~ 80. Jatayu Fights Ravana ~

Ravana carried Sita away in his flying chariot. "You've vanished without leaving even a footprint!" he laughed. "Rama will never find you."
"But I've found you!" roared Jatayu, the mighty eagle. He dove at Ravana, slashing with his beak and talons. Ravana fought back with his sword.
Sita prayed fervently for Jatayu's victory. As the fight continued, she removed her bangles and jewelry, dropping them to leave a trail.
Finally, Ravana sliced off Jatayu's wings, and Jatayu plunged to the earth.
"May your corpse rot in the forest!" shouted Ravana, and then he turned the flying chariot south to Lanka.

Inspired by: Sita: An Illustrated Retelling of the Ramayana by Devdutt Pattanaik
Notes: This story is on p. 134 of the book. In Valmiki's Ramayana, this is the Aranya Kanda (Book 3), sarga 50. Pattanaik mentions a variant where each of the combatants agrees to reveal the source of his strength: Jatayu says his strength in his wings, but Ravana lies and says his strength is in hie toe, not his navel. Jatayu pecks at Ravana's toe in vain, while Ravana then slices off Jatayu's wings.

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