The Ponkhiraj Horse Visits My House

For a long time, I had to stay at home by myself. At that time, I wasn’t able to see my friends, or go to school, or even leave the house. It was a lonely time, and I felt a little sad. One morning, I woke up and I went to the bathroom to wash myself. After I came out of the bathroom, I looked out of the window and there, to my surprise, I saw a purple-coloured Ponkhiraj* horse. She had a beautiful pink and black mane and a long pink and black tail. I was so amazed* to see the beautiful shiny wings of the Ponkhiraj horse. At first I thought that it was a dream, so I pinched myself. But no, I was wide awake and the Ponkhiraj horse was still there. I realized that it was not a dream and I could not stop looking at it. I quickly put on some clothes and went outside into the garden to take a closer look.
 

Statue of the Ponkhiraj horse in Sopnopuri, Dinajpur. Photo provided by Ruh Afza Bobby

“What’s your name?”, I asked the Ponkhiraj horse.

“My name is Kankabati.” she replied.

“My name is Alina.” I said. “I’m so happy to meet you! I haven’t had a visitor for... ages!”

I took Kankabati into the house and into my bedroom.

“I wonder if she is hungry?” I thought to myself.

“Wait here,” I said, “I want to get you something to eat.”

Kankabati looked very happy when I said that.

I went to the kitchen to get Kankabati some food. I wanted to give her some salty pithas* that I had made the day before. She tasted the pithas.

“Mmmm, they taste so good,” she  said.

 

Ghurer Shondesh Pitha

Golap Pitha

Patishapta Pitha

Photos provided by Kanita Ridwana

I asked her if she would like to be friends with me.

“Yes! Of course!” she said happily.

“Now, I have something for you.” she said, and she asked me if she could use her magical* wings to make my dress shiny.

“Sure.”  I said.

Kankabati used her magic wings, and waved them over my dress. Lo and behold*, my dress changed. Suddenly, it was beautiful and shiny! I was so surprised.

“Thank you so much!” I said.

“Do you want to water the plants in the garden with me?” I asked. 

“Let’s go!” she said. So off we went back into the garden. We watered every plant, bush and tree. Then I cooked some lunch for Kankabati and myself, and after lunch we took a nap.

After our nap, we woke up and had some light snacks*, and then we played games and read story books. It was such a fun afternoon. In the evening, we had dinner and then we took some selfies*. We both wanted to remember our special day. 

 

Drawing by Antares Adriana Khan Topaz

After doing all of that we went to sleep. That night, I had the best dreams. Together, in my dreams, Kankabati the Ponkhiraj horse and I flew high above the clouds. I thought to myself, having a good friend is important, even if your friend is a magical, pink and purple Ponkhiraj

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Bengali Words

Ponkhiraj: A kind of flying Pegasus horse, famous in Bangladeshi stories. 

Pitha: A kind of Bangladeshi pancake

 

Glossary

Amazed =  very surprised

Magical = something that has a special quality or power. Not found in everyday life.

Lo and behold” = an expression used to show wonder or surprise.

Selfies = photos taken of oneself. One of the people in the photo takes the photo.

Snacks = a small amount of food eaten between meals (e.g. biscuits, potato crisps, a cake, or a piece of fruit)

 

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Learning Activities

Vocabulary

  1. Words from the second 1000 high frequency General Service Word List (GSL). These words are very common in everyday English, so you should learn all of them.

afternoon dinner lonely quickly taste
awake fun lunch sad thank
bush hungry pinched sentence wash
clothes imagination pink suddenly wings
cooked kitchen purple tail woke

 

  1. Off list words. These words are not so common in everyday English, so learn them after you know all the words in list one above.

bathroom                mane                   nap 

Comprehension Questions

  1. Remembering: Why was Alina so happy to meet the Ponkhiraj horse?

  2. Remembering: What happened first? What happened after that? (Put the events in the correct order.)

    1. Alina saw the Ponkhiraj horse

    2. Alina washed herself

    3. Alina put on some clothes

    4. Alina went to the kitchen

    5. Alina had beautiful dreams

    6. Alina asked the Ponkhiraj horse to be her friend

  3. Understanding: Why did the writer ‘pinch herself?’ 

  4. Understanding: Why did the Ponkhiraj horse ask if she could make the writer’s dress become shiny? 

 

Critical Thinking Questions (Explain your answers in English)

  1. Analysing: How is a Ponkhiraj horse different from a real friend? How is she the same? 

  2. Applying: If visitors come to your house, how do you make them feel welcome and ‘at home’? When you have to spend a long time on your own, what do you do to keep yourself busy and happy? 

  3. Evaluating: The Ponkhiraj horse is not a real horse. She lives only in the imagination of the writer. Do you think it is a good idea to have an imaginary friend? Why/Why not? 

  4. Creating: If you could be friends with any kind of imaginary magical creature, what would it look like? What special powers would it have? Draw a picture of your imaginary magical friend. Think of some words or sentences to describe your new friend in your picture. Make a border around your picture. Write the words down in the border around your drawing. Tell your classmates about your picture in English. Use the words and sentences that you wrote as you speak, but try not to read them straight from the paper.