Gracy’s Boutique

Gracy chimpanzee lived with her grandmother in the Ashokvan forest. Her parents had passed away when she was small. Gracy studied very hard but couldn’t score high marks. Her classmates, Teddy bear, Horny rhinoceros, Nancy and others, were top performers. They would boast about becoming a doctor, an engineer, a scientist or a professor. Gracy always kept quiet.

After high school, all students moved out of Ashokvan for college. But Gracy did not get admission in any of the colleges, because of her low marks. She was very sad. Her grandmother asked, “Why is my darling so upset?’’

“Granny, some of my friends have left Ashokvan for further studies, while some others are joining their family businesses. I too want to achieve something in my life but I am unable to get admission in any of the colleges because of my low score,’’ said Gracy tearfully.

“Not getting admission in a college is not the end. You can also think of a career for yourself with your skills or talent!’’ explained Granny.

“But I don’t know anything. Nor can I do anything,’’ replied a sad Gracy.

“Gracy, you have a hidden talent within you. Think about it,’’ encouraged Granny.

“What hidden talent do I have, Granny?’’ asked a stunned Gracy.
“Try to remember. You used to score A+ in crafts in your school. You made a mat out of old rags and a painting out of broken bangle pieces. The colourful paper flowers made by you were decorated all over the school building. Have you forgotten that?’’ Granny recounted.

“But you had helped me in making all those things,’’ replied Gracy.

“Of course! But you had designed and crafted them. I am ready to help you even now,” said Granny encouragingly.

“I just like making those things!’’ exclaimed Gracy at Granny’s idea.

Without wasting any time, Gracy chalked out a schedule to start her work. First, she went online to know how to set up her own business.

Then she went on to meet her art and craft teacher, Chimpy baboon. Chimpy liked Gracy a lot. She felt happy when Gracy expressed her desire to learn painting from her. She said, “I am free in the evenings between 4 to 6 p.m. You can come and learn during that period.’’

During the day, Gracy would learn ‘Phulkari’, ‘Chinkankari’, ‘Crotio’ and other types of embroidery originally from different states. In the evenings, she would go to Chimpy to learn painting from her.

In the afternoons, she would browse the internet and learn making flowers out of cloth and paper. Not only did Gracy have talent, but she was highly committed and hardworking. It didn’t take her long to master all these skills. Soon she became an expert in making all types of handicrafts. She started making artificial flowers, art pieces, paintings on old bottles and turned them into vases. She also made wall hangings out of coconut coir and ice cream sticks. Gracy started selling her handicrafts from home.

She also enrolled herself in a statue making class. She was a keen observer too. She would engrave beautiful concepts on her crafts. She introduced new and novel designs every day. The demand for her products grew rapidly so did her business. She started employing a few workers to help her out too.

Gracy’s handicrafts were the talk of the forest. One day, Bhoori monkey, Shilpi wolf and Disco duck met her in the market.

“I like the view of the sea. So I got a sea view painted on my bedsheet by Gracy,’’ said Shilpi.

“And I got a scene of a river flowing through the mountains on my dupatta,’’ said Bhoori.

“There’s no doubt in it. Whether you need to decorate your house or gift something innovative to someone, you get them all at Gracy’s store,’’ added Disco.

Gracy’s business expanded in no time. And Gracy opened a store that was the talk of the forest!

Summer holidays started and Gracy’s classmates were back home from their colleges. They were surprised to hear about Gracy. “This is just miraculous Gracy! We still have to pursue our studies for two more years and then we have to search for a job. But you have achieved a lot in such a short span of time. You are already running a successful business,’’ said everyone praising her.

After a few days, Gracy decided to join the Institute of Design. It was a part-time course.

Granny asked Gracy, “You are running such a successful business. Why do you have to enrol yourself for anything else?’’

“Granny, this way I will fulfil my dream of achieving higher studies. I can also learn new techniques to develop my career. My business will run more successfully,’’ replied Gracy.

Granny felt happy that Gracy had taken such a wise decision of fulfilling her dreams.

Elephant In The Pit

Leo lion, the king of the jungle, was sitting in his palace when Monty monkey came to him and said, “Your Highness! Jojo elephant has fallen into a pit and we are not able to bring him out!”

“Jojo knows the forest at the back of his trunk! How did he fall into a pit?” asked King Leo.

“The hunters had recently dug a new pit and covered it with grass and dry leaves. Jojo didn’t realise and fell in it,” explained Monty.

“Jojo is such a kind elephant, always helping others. We must all go and get him out at once,” roared King Leo and marched out with Monty.

A big banyan tree with its spreading branches stood at the center of the forest. The pit was near the tree and many animals stood surrounding the pit.

Leo saw that Jojo was injured. He shouted, “Jojo! Don’t worry! I’m here! I’ll take you out of this pit immediately.”

Before anyone realised what was happening, Leo jumped inside the pit. “Jojo, move aside. I’ll push you from below and you climb out,” he instructed.

Jojo shifted a little. Leo grabbed him by his waist and pushed him up with all his might, “Out of the pit you go.’’

Leo began huffing but was not able to move Jojo an inch out. He wiped his brow on his sleeve and huffed, “Oh! Jojo, you haven’t moved even a bit! You’re quite heavy. But don’t worry. I’ll try again. When I push, you too try jumping out. I’m sure this time I’ll be able to push you out.”

Minister Brownie bear, was observing this. When Leo pushed Jojo again, he said, “Your Highness! We have all tried. But Jojo is heavy and difficult to be pushed out. We, too, haven’t been able to move him an inch. You should come out of the pit.”

“But we all love Jojo. We can’t leave him when he’s in trouble,” said Leo.

“We have to come up with another plan. You should come out,” said Brownie.

Leo jumped out and looked at the crowd. He said, “Everyone is gathered here. But I can’t see Rancho rhinoceros.”

“Your Highness! He sleeps all day. He probably doesn’t know about Jojo, otherwise, he would’ve been here,” said Monty.

“He is strong enough to bring Jojo out of the pit. Go and call him quickly,” said Leo.

Soon Monty came back with Rancho.

“Your Highness! Do not worry! I’ll go inside the pit and push Jojo out at once,” said Rancho as soon as he came.

Jojo heard him and screamed, “Rancho! Don’t come inside the pit!”

“Don’t worry, my friend! I’ll climb in carefully. I won’t stamp on you!” said Rancho, laughing.

“Wait! Wait! Listen to me first!” screamed Jojo.

“I’ll listen to you only after you’re out of the pit!” said Rancho, walking towards the pit.

“Oh, you silly animal! If you push me out, who will push you out?” said Jojo exasperatedly.

“Oh! I didn’t think of that!” said Rancho and stopped abruptly.

It was a complex problem. All the animals started thinking.

Dubdub donkey was standing among the crowd and observing everything. He said, “Rancho, don’t worry! It’ll be easy to bring you out of the pit.”

“How will that happen?” asked Rancho.

“You go in and push Jojo. Then Jojo will go inside again and push you out!” said Dubdub.

“And then I’ll enter the pit once more and push Jojo out, is it?” said Rancho raising an eye.

“You’re so smart! You understood my plan!” said Dubdub and laughed.

But Rancho cried out in anger, “Do you think we are fools like you that we’ll keep pushing each other out like in a circus?”

Dubdub realised he must have said something foolish so he kept quiet.

Leo put his paw on Rancho’s shoulder and said, “Calm down, Rancho! And think of a way to bring out Jojo.”

Neelu parrot suggested, “Your Highness! If we fill the pit with water, Jojo can swim his way out.”

The animals nodded liking the idea.

“Neelu, your idea is good but the pit can’t be filled with so much water, that a heavy animal like Jojo can swim out of it,” explained Leo.

“So then, we can fill the pit with mud. Jojo can step on the mud and come out,” said Titu rabbit.

“Jojo isn’t light-footed like you. He can’t step on top of loose mud. In fact, he’ll get further stuck in it,” said Leo.

Time passed, but no one could figure out a way to help Jojo.

Sally serpent was sitting there and seeing her Dola deer said, “Your Highness, if Sally lowers her tail inside the pit, Jojo can hold it and climb up.”

“Well, a light animal like you could climb out of the pit with the support of Sally’s tail. But if Jojo pulls it, Sally herself will fall into the pit,” said Leo.

“I didn’t think of that!” said Dola, disappointedly.

Something sparked in Dubdub as he heard Dola’s idea and he raised his hand and said, “I know the way!”

“Keep quiet! We don’t have time for your nonsense!” snapped Rancho.

“Just listen to me! This time I have a great idea!” said Dubdub, excitedly.

Rancho was about to snap at him again, but Leo interrupted him and said, “Rancho! Listen to his idea first!”

Then he looked at Dubdub and said, “Tell us your idea.”

“The world knows that donkeys are very strong when it comes to carrying loads or pulling heavyweights,” said Dubdub.

“That’s right!” nodded Leo.

“Tie Sally’s tail to my waist and let her hang with her face down into the pit.

When Jojo holds on to her, I’ll pull him out of the pit with all my strength.”

Hearing him, Sally screamed, “Hey! What are you saying? Whether Jojo comes out or not, I’m sure to be split into two pieces!”

“I told you Dubdub is always talking nonsense!” said Rancho angrily.

“Don’t be so angry, Rancho,” said Leo, patting his shoulder. “Dubdub’s idea may be nonsensical, but he has shown us the way to rescue Jojo.”

Sally was scared. She started pleading, “Your Highness, please have mercy! If you listen to Dubdub, I’ll end up in two pieces!”

“Don’t worry, Sally! What I mean is that we will follow Dubdub’s plan but instead of you, we will use strong banyan tree branches to pull Jojo up,” said Leo pointing at the hanging branches of the banyan tree.

Rancho was overjoyed hearing this idea. He said, “Wow! That’s a very simple solution! Why didn’t I think of it?”

“He, he, he! We donkeys are doing all the thinking these days!” said Dubdub, baring his teeth.

Leo addressed the crowd and said, “Dubdub’s plan is great! But instead of tying the branches to Dubdub, we will tie them to Rancho’s feet. He’ll easily be able to pull Jojo up.”

“Yes, yes, Your Highness! I’d have pulled Jojo, but your plan is better,”
said Dubdub, nodding his head.

The branches of the banyan tree were cut and tied together like a rope. One end was tied to Rancho’s feet and the other end was lowered into the pit.

Jojo tugged at the rope to test its strength. It was strong enough.

Monty called out to him, “Jojo! Are you ready?”


Monty whistled signalling Rancho to walk ahead. With the support of the rope, Jojo too started coming out of the pit slowly. The other animals kept cheering for them.

Jojo was halfway out of the pit soon but his lower half was still inside the pit. He was quite heavy and could not completely pull himself out, no matter how much Rancho pulled.

Rancho now pulled with extra effort.

Jojo had now managed to come out almost completely when the rope started breaking. The other animals screamed in fear, but before the rope could break, Leo quickly caught hold of Jojo’s hands and pulled him out in one swift move.

“Hail our king, Leo!” cried all the animals together.

“Not me, you should praise Dubdub! It’s his plan that ultimately helped us rescue Jojo,” said Leo, smiling.

Jojo’s eyes had tears. He hugged Dubdub and said, “My dear, Dubdub! Please forgive us! We always make fun of you! But we are glad that you’re our friend.”

“Jojo and Dubdub! Best friends!” said Rancho and the other animals repeated it.

Leo had the pit filled with mud and put guards in the forest so that the hunters would not come this way again.