A charioteer had found baby Karna in the river and adopted him, but Karna's life was cursed.
First, practicing archery, Karna accidentally killed a brahmin's cow. "You will die like my cow," swore the brahmin, "struck down by an inescapable arrow."
Another time, Karna saw a girl crying because she had spilled a pot of milk. Feeling sorry for her, Karna squeezed the milk back out of the earth. This caused the earth great pain, and the earth goddess, Bhudevi, cursed Karna. "When you are in danger," she said, "I will not help you; instead, I will help your opponent."