting choice. But it definitely allowed the reader to appreciate more of the complexity that makes up Draupadi’s character.
    There were a few spelling and grammar issues as the other bloggers may have mentioned. I have similar issues myself. The professor says that reading the story aloud can help with these problems in case you haven’t tried that already.
    The dialogue flowed pretty well and you used spacing with the lines which was much appreciated. Sometimes it can be tempting to just allow the quotes to be part of a paragraph but that can actually harm the tone of the story greatly. I wonder if you will be writing more stories using the concept of adding powers to the character’s profile.

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  6. Well written Jessica! Love your take on Draupadi. I too was annoyed with the bullying she received from the brothers! I think you did well on using the characteristic of strength as the key behind Draupadi. I like how you did give her the power of fire as weapon of choice because it made the story that much exciting! Can’t wait to see what you write about next!

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  7. That was a great story Jessica! I really enjoyed your spin on the original story, especially how you chose the main focus to be Draupadi, in comparison to her first husband, Yudhishthira. I too hated Duryodhana. In fact, one of my storytelling ideas was to finish him off in this same spot in the story (but not the exact same way).
    There were a handful of grammatical errors, but nothing that I wasn’t able to understand. Wonderful job!

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    1. Yeah, I’m pretty awful at grammar. That was one of the reasons that I put novel writing out of my mind for a while. I c any ever seem to get a grasp on it, but I don’t give up easy and I know someday I will write something worthy of being published. Even if it is just poetry. By the way thank you so much! Great minds think alike! 🙂

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