Clever Cheeku

Champakvan was going through a massive heatwave. The sun beat down upon the earth, making it terribly hot. It felt as if the animals were living in a furnace. As a result, all the animals spent most of the day indoors and only ventured out in the evenings. The evenings were no cool dip in the pond either. The ground was still as hot as before, but the shade under the trees made life a little better.

Over the years, the summers were getting worse. This year was the hottest, and every evening, all the animals would plan for the next day.

Meeku, the mouse stepped out to stock up supplies for the next day. As he was walking around, looking for some food, he saw that his friend Cheeku, the rabbit was digging a hole.

Meeku found this to be very strange. While the rest of the forest was looking for supplies to last them the next day, Cheeku seemed to be wasting his time digging. After some debate, Meeku decided to go over to Cheeku and find out what he was doing.

Saving Rainwater

“What are you doing, Cheeku?” asked Meeku.

“Digging a hole of course,” said Cheeku.

“I can see that, but what are you digging?”

“A lake,” said Cheeku, continuing to dig.

“You’re joking right?” asked Meeku. “The entire forest is reeling under the heat of the summer and instead of gathering supplies for tomorrow, you’re digging a hole? Why are you doing such a silly thing?” Meeku burst into laughter.

“It is not silly. I’m very serious about digging a lake,” said Cheeku. Meeku stopped laughing

“What’s the matter, Cheeku? What’s wrong with our lake?” asked Meeku.

“Our lake is fine for now, but do you realise that every year, just after the summer, we face a severe water shortage? I’m digging this lake so that there will be enough water for all of us,” said Cheeku.

“I don’t understand one thing though,” said Meeku. “How do you intend to fill this lake up?” “With rainwater of course. Every year when it rains, we let so much water go to waste. In fact, my plan is to dig a pit near my house and send all the water from the drains of my terrace to this pit,” said Cheeku.

“What for?” asked Meeku.

“This will raise the water table and recharge the groundwater instead of letting all the rainwater flow away back to the ocean. Imagine if we saved all that water, we’d never have to worry about going thirsty ever again,” said Cheeku.

“Hmm, you make a good point. But do you really think you’ll be able to finish digging before the rains start?” asked Meeku.

More from Champak: Where Are The Rains?

“No, I don’t think so, but if you work hard now, you can reap the rewards later,” said Cheeku.

Meeku was deeply moved by Cheeku’s actions. After gathering all his supplies for the next day, Meeku came to Cheeku and said, “I would like to help you with your cause. You seem to be doing something great and I want to be a part of it.”

Cheeku was very happy to see that Meeku was also interested and together they began to dig.

Blacky, the bear and Jumpy, the monkey, who were passing by, stopped when they saw Cheeku and Meeku hard at work. “What are you guys doing?” they asked.

When Meeku and Cheeku explained, Blacky and Jumpy wanted to help too. Each grabbed a pickaxe and helped loosen the soil for Meeku and Cheeku to dig. Jumbo, the elephant joined in as well and started digging. Soon, the word spread across the forest and animals joined in from far and wide. Even the King of the jungle, Shersingh, the lion was there.

Seeing all the animals working together, Shersingh said, “Looks like next year we’ll have enough water to last us more than a year. All the rainwater will no longer go to waste.”

However, Jumpy had something to say, “Cheeku has started a good thing, but this is only to save water. What will we do about the heat that rises every day? We won’t be able to escape this heat just by digging.” All animals started thinking the same.

Teetu, the butterfly chimed in, “We can plant more and more trees, and this will bring down the heat. We should get started now.”

Cheeku then said excitedly, “Yes! This is a good idea. Before today, all we did was talk about bringing change, but from now on we will dig for water and also plant trees sincerely. This will help reduce the heat.”

After listening to him, all the animals became excited as they had got the solutions to all their problems. All of them started working enthusiastically towards these solutions.

Chinku becomes Colourful

Chinku Jackal ran a laundry in Champakvan. He enjoyed washing and ironing clothes so much that he often gave his customers big discounts. This made him very popular with all the animals who lived in Champakvan.

But there was something about Chinku Jackal that everyone disapproved of. Well, Chinku Jackal could be very naughty. He enjoyed playing pranks on everyone around him. He never stopped to think if his pranks were causing anyone trouble.

When spring came and Holi was around the corner, all the animals in the forest began preparing for the festival. While some of them busied themselves with cooking Holi delicacies, some others went to buy Holi colours from the nearby towns.

When the festival came even closer, Chinku Jackal, who was working in his laundry, decided that it was time for him to play another prank.

“I must play a prank on everyone this Holi,” he thought. “I will have plenty of fun!”

And so, Chinku Jackal went to the nearest town and bought packets of red, yellow, green, pink and all the other colours that he could find. He then mixed them all in a tub of water and made a solution that was a bright pink in colour.

Chinku Jackal then took all the clothes he had in his laundry and soaked them in the tub. After a while, he pulled the clothes out and grinned. They all had had big pink stains all over them. He then put them out to dry.

Chinku Jackal giggled, when he left his laundry to deliver the clothes the next morning.

“Don’t feel bad!” Chinku Jackal said along the way as he practiced the explanation he would give his customers. “It’s Holi after all!”

He soon reached Minky Cat’s house. She was one of his oldest customers.

“Good Morning, Minky Aunty!” Chinku Jackal said cheerfully.

“Good Morning, Chinku!” Minky Cat replied in an equally cheerful tone. “Have you brought my clothes?”

“Of course, I have!” Chinku Jackal said and chuckled.

Minky Cat shrieked the moment she saw her clothes. “What has happened to my clothes?” she wailed. “Why have they turned pink?”

“Don’t feel bad, Minky Aunty!” Chinku Jackal said with a giggle. “It’s Holi after all!”


Minky Cat grew furious. “Is this another prank of yours, Chinku?” she shouted. “Have you deliberately soaked my clothes in pink colour?”

“I have,” Chinku Jackal admitted and laughed. “But since it is Holi tomorrow, you shouldn’t be angry with me!”

Chinku Jackal then went to deliver the rest of the clothes. He giggled when he saw Chubby Mouse, Daboo Lion and the others panic the moment they saw their clothes. And when they scolded him, he simply shouted, “Come on! It is Holi after all!”

In the evening, all the animals gathered together and grumbled about Chinku Jackal’s prank. “Chinku Jackal’s pranks are becoming more and more troublesome,” they all complained. “We must teach him a lesson and put an end to his mischief.”

Later that day, Chubby Mouse went to Chinku Jackal’s laundry.

“It is Holi tomorrow, Chinku,” Chubby Mouse said. “All the animals have decided to celebrate together. We are meeting at 8 o’clock in the playground tomorrow morning. Why don’t you join us? It will be fun.”

Chinku Jackal was delighted. “I will surely join you all!” he said. “Thanks for inviting me!”

The next morning, Chinku Jackal walked to the playground. He was looking forward to playing with his friends. But when he reached the playground, he found that there was no one there. Am I too early?” Chinku Jackal wondered. “There’s no one else here.”

He looked around and saw some colourful balloons hanging on the branches of the trees. There was a table full of plates of sweets like ladoos and jalebis nearby. There were some water pistols kept on the table too. And a huge tub filled with coloured water was right beside the table.

“Ah!” Chinku Jackal thought. “The animals are having a grand celebration! I’m glad that they invited me! I’m going to have plenty of fun here!”

Chinku Jackal then stretched his arm out and tried to pull one of the balloons down.


The balloon burst and splashed some bright red coloured water right on to his face!

“Eek!” Chinku Jackal shouted as he wiped his face. “Eww!” he screamed as he spat some of the water that had gone into his mouth.

He ran to the table and popped some of the ladoos and jalebis into his mouth, hoping to change the awful taste. But to his surprise, the sweets weren’t one bit sweet! They were bitter! And full of a dark green colour!

“Ugh!” Chinku Jackal shouted. “What horrible sweets! They have turned my mouth bitter and green!”


He turned to go home but just before he could leave the playground, Chubby Mouse, Minky Cat, Daboo Lion and all the other animals whose clothes he had stained, jumped out from behind the trees. They picked Chinku Jackal up and dunked him in the tub of coloured water.

“Oh no!” Chinku Jackal screamed, realising that he was now completely drenched. He was about to burst out crying when he heard all the animals singing, “Don’t feel bad, Chinku! It’s Holi after all! It’s Holi after all!”

Minky Cat went closer to Chinku Jackal’s ear and whispered, “How did you like our prank, Chinku? Was it as good as yours?”

Chinku Jackal realised what Minky Cat wanted to say. He hung his head low. “I’ve been playing pranks on you all for a long time,” he said. “That’s why you have played one on me today.”

“Holi is a festival that is celebrated with love and harmony, Chinku,” Minky Cat said. “It’s not meant for playing pranks or annoying anyone.”

“She’s right, Chinku,” Daboo Lion added. “Holi is a festival for everyone to have fun but not at the expense of others. Come on! Let’s celebrate with the right spirit!”

All the animals then helped Chinku Jackal climb out of the tub. They played with him and brought him some ladoos and jalebis that were really sweet to eat.

Chinku Jackal had the best Holi ever. He spent the rest of the day washing all the clothes he had stained. And he made up his mind not to play pranks on anyone again.