This is the story of a goddess called Parvati and her elephant-headed son, Ganesha. Parvati was alone in the house and feeling sad. Her husband, the mighty god Shiva, was away from home. For a long time she had been hoping to have another child but no baby ever came. To cure her loneliness, she used mud and dirt on the ground to build a statue of a boy. She was so happy with her work that she made him come alive. Now she finally had the child she had longed for.

Because her hands and clothes were all dirty from the work she had been doing, she went into the house to have a bath. As her husband was away, she told her young son to guard the door and not let anyone in. The boy stood guard at the door.

A few minutes later, a figure appeared in front of the door: huge and powerful with blue skin and a terrifying expression on his face. This was Parvati’s husband, the god Shiva. He had returned home early. The little boy did not know who this person was. He told Shiva that he could not come in. Shiva was furious, yelling ‘How dare you tell me I can’t enter my own house?! Who are you? Where is my wife? Get out of the way!’

He drew his sword and cut off the boy’s head in one swipe. Parvati came running. When she saw what Shiva had done, her hands covered her eyes in horror.

‘Look what you’ve done to our son!’ she cried. She told Shiva how she had created the boy from mud.

Shiva realised his mistake. He ran to the forest to find something to replace the boy’s head. A minute later he came back with the head of an elephant. He placed this onto the boy’s body and brought him back to life.

Task Questions

  • What do you think this story tells us?
  • What are the unexplained things in this story? Can you use your imagination to add more reasons for what the characters do?


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