A Summer Plan

Manav returned home tired after a long day at the playground.

His mother, Mrs. Gopal, was busy cleaning the house.

“Can I help you clean, mother?” asked Manav.

This request surprised his mother as Manav did not like to clean. He even refused to tidy up his own room! 

Mother was puzzled, but she gave in, “Alright,” she said.

“I will begin with the study,” said Manav, eager to get going. 

After a three-hour marathon, the house sparkled and gleamed.

Pleased with his effort, mother offered to make Manav his favourite drink―strawberry milkshake.

“No thank you!” said Manav, as he ran out of the house. “I am not hungry mother. Maybe tomorrow!”

Surprised, mother watched the little boy disappear into the distance.

When he returned later that afternoon, Manav looked tired and dirty. 

Curious, mother asked him, “Manav, where have you been playing at?”  

Manav smiled the widest grin. “Tomorrow,” he said, “I will tell you everything mother!”

The next morning, Manav was up by 6 o’clock. He packed a few sandwiches for himself, and made some for his mother. 

Then, before mother could even get a word out, he hurried out of the house.

By now, mother was alarmed! 

She picked up the phone and dialed her neighbour, Mrs. Iyer. Her daughter, Sumedha, was Manav’s best friend. They studied in the same class.

“Mrs. Iyer,” began mother, “Manav, has been behaving in a strange manner since yesterday. I was wondering if…” 

 “Mrs. Gopal!” Mrs. Iyer stopped her mid-sentence. “I was about to call you!”

“Yesterday, despite my refusal, Sumedha cleaned the study. Then, she came in late for all her meals!” complained Mrs. Iyer.

Concerned, mother said, “I better call the twins, Aarav and Ananya’s, mother and find out what is going on.”

Mother called Aarav and Ananya’s mother. 

The twins, who lived two houses away from Manav, were in his class. 

The strange story continued. Their mother said that the twins had forced the maid to clean the study yesterday.

Mother waited for Manav to return for lunch. It was 3 o’clock now and he had still not returned. 

Anxious, mother decided to look for him. Just as she was about to step out of the house, Manav came rushing in.

“Mother, can you make two bottles of strawberry milkshake right away and bring it to the community hall at 4.30 pm sharp?” asked Manav.

Annoyed, mother did as Manav asked and showed up at the community hall at the requested time.

There she saw little Uttara, standing at the entrance of the hall. Her brother Arudra was standing next to her. 

Eventually, the parents started to come to the hall. 

At 5 pm, Manav, along with Sumedha, Aarav and Ananya came out of the community hall. 

They silently tied a ribbon across the doorway.

 “We are proud to welcome you to the opening of our colony library,” said the children together. 

“It is free for all. We have a collection of children’s books, comics, old text books and note books. All the children from the colony are welcome to spend their summer afternoons here.”

Little Uttara cut the ribbon with the help of her brother Arudra. Surprised, the parents cheered and clapped. Mother smiled.

Everybody stepped into the room. 

Inside, the children had neatly arranged the books on old, unused racks and each section was labeled.

All the parents appreciated the children’s efforts. 

Some even pledged to donate more books to the community library. 

Soon, it became the kids’ favourite joint. 

They spent their afternoons reading and drawing. Every day a parent sent in snacks, while some even joined the reading sessions.

The summer vacation turned out well for the children. Their plan worked after all.

Franky & First Rain

There were black clouds in the sky. The sight made Franky frog very happy.

“Looks like the monsoon is about to begin. How I long to go splish-splash in the rain. It will be fun!” thought Franky.

Monty monkey was sitting on a branch nearby. He had been watching Franky for some time now. “Franky, why are you looking at the sky so happily?” asked Monty Monkey. 

“I’m looking at the clouds, silly. It is going to rain after all!” replied Franky. 

The word ‘Rain’ made Monty shiver. 

“Oh! I suffer terribly during the rains. My home in the tree rattles and shakes during a storm. I get drenched and then catch pneumonia!” exclaimed Monty. 

“But with the rains comes relief from heat. Dry fields, ponds and lakes get filled with water,” said Franky.

Urgh!” said Monty, in disgust, as he bounded off. “I don’t like the monsoon!”

Franky decided to take a stroll. Soon, he met Gally goat who was in a hurry. 

“Hey, Gally!” called Franky. “Where are you off to in such a hurry?”

“Can’t you see it is going to rain?” replied Gally, irritated. “If I leave my food out in the open, it will get wet and spoil. I must get it home quickly.”

She grumbled, “And I left my clothes out to dry. If it rains, they will get wet too. All my hard work will go to waste!”

“The monsoons are not that bad, Gally,” said Franky. He explained, “Hasn’t the grass in your garden dried up? Soon, when it rains, it will turn green again and it will taste better!”

“Stop with all this nonsense about the rains, Franky. It isn’t as fun as you think!” said Gally, as she went into her house, irritated.

“Why is everyone so unhappy with the rains?” thought a puzzled Franky.

Soon, he came upon a colony of ants. They were working swiftly. There he saw his old friend, Annie ant.

“Hi Annie!” shouted Franky. “You seem terribly busy.”

Annie ant looked up. She was carrying food into her home. “Yes Franky. As you can see, it will rain soon. We need to stock food in a safe place.”

“I heard that ants work harder during the rainy season. Is that true?” questioned Franky. He felt a little bad for the ants as he imagined that they didn’t get to enjoy the wet weather.

“Yes, we do not like to waste our time. But the monsoons create new problems for us as we cannot go out in search of food. We are forced to stay home all the time,” explained Annie. 

“Oh!” uttered Franky. 

“There is a lot of work left to be done, Franky. I will talk to you later,” said Annie, as she disappeared into the anthill.

Franky was now bothered. “Are the rains really that troublesome? No one seems to want rain except me,” thought the little frog.

By the time he returned to his home near the pond, every inch of the sky had turned grey.

Soon, there was a gentle pitter-patter on his roof. The rains had finally arrived!

Franky hopped out of his house. He was happy to see the raindrops splatter all around. When suddenly, he said, “I like to get wet in the rain. But other animals fall sick and face problems. If my friends have problems with the rain, I will also stay inside my home.” He went back inside his home.

Franky sat by a window. He was happy watching the drops of rain trickle down. But, he did not go out.

“Franky!” He suddenly heard Monty call out to him.

“We have been looking all over for you. And you are hiding at home!” yelled Gally.

“Come out! Don’t hide inside! We all have come out to play in the first rain with you,” said Annie. 

She rapped at his door. “You love the rain and yet, you are sitting inside!”

Franky was surprised! He quickly hopped out of his home.

When Franky went outside, he saw all the animals of the jungle enjoying the first rain.

Franky started saying, “For you all, I was…”

“We all know it”, interrupted Gally. “Should I tell you one thing? Monsoon is not that bad, you know. We are enjoying getting drenched.”

Franky danced happily after hearing those words. He also started enjoying the first rain.

An Unusual Race

A race was to be held in Chanchalvan forest. All the animals in the jungle had gathered to watch the race. The horses that were to run the race, assembled on the race track. 

Though they competed with their own kind, each thought they were better than the other.

Snorting and pounding their hoofs, they glared at each other. 

Then, just as the referee was about to blow the whistle and start the race, Bhondhu donkey ran in. 

“Stop brothers!” he yelled. “I would like to take part in this race.” 

The crowd roared with laughter. Yet, it did not discourage Bhondhu. 

“I have practised long and hard, running at the speed of a horse. I believe I run fast,” said Bhondhu. 

“Oh! Now a donkey wants to compete with us!” thought the horses. 

Till then, the same horses that looked at each other with bitterness, suddenly united. 

They now turned their bitterness towards one target ― the donkey. 

For now, it was not a question of which horse won. Rather, it became a matter of pride for the family of horses. 

“This is beyond your skills, Bhondhu. Everyone isn’t as capable as us. Donkeys in particular are no match,” said Hiroo horse. “And if you were, you wouldn’t be called a donkey.” 

Again, the crowd burst out laughing. 

“You are just that ― a beast of burden,” continued the proud Hiroo. “Do what you are born to do. Don’t make a fool of yourself!” 

The horses cheered him on.

“Okay. If I lose, I will leave this forest forever,” said a confident Bhondhu.

Now, this made the spectators curious. They all scrambled to get a better view of this strange competition between a donkey and the horses. 

The referee fired the starting shot. Off went Bhondhu and the rest of the horses. 

While the horses ran well, Bhondhu surprised all. He overtook each horse. 

Even Hiroo, who was a champion racer, couldn’t beat Bhondhu. Finally, Bhondhu won! 

As a prize, he was gifted a cycle. 

The happy Bhondhu went up to the horses and said, “Brothers, so what if I am a donkey? With hard work and sincerity, anyone can be successful.”

Soon, the race became the talk of the town. The animals made fun of the horses, while everyone stopped making fun of donkeys. 

Bhondhu, however, was not happy with the situation. 

“It’s nice to hear everyone praise donkeys, after I won the race. But it’s not fair to make fun of the horses either,” thought Bhondhu.

One day, Bhondhu was cycling in the jungle, when suddenly he was surrounded by a group of horses. 

“So, you are the donkey that outran us. How about running a race with us, right now?” said one of the horses. 

“The other day, it was an actual race. I have no intention of competing with you now,” said Bhondhu. 

“Now, you insult us by saying that you are not in the mood to compete?” said a familiar voice. 

It was Hiroo. He stepped up from behind and pushed Bhondhu off the bike. 

Bhondhu realised that the horses were out to seek revenge. He quickly took off as the horses chased him. 

While he could run fast, Bhondhu could not run continuously and was getting tired quickly. 

While the horses, as they were used to running all their lives, did not tire easily. 

Soon, dizzy and tired, Bhondhu tripped and fell into a pit. There he lay unconscious.

The horses stopped at the edge of the pit. Seeing him unconscious, they left. 

Soon after, Bhondhu gained consciousness and realised that he was badly hurt. He could not get out of the pit and there was no sign of help. 

Suddenly, he spotted a small bird in the sky. It was Simi. 

She recognised Bhondhu and flew down to him. Bhondhu told her all that had happened. 

“The horses are bent on harassing me, because I won a competition against them. Is winning such a big mistake?” asked Bhondhu, in pain.

Simi smiled. “You have broken an age-old tradition. In doing that, you have made enemies with the bearers of that tradition,” said the wise little bird. 

Bhondhu looked troubled. 

Simi explained, “All the animals think donkeys are stupid. However, horses are treated like kings. They are believed to be ‘high’ and you, ‘low’. By winning the race, you turned the tables. You proved that a ‘low’ animal is also capable of speed – a quality that horses take great pride in.”

She continued, “They are insulted and their pride is at stake. They will try to defeat you, not only on competition grounds, but in real life too.” 

“You mean I have invited trouble and made enemies by challenging them in the competition?” asked Bhondhu. 

“Bhondhu, those who hold a ‘higher’ place in the society, blindly believe they deserve respect,” said Simi. “They also believe that anyone from a ‘lower’ section cannot challenge or hold such a position. Nor can they snatch their honour at any cost.”

“I never thought about my actions in such a way,” said Bhondhu, worried.

“The winner of the race is now worried about his plight!” said Simi. 

“Bhondhu, are you not happy that you have changed the outlook of your entire community? Wasn’t it wrong that everyone looked down upon donkeys? Now, because of your actions, no one laughs at a donkey.”

Bhondhu thought for a while. He replied, “No, dear Simi, I am in fact very happy, but…”

Simi stopped him mid-sentence and said, “If you are really happy, stop worrying. Instead, fight to retain your position so that in the future, no donkey will ever be discouraged. If you challenge someone, you need to be brave to face that person anywhere. Else, they will leave no leaf unturned to trouble you. Do you understand?” 

“Yes Simi, I should be brave and ready to face the horses,” said Bhondhu courageously. “Now, can you please help me out of the pit?”

“I will get help.” Saying this, Simi flew nearby and got some of her friends to help Bhondhu to come out of the pit. Bhondhu thanked Simi.

“Dear friend, life is a struggle. To live it to the fullest, you have to be brave!” said Simi. 

Bhondhu vowed to keep the pride of his breed and with that, they parted ways.

A Lesson Learnt

Cheeku rabbit, Meeku mouse and Jumpy monkey were having lunch in their classroom. 

“Wow Meeku! The kachoris you bought for lunch are tasty!” said Cheeku, munching on the piece.

“My mother cooked these. She packed enough for all of us,’’ said Meeku, delighted.

Just then Baddy fox passed that way. “What’s that aroma?” sniffed Baddy. He glanced in the direction of the trio. They quickly tried to hide their lunch boxes. But it was too late.

“Hey Meeku, don’t hide your lunch box. Kachoris are my favourite!” said the sly fox, quickly swooping into Meeku’s lunch box.

“Baddy! You cannot snatch someone’s lunch without asking first. It’s not good manners!” said Jumpy.

“Snatch?” mocked a shameless Baddy. “I would never use my strength against my dear friends.” 

He dipped his paw into Meeku’s lunch box again for another helping of kachoris.

The three friends felt helpless and angry.

Baddy was a greedy fox. Often, he helped himself to the lunch of others. Yet, no one had the courage to utter a word to him. 

Many of the students had complained about his behaviour to the school authorities. But he never tried to mend his ways. He was turning more troublesome by the day.

“Baddy’s behaviour is terrible. I find it rude!’’ said Cheeku. 

“Yes, we have had enough of his bad behaviour,” said Jumpy, agreeing with Cheeku.“But, what can we do?”

“Let’s teach him a lesson,” said Jumpy. 

He quickly gathered his friends around and whispered a plan.

The next day, they sat in class with their lunch boxes spread out in front. They waited for Baddy to walk into the trap. 

As soon as they spotted Baddy approaching, Cheeku began munching a paratha. “Jumpy, this paratha is very tasty!” said Cheeku, between mouthfuls. 

“Yes, this is the most delicious paratha I have tasted by far!” said Meeku as he licked his lips.

Hearing this, Baddy’s mouth started to water. He grabbed a paratha from Jumpy’s lunchbox. “Let me taste these delicious parathas too!” he said. 

He gobbled up the first paratha and then reached for the second. That’s when things went crazy. 

“Oh! It’s spicy! My tongue is on fire! Give me some water! Please!” begged Baddy. He had tears in his eyes. 

“Here, Baddy,’’ replied Meeku, handing him a water bottle.

Baddy gulped the water. Little did he know that it was laced with chilli powder.

Now Baddy was huffing and puffing. 

“What did you offer me?” said Baddy, panting heavily. “Someone please give me some water. My mouth is on fire!’’ 

“No, Baddy!” replied Cheeku, “You snatch our food without the least concern. Now, enjoy the fruits of your actions.’’ 

The rest of the class gathered around Cheeku and nodded in agreement.

“I am sorry! I promise to never take anyone’s lunch again!” cried Baddy.

Cheeku gave Baddy a box of sweets and a glass of chilled water. “You must stop snatching food from others, Baddy,” said Cheeku.

Baddy felt relieved after drinking the water and eating the sweets. He then apologised to his classmates. 

He vowed never to take what did not belong to him.

From that day on, the three friends never had to worry about Baddy stealing their lunch again.

Learning To Share!

Mother always asked Bhantu monkey to share, “Learn to share what you have Bhantu! It will make you happy.” 

Bhantu, however, was never keen, “No mother, if I share my food with others, I’ll be left with less! That will leave me unsatisfied!”

So, the greedy little monkey always ate all by himself.

One day Bhantu was given a sweet paratha. Off he ran, to find a quiet corner to eat it. Along the way, he met Mintu monkey. 

Mintu always shared his things with Bhantu. “Hey Bhantu, how about sharing that paratha with me?” asked Mintu. 

“No,” refused Bhantu, “I shan’t!”

Mintu got angry and he jumped on Bhantu and tugged at the paratha, tearing it into two. One half was in Mintu’s paw, while the other half remained with Bhantu. 

Afraid that Mintu would come for more, Bhantu climbed up a tree with the half piece of paratha

Unluckily for Bhantu, Kush monkey was on the same tree. His mouth watered when he saw the piece of paratha in Bhantu’s paw. “May I have a piece of the paratha, Bhantu?” asked a hungry Kush.

“No,” said Bhantu. This hurt Kush, as he always shared his things with Bhantu. Kush decided to teach Bhantu a lesson. While he grabbed the paratha, Bhantu held on to it for his dear life. But, Kush managed to take a piece of the paratha and poor Bhantu was left with only one-fourth of the sweet eatable!

He took off as fast as he could, jumped on to another tree, and started climbing to the topmost branch. As he was climbing, he saw his sister Ritu sitting on one of the branches. 

Now, while Bhantu was a selfish little fellow, his sister held a very special place in his heart. He made his way to the branch on which Ritu was sitting. “Brother, did you bring the paratha for me?” asked Ritu, with the biggest smile. He remembered his mother’s advice about sharing, “Yes Ritu, do you want some?”

Bantu held out the piece of paratha to Ritu. “Brother, this is only one-fourth of a paratha. If you give this piece to me, what will you have left?”

“Let us share this piece,” said Bhantu, as he divided it into equal parts and handed one part over to his sister. They both happily ate whatever little was left of it.

Now mother was watching all that happen from a tree nearby. She was happy that Bhantu had finally learnt the joy of sharing. 

Mintu, who had taken half of the paratha, observed all that happened. He went up to Bhantu and said remorsefully, “Hey Bhantu, I have already eaten half of what I snatched from you. You can have the rest!” Mintu held out the quarter piece of a paratha.

“No friend! You have always shared your food with me. Please eat the paratha,” said Bhantu, as he finally realised that sharing did make him feel happy. Mintu smiled at the changed Bhantu. He then divided the leftover piece into two parts and gave one each to Bhantu and Ritu.

So now, can you tell how much Bhantu and Ritu finally get?

Greeting Card

Champakvan had an orphanage devoted to the care of orphans. It was home to a lot of children. The boarding, lodging and studies of these children was completely undertaken by King Shersingh.

Shanno cat was employed as the caretaker of the orphanage.

King Shersingh visited the orphanage once a month.

One Sunday, when Shersingh reached the orphanage, Shanno was waiting for him at the gates to welcome him.

“Shanno, I hope the kids are well taken care of?” asked Shersingh.

“Yes, my King! I take care of them like my own kids. I am at their service throughout the day. I am always concerned about them,” replied Shanno.

“My King, I request you to come and see for yourself how well these kids are taken care of,” she continued taking Shersingh to the kitchen.

Lunch was being prepared in the kitchen. There was chapati, rice, dal, vegetables and rice pudding on the menu.

“This food smells good here!’ said Shersingh, taking in the aromas of the food.

“Yes, my king! We serve tasty and nutritious food to the kids every day. They are also served milk, nuts and fruits in the morning,” Shanno added.

“That is excellent! I wish that these kids never face any inconvenience while they are here. Let me know if you need any help,” offered Shersingh.

Then, Shersingh visited the kids in their rooms. Cheeku rabbit, Meeku mouse, Jumpy monkey and the other kids greeted the King.

“Children, are you all comfortable here?” asked Shersingh.

“Yes!” said the kids and nodded.

“My King, like I said, the kids here do not have any problems. We care for them like our own kids. Each and every need of theirs is taken care of,” Shanno added quickly.

As soon as Shersingh got up to leave, Cheeku interrupted and said, “My king, we have made a greeting card for you and we would like to present it to you.”

Shersingh happily accepted their request and said, “Yes, of course! Bring it quickly. I want to see what my lovely children have made for me.”

Meeku brought the card and presented it to Shersingh.

Shersingh opened the greeting card and smiled and said, “It is a very beautiful card. I have never been presented with anything like this before. I will always treasure it.”

“Shanno, you are working really hard to help these kids. You deserve a reward for your efforts. I will return soon,” said Shersingh as he left.

That night Shersingh visited the orphanage with Inspector Tommy Dog and his team.

Shanno was surprised to see Shersingh with the police. She came out quickly and asked, “What is it Inspector? Is there a thief here?” 

“Yes, we are here to catch a criminal. A crime has been happening for many days and now we have the proof for it,” said Inspector Tommy and hand-cuffed Shanno.

“Why are you taking me in, Inspector? What crime have I committed? I look after the kids in the orphanage. I am not a thief,” cried Shanno.

“You should be ashamed of yourself! I trusted you and you took advantage of my trust. Now you will spend the rest of your life in prison,” roared Shersingh, his eyes red with anger.

“My King, there is some misunderstanding. I have not done anything. Please leave me!” pleaded Shanno.

“There is no misunderstanding. The children of the orphanage gifted me the card and it mentioned all the details of your wrong doings. You have been torturing these little children by hitting them and threatening them. How you fed them stale food that too, just once a day. 

All the food that was being prepared was just to fool me. You have been keeping all the money that was sent for the welfare of the kids, for yourself. Your misdeeds have finally come to light now,” Shersingh growled.

Seeing his rage, Shanno admitted to her crimes. Shersingh demanded a tough punishment for Shanno.

Then Shersingh praised Cheeku, Meeku and Jumpy for their presence of mind and said, “We were able to uncover Shanno’s wrongdoings due to your intelligent thinking. I assure you, that you will never face such a problem again. You will all be looked after well!”

Shanno was sent to prison and the children lived happily with another caretaker.

The Joy of Simplicity

Once upon a time, there lived a King named Leonar who loved eating delicious food. He would send messengers to different kingdoms in search of recipes and special ingredients.

When his messengers returned, King Leonar would give those recipes and special ingredients to his cook and ask him to make those dishes. If the dishes were good, he would reward his cook, but he would punish his cook if he didn’t enjoy the taste of the dishes.

“Make many dishes. I want to taste all of them! Don’t forget to add the exotic ingredients and lots of dry fruits and nuts to all desserts,” the king ordered.

“But Sir, some dishes will lose their unique flavour if we add all ingredients to them! Sometimes, simple recipes are tasty,” the cook replied.

King Leonar was displeased with such words and ordered a harsh punishment for the cook.

The cook could not leave the palace because King Leonar kept guards to keep an eye on him as he was the best cook in the whole country. The poor cook was tired.

One day, King Leonar went hunting and got lost. The soldiers tried to find him but failed.

For once, the cook was happy. He cooked lovely dishes with simple ingredients everyone in the palace enjoyed them.

Meanwhile, King Leonar, after walking for a while, reached a hut in which an old lady lived. He was hungry and tired.

He wanted a good meal and said, “Hello, I am King Leonar of the country. Make me a delicious meal and I will reward you.”

The old lady smiled and welcomed the king. She had a mango tree in her garden and luckily, it being summer, the tree had lots of fruits on it.

She arranged a cot under the tree for the king to rest and served him a glass of aam panna. King Leonar sipped it and exclaimed, “Wow! This is delicious! What is it made of?”

The old lady replied, “Raw mango, salt and pepper.”

King Leonar was surprised that such simple ingredients could bring out such a unique taste. And so thinking, he dozed off to sleep.

The old lady continued cooking. After a while, King Leonar woke up to delicious aroma coming from the kitchen. He was eager to taste the dishes.

The old lady served King Leonar hot rice, a ladle of ghee, mango chutney, mango dal and mango rasam.

King Leonar relished each bite and kept asking her for the exotic ingredients that she had used.

But the old lady said, “Your majesty, I am poor and cannot afford exotic ingredients. I use the mangoes from my tree and cook whatever I can. I am glad you liked my simple dishes.”

King Leonar realised his mistakes. He had been collecting exotic ingredients, nuts, and fruits and trying to mix them all to create tasty dishes instead of enjoying each flavour’s uniqueness.

He realised that everything has its own speciality and it need not be mixed with something else to make it special.

Soon, King Leonar’s soldiers came to his rescue. The king thanked the old lady and rewarded her.

After reaching his palace, he hugged his cook and apologised. He asked the guards to step aside and gave the cook his freedom. The cook was happy and relieved. He chose to stay and cook for the king.

King Leonar asked him to cook as he wished.

From that day, the cook made simple dishes and King Leonar enjoyed each one of them.

Sona’s Big Adventure

Sona, the goldfish lived in a big aquarium with her parents. The aquarium belonged to a family who loved fish and kept many more fish apart from Sona and her family. Sona’s owners always fed their fish the yummiest food and Sona had nothing to worry about. Sona’s best friend was Mona, the clown fish. Sona and Mona spent the entire day together. They swam across the aquarium, looking for food or playing games.

One day, the lady of the house decided it was time to reorganise the house and rearrange the furniture. Once all the furniture had moved around, the aquarium was placed in a part of the room from where the fish had a clear view of the TV.

Since then, Sona and Mona spent the entire day watching TV. They barely ate and completely stopped swimming around the tank. They only slept when the TV had been switched off.

Sona’s mother tried warning her about the ill effects of watching TV all day, but Sona wouldn’t listen. One day, Sona and Mona watched a nature documentary on TV about the life of fish living in the ocean and in rivers. After watching the documentary, both Sona and Mona felt that their aquarium was too small.

Sona kept asking her mother to take her to the ocean. “We are fish, Sona,” said her mother.

“We can’t live outside of water and since we live in this aquarium, it is impossible for us to see the world and explore the ocean.”

Sona, however, wasn’t ready to accept defeat. She spent all day and all night trying to think of the perfect way to get to the ocean. She continued to watch TV, hoping to find a program that could teach her how to escape from the aquarium.

One day, Sona watched a program where the person on TV said, “Impossible is nothing. If there’s a will, there’s a way.” Sona was deeply inspired by this and convinced Mona into thinking of a solution with her.

Then, one day, when the little boy of the house was cleaning the aquarium, he removed all the fish, one by one and placed them in smaller jars and bowls.


Sona and Mona were in the same bowl and Sona noticed the maid wiping the floor. She had a bucket of water which she took from room to room.

This was the chance Sona was waiting for. She explained her plan to Mona and together, they waited for the maid to come closer with the bucket. Sona shot out of the water and landed in the bucket. Mona tried too, but her jump wasn’t good enough and she fell back inside the bowl.

Once in the bucket, Sona felt like something was wrong. There seemed to be some sort of chemical in the water that made her head spin every time she took a breath. Sona didn’t know how long she could hold her breath, but she decided it was better than breathing in all the chemicals.

Fortunately for her, the maid emptied the bucket soon. But, it seemed as if Sona had jumped out of the frying pan and landed in the fire, because the maid had emptied the bucket in the drain. The water here smelled foul and Sona had to hold her breath again.

Not yet ready to give up, she swam through and soon, found herself in a bigger pipe. She swam in the direction of the water and found herself in a little river. The water here was not very clean, but it definitely was a lot better.


Sona had grown very hungry by now and was desperate to find some food. But instead of finding food to eat, she found herself being food for bigger fish. Fortunately for her, Sona was a lot faster and more nimble than the bigger fish and she managed to stay safe.

Eating scraps of food here and there, Sona managed to survive for a few days. Life outside the aquarium was tough as she constantly had to hide behind rocks to escape from the bigger fish. Also, the water was nowhere even nearly as clean as it was in the aquarium.

One day, Sona saw a big juicy worm floating in the water. She looked around to see if any other fish had seen this worm. The coast was clear and Sona tried taking a bite out of the worm. Instead, she found herself caught on a hook. A fisherman had used the worm as bait to catch her.


The fisherman put her in a bucket of water and took her to his home. He was going to eat her.

As the fisherman pulled her out and placed her on the cutting board, the fisherman said, “I can’t wait to have you for dinner.

As he brought the knife down on her, Sona screamed and closed her eyes. She suddenly heard her mother’s voice. “Sona, what’s the matter dear? Are you alright?” she asked.


Sona opened her eyes and saw that she was still in the aquarium. It was all a dream. Hearing her scream, several fish came up to her to ask if she needed anything and whether she was okay. Sona calmed down and breathed a sigh of relief, and started explaining others her adventures from the dream.


Dhanno was an angry young buffalo. He got angry over small matters and when he did he would ruin everyone’s day. He would break things, throw buckets filled with water, and run after small animals and scare them. No one wanted to be Dhanno’s friend because of his anger. Except Bholi, the cow.

Bholi was his best friend. She was the opposite of Dhanno, always quiet and doing her own work. She would always be calm and forgiving.

One day Bholi was grazing grass in the morning as usual. Dhanno came and stood beside her. She knew he was angry for some reason. She waited patiently till he started talking about it.

“Jaggu did it again. He pulled my tail and ran off. I ran behind him but …” Dhanno did not complete but his red eyes showed how angry he was. Jaggu, the fox, enjoyed teasing Dhanno.

“Why do you have to get so angry every time? Every one teases you because you get angry. You should control your anger.” Bholi had tried to explain him so many times before but Dhanno never changed.

Looking at Dhanno’s sad face, Bholi would try to cheer him up. “Next time Jaggu tries to touch your tail, kick him.” And both laughed out loud.

Everyone knew their friendship was strong but it was soon put to test one day. As usual Bholi came back home in the evening only to find her home had been broken down.

The walls were broken, all money and jewelry was gone. Bholi was devastated.

All the other animals gathered around Bholi’s house and started talking about who could have done it. The police was informed. Inspector Motu, the Elephant, was on duty and came promptly to the crime scene.

Looking at the walls, he said, “This can only be done by a strong animal like me.” Realizing his folly, he said, “I meant, he is a strong animal like, like …” He looked around and realized Dhanno was missing. “Where is Dhanno?”


Everyone knew about Bholi and Dhanno’s friendship. They were surprised that Dhanno was not present. Bholi needed her friend at this time.

“Look.” Inspector Motu found a necklace hidden amongst the broken wall. “To whom does this belong?”

Everyone knew! It was Dhanno’s. Bholi was taken aback. Could it be him?

Just then Dhanno came over. Bholi could see the guilt on his face and couldn’t help asking, “Did you …?”


Before she could complete, Dhanno gave an angry look and ran off from there.

Bholi looked back at Inspector Motu. “Dhanno visits me every day. It must have fallen off at that time.” Bholi tried to defend him, not believing at all that he could have done. But everyone knew Dhanno’s bad temper and thought it was him.

Bholi started pulling together whatever remained of the house. Other animals started helping her too. But Dhanno wasn’t seen for the rest of the day.

It was late night. Bholi was sitting near her broken house. All others had left and gone back to their home.

But Bholi didn’t have any left for herself. Not only had she lost her home and everything else, but it looked like she had lost her friend too. She looked at her house and started crying.

I am sorry.” Bholi looked behind as she heard Dhanno.


“Don’t look behind. I won’t be able to meet your eyes.” He stopped for a second only to calm himself.

“It was Jaggu. He was teasing me and I got angry. I know that I should not get angry. But I could not control. He then stood near your house. I kept trying to hit him and he would escape. I never realized in my anger that I was destroying your house.”

Dhanno waited for Bholi to say something, get angry even. But Bholi did not say anything.

“Yes, I know I broke your house but … but I did not steal your money and jewellery. I swear. And I promise you I will give all my money, even my house to you” said Dhanno.

“I don’t want your home or your money.”

“Don’t be angry with me Bholi. You are my only friend. I don’t want to lose you.”

“I am not angry. I am happy that you were honest with me but I hope that you have realized what your anger has done to me.” Dhanno hid his face in shame.

“So yes you will have to pay me for my loss … by working on your anger.”

Dhanno promised that he would. That made Bholi very happy.

“Wait a minute. I think I know who stole your money and jewelry.”


Suddenly Dhanno realized who the culprit was. After realizing that he had destroyed Bholi’s house, Dhanno ran away from there in shame but Jaggu was still there.

Bholi and Dhanno immediately informed Inspector Motu who searched Jaggu’s house and found the stolen stuff. Jaggu was arrested at the right time. He was preparing to run away forever.

“Your anger may have destroyed her home but at least by being honest, you saved her from making more loss.” Inspector Motu later told Dhanno.

“Yes, as I always say, honesty pays off,” said Bholi. Everyone laughed. Dhanno and Bholi left to re-build her house.




Deep in the deserts of South Africa was a little oasis garden. Filled with many wild trees and plants, it was full of life and was also home to a cactus plant and a rose bush.

One day, a swift wind brought with it a butterfly. It was new here and introduced itself to the rose bush. “Hi, my name is Nancy. I’m new here and was blown here by a strong wind. Would you mind if I lived here in your garden?” she asked. “Of course,” said the rose bush, welcoming Nancy. Soon, Nancy became a part of the garden and got along well with all the trees and plants. Among all of them, she was best friends with the rose bush.

She’d flit over to her, flapping her big, colourful wings and sip the nectar from the rose bush’s flowers. They’d talk for hours about this and that and their bond grew stronger still.

One day, the cactus turned to the butterfly and said, “Nancy, would you like to be my friend too?”

“What? Me become your friend? No way,” said Nancy, making a face.

“Why not?” asked the cactus, innocently.

“You’re full of thorns. That’s why,” said the butterfly.


“The rose bush has thorns too. How come you’re friends with her?” asked the cactus.

“You dare compare yourself to the rose bush?” asked Nancy, threateningly. “Even though she has thorns, the rose bush also has beautiful roses, full of nectar. You on the other hand have no good qualities.”

“That’s right, you have no good qualities. You’re all thorns,” added the rose bush and the two started giggling

The cactus felt terrible and didn’t bother them again.

Several days passed and the seasons began to change. The garden was getting warmer and as the days passed by, the weather grew hotter and hotter. The plants began to wilt and the leaves began to turn brown and shed. The once green garden became a bland, bed of brown.

Soon, the entire garden had wilted and all that was left was the cactus and rose bush.

Things weren’t as beautiful as before and the rose bush was looking sickly too.

“What’s the matter?” Nancy asked the rose bush. “You haven’t borne any new flowers in days now.”

“It’s the heat. Without any water, I just don’t have the energy to make more flowers. All I have are the ones that are already in bloom,” said the rose bush.

“Oh no, what am I going to do if you’re not going to be bearing any new flowers?” asked Nancy.

“Nancy, I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to stay here anymore. The summer has only started and things are going to get much worse. I suggest that you move to a cooler, greener jungle for a few months and return when it rains again,” suggested the rose bush.

While Nancy was keen on moving to greener forests, she was too afraid to make the trip. She was worried that she might not be able to make it that far. As she stayed on for a couple of more days, the dry winds wilted the last few flowers the rose bush had.

Now Nancy was left with no more food. She grew weary and sat on the branches of the rose bush. The expression on her face was enough for the cactus to tell that something was wrong.


“What’s the matter Nancy? Is everything alright?” the cactus asked.

“No,” said Nancy. “I want to fly away to a greener place, but I’m so tired and thirsty that I’m afraid I won’t be able to make it. I can barely fly across the garden.”

“Don’t worry Nancy. I’ll help you,” said the cactus and called his friend, Raaka, the vulture.

Raaka swooped down and asked the cactus what the matter was.

“Oh, nothing much, just helping a friend. Could you use your beak to carve a hole on one of my arms?” asked the cactus.

Raaka did so and out of the cut oozed drops of water.

“Now you can drink to your heart’s content,” said the cactus to Nancy.

Nancy took a sip of the sweet, cool water and felt much better.



“How are you so full of water when all the other trees and plants have dried up in the heat?” asked Nancy.

“That’s because nature has given cacti the ability to store water in their stems. We soak up all the water we can find when it rains and use it during the hot summer months. Cacti may not seem like much on the outside, but we have a lot going for us on the inside,” said the cactus.

“I’m sorry for saying mean things to you,” said Nancy. “I was under the impression that the only special beings on this planet are the ones who have beautiful wings or bear beautiful flowers. I never realised that there could be so much more. Please forgive me.”


The cactus accepted Nancy’s apology and said, “Don’t worry about flying away to another forest for now. Stay here and drink to your heart’s content. I’ll keep you safe here until the next summer.”

Nancy and the cactus spent the summer and the rest of their lives as best friends.


Gol Guttam Lakkad bottom

Mother!” Vinay called out when he woke up one morning. “Please give me some dugdh jal mishrit sharkara yukt parvatiya booty. And please hurry!”

“I’ll get it right away,” Mother replied from the kitchen.

“What is the matter, Vinay? Are you feeling unwell?” Mother asked when she entered the room with a cup.

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“I’m perfectly fine, Mother,” Vinay said. “What makes you think I’m unwell?”

“Well, you did ask me to get you this concoction of herbs, didn’t you?” Mother said, handing Vinay the cup.

“Huh? When did I ask for a concoction of herbs?” Vinay asked, peeping into the cup.

“Vinay,” Mother said. “Didn’t you just call out to me and ask me to give you some booty?”

“Oh Mother!” Vinay said. “You misunderstood me. I asked you to bring me dugdh jal mishrit parvatiya booty. That’s another name for tea.”

“You’re becoming more and more mischievous, Vinay,” Mother scolded and left the room.

Vinay shrugged and got out of the bed. He then went to take a bath. After a while, he called out to Mother again. “Mother!” he shouted. “I can’t find my kanth langot.”

“What?” Mother said, perplexed.

“I can’t find my kanth langot!” Vinay repeated. “Wherever did you keep my necktie?”

“Please be direct, Vinay!” Mother sighed.

“I won’t be able to finish my household chores if you keep confusing me just because you want to be mischievous.”

Mother then took Vinay’s necktie out of the wardrobe and put it around his neck.

“Mother, I am not being mischievous,” Vinay pleaded innocently. “Really!”

Later that day, Vinay’s teacher was testing the students’ GK in the classroom. “Children,” he said. “Tell me, what is Thomas Edison’s most famous invention?”

Vinay smiled and raised his hand to answer the question.

“Yes, Vinay,” the teacher said. “Please answer the question.”

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“Sir,” Vinay cleared his throat and said.

“Edison invented the vidyut prakashiya kanch golak!”

“Sit down if you don’t know the answer,” the teacher said, upset.

“Children,” he then told the class. “Thomas Edison invented the electric bulb.”

“Sir, I was saying the same thing,” Vinay stood up and insisted. “The vidyut prakashiya kanch golak is another name for the electric bulb.”


All the students in the class laughed heartily.

“Be quiet!” the teacher shouted. “Now, answer the next question. Which game is the Ramanuj Trophy associated with?”

“It is associated with ashthkoni kashth falak pe le takatak de takatak!” Vinay said.

“Vinay,” the teacher said angrily. “Are you making fun of me again? I had no idea that you could be so disrespectful.”

“Sir,” Vinay said sincerely. “I would never do that. But please believe me when I say that ashthkoni kashth falak pe le takatak de takatak is another name for table tennis.”

“Please keep quiet for the rest of the class, Vinay,” the teacher said furiously.

Vinay didn’t like being shouted at even though he had answered correctly.

But he obeyed his teacher and didn’t speak again.

“Rahul!” Vinay called out to his friend and neighbour when he returned from school later that day. “Will you come with me to watch the gol guttam lakad battam de danadan match? I have an extra pass.”

“What is that?” Rahul asked curiously.

“Well,” Vinay said. “A gol guttam lakad battam de danadan match is another name for a cricket match!”

Rahul laughed loudly.

“Yes, Vinay!” he said cheerfully. “Even I want to watch the match between India and Pakistan. We will have to go to the stadium by train. So let’s leave right away.”

“It will take time for the sahastra chakra lauh pathgamini to arrive,” Vinay said. “So let us walk towards the sahastra chakra lauh pathgamini viram sthal.”

“Now whatever is that?” Rahul asked, staring at Vinay.

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“Sahastra chakra lauh pathgamini is a train,” Vinay explained. “And sahastra chakra lauh pathgamini viram sthal means a railway station.”

“Which language are you speaking in today, Vinay?” Rahul asked, giggling. He was unable to control his laughter. Vinay’s incoherent jabber had made him feel both curious and thrilled.

“We have a new Hindi teacher in our school, Rahul,” Vinay explained. “His name is Mr. Sharma. He says that our national language gives us values. And that we should be proud of it rather than being slaves to foreign ones. Mr. Sharma has also told us how our national language should be respected. He suggests that we talk in Hindi as often as we can so that we discover what a rich language it is.”

“Ah!” Rahul said and laughed. “So that’s what you’ve been up to today.” Praveen Uncle, who was the boys’ neighbour, saw them laughing.

“What’s making you boys laugh?” he asked good-naturedly.

“Uncle,” Rahul told Praveen Uncle. “Vinay has resolved to talk in a new language from today.”

“Really?” Praveen Uncle said curiously. Rahul then told Praveen Uncle about why Vinay was trying to speak in Hindi.

“Son, your new teacher has taught you the correct thing,” Praveen Uncle said. “But you have not understood what he really meant.”

“What makes you say that, Uncle?” Vinay asked, surprised.

“We should definitely respect our national language,” Praveen Uncle said, “but along with that, we should also know other languages so that we progress in life.”

Vinay and Rahul listened patiently.

“Tell me,” Praveen Uncle then said. “Why do we use a language?”

“So that we can communicate our thoughts to others,” Vinay said.

“Vinay,” Praveen Uncle then said. “Is everybody able to understand you from the way you are speaking today?”.

“No,” Vinay said, sounding disappointed. “Everybody is making their own inferences about what I am saying. Mother thinks I’m being mischievous while my teacher thinks I’m making fun of him.”

“Well, Vinay,” Praveen Uncle said softly.

“A language should be such that it is understood by everyone. Did you know that words from other languages were included in Hindi in order to make it easier to understand? That has made it possible for it to reach out to more people than it originally did.”

“Is that so?” Vinay and Rahul asked, astonished.

“Yes,” Praveen Uncle said. “Not only English but words of Sanskrit, Urdu, Arabic, Persian, Marathi and many other languages have assimilated with Hindi. And you will be surprised to know that Hindi is now being taught in schools and colleges all over the world.”

“Uncle, I have now realised that the knowledge of other languages is as important as that of one’s own national language. Knowledge is never a setback in one’s progress. In fact, it facilitates it all the more!” Vinay said cheerfully.

“That’s correct, Vinay!” Praveen Uncle said. “Why don’t we go for some dugdh jal mishrit sharkara yukt parvatiya booty now?’

“What’s that, Uncle?” Rahul asked, confused.

“Tea, Rahul!” Praveen Uncle said. “Your favourite drink!”


“Good idea!” Rahul said, laughing. “And after that, let us all go for the gol guttam lakad battam de danadan match. I can’t wait to see India win!”

Everyone laughed and walked towards the tea shop.

Stay Put Timbu!

The entire stadium was packed with animals. The final round of the prestigious Maharaja Sher Singh Memorial Football Match was about to begin. It was being played between Jumbuvan and Nandanvan. Jumbuvan’s captain Blacky Bear was very worried. “How will we play without Golu Deer?” he told Uchalu Monkey who was the vice captain. “He is our main goal scorer. Why did he have to fall sick today?”

“Why wouldn’t he fall sick?” Uchalu Monkey said, sounding annoyed. “I saw him stuffing himself with deep-fried snacks like pakodas and kachoris at Ballu Ox’s roadside shop just yesterday evening. I know that Golu is one of our best players but I must say that when it comes to his taste buds, he forgets everything and turns very careless.”

“Forget Golu for now!” Blacky Bear growled. He was growing anxious about the match. “Let’s focus on who we could get to replace him at such short notice.”

“Why don’t we ask Timbu Donkey to take Golu’s place?” Uchalu Monkey suggested. “His kicks are really powerful. He is quite good at saving goals too. Our defense line-up will surely benefit if we take him on.”

“Hmm,” Blacky Bear said, sounding slightly unsure. “You are right, Uchalu. Timbu Donkey can kick the ball really well. He can save goals too. But I still don’t feel very confident about him. He acts irresponsibly and can be very stupid sometimes. Even a slight mistake on his part can prove dangerous for our team.”

“Don’t worry, Blacky,” Uchalu Monkey said confidently. “Taga Tiger is Nandanvan’s main goal scorer. We will give Timbu the task of surrounding him so that he doesn’t get to the ball. I think this strategy will work for us. What do you think?”

“Alright then,” Blacky Bear said. He then called out to all his team players and explained the game plan. “Uchalu will attack the Nandanvan team. I will take care of the midfield. Timbu’s job will be to surround Taga so that he doesn’t get an opportunity to get hold of the ball.”

All the players nodded as they understood and approved of the line of attack. When Timbu Donkey heard that he would be replacing Golu Deer in the game, he felt overjoyed. “Hooray!” he cheered to himself. “I have finally got a chance to play in this prestigious match!”

As soon as the game began, Jumbuvan’s Uchalu Monkey scored a goal through a header and made his team lead. Ding! The score on the leader board changed to ‘1-O’. The Jumbuvan fans whistled. “Well done, Jumbuvan!” they cheered. The Nandanvan team grew furious. They decided to become more aggressive in their attack. Taga Tiger roared and struggled to score a goal.


But Timbu Donkey’s powerful kicks ruined all his chances as he kicked the ball faraway from Taga Tiger.

When the ball came into the possession of the Nandanvan players the next time, they raced towards Jumbuvan’s goalpost. As they grew closer, they made a pass. Taga sprinted towards the ball, hoping to score a goal. Unfortunately, he lost his balance and hit the goalpost.

Taga was so badly hurt that he had to be taken to a hospital in an ambulance. Nandanvan’s players felt bad about losing one of their best players. But they tried their level best to score goals. Sadly, they didn’t make any and Jumbuvan won the match. Timbu Donkey was declared as the Best Player of the defense line. Everyone praised his powerful kicks. But where was the Best Player? Timbu couldn’t be seen anywhere on the field. He didn’t even show up when he was called to receive the trophy.

Well, Timbu Donkey had gone to the hospital in the ambulance with Taga Tiger. His sympathetic attitude towards an opponent player impressed everyone.

“We should take a cue from Timbu and meet Taga in the hospital,” Captain Blacky told his team. “We should leave all our differences here on the field and be friends with our opponents outside the stadium, just like Timbu.”

Timbu Donkey was sitting near Taga Tiger’s bed in the hospital room when Blacky Bear and the rest of the Jumbuvan team walked in. He looked very relieved to see them. “Captain, for how much longer do I have to surround Taga?he immediately asked Blacky Bear. Timbu Donkey’s question perplexed all the animals. “What?” Blacky Bear said. “Timbu, have you come here only because I had asked you to surround Taga all the time?”

Yes, of course,” Timbu Donkey replied innocently. “I was following your orders. You are the captain after all.”

The whole room echoed with the sound of laughter. “You silly donkey!” Blacky Bear said, giggling. “When I told you to surround Taga, I actually meant that you should only do so on the playground, so that he doesn’t get too close to the ball! But you took me so seriously that you even followed him to the hospital! And you are ‘surrounding him here too!” Timbu Donkey felt very silly. He didn’t know what to say or do.

Uchalu Monkey, who was known for his sense of humour, decided that it was time for him to crack a joke. “Okay, Timbu,” he said. “Now tell me, if Taga had gone to the washroom, would you have accompanied him to surround him there too?”


Uchalu Monkey’s question caused another of laughter. Timbu Donkey once again didn’t know what to do. He simply hid his long face behind his hands and gave himself one of his powerful kicks.


Timbu Donkey was declared as the Best Player and everyone praised his powerful kicks. But where was the Best Player?He didn’t even show up when he was called to receive the trophy.


Once there lived a big fat king who used to eat throughout the day. He was always followed by a maid who would carry a tray loaded with snacks. He would have biscuits in the evening, crisps in the night time, bread and butter in the morning and a large bowl of cereals and rice in the afternoon. He was a man who never got tired of eating. He would eat while he talked, walked, sang, felt bored and even when he ordered his troops. The only time his mouth remained still was when he was asleep.

He was also a very greedy man and would never share anything that was his with anyone. Not even with his wife. The queen was a very frail and elegant woman who was kind-hearted and intelligent. She was fed up of watching her husband eat all day long. Many a time she would request her husband “Please stop eating for a while? At least when you are discussing matters with the ministers?”

He always replied “How do you expect me to live if I stop eating?”

“Well, you will not die if you do not eat for five minutes!” She retorted.

He was always very angry when he was asked by others to do something. He always thought that he was right. He was a very proud king and thought nobody could be like him.. Therefore he did many silly things in his life and took everyone for granted.

“There is no man in this world who can eat like me! No one can beat me at eating! And I am proud of it!” He said with pride.

The queen knew that there was no point in arguing with him any more on this issue. Hence, she stopped talking to him about eating.

A few months passed by, but the king did not stop eating! Everybody in the kingdom started making fun of the king and the queen was embarrassed. She wanted to put a stop to her husband’s habit of eating constantly. So she decided to plan a trick that would make her husband to stop eating.

That night, she told him “You know, there is a man who eats more than you do!”

“What! Who?” He asked shocked and dropped a hand full of crisps.

“A man named Ben. He is a shopkeeper in the town nearby and people call him Ben, the eater!” She said in a very casual tone.

“It cannot be true.” He replied harshly. His face turned red with anger. He got down from his bed and started walking around his room as though he was thinking something very serious.

“It is! You did not hear? They call him Ben, the eater! And I have seen him. I have heard he eats more than you.” She replied very coolly.

“He cannot!” He bellowed.

She was terrified. But before she spoke anything more, he spoke “All right! I can challenge him.” He sounded very confident.

The queen smiled broadly. She knew her husband would say this and she was happy that things were going according to her plan.

“Fine!” She said. “I will arrange for it. I will talk to Ben and you can compete with him.”

“Great!” he said. “Arrange for the challenge and watch your husband win!” He was full of pride.

She did not want to talk about it anymore. She bid him good night and fell asleep.

The next day, everything was ready. It was nearly sunset when the competition began. Ben sat in the middle of the hall and the king was seated on his huge throne.

People gathered in the hall to watch the outcome. A group of young boys were there to cheer the king. The queen thought that they were the kids of the ministers. It was decided that Ben would starve for a week if he lost the bet and if the king lost he would stop eating lavishly.

Once the bet began, maids brought roasted beef, huge loaves of bread and butter, a pot full of porridge and water and served it to them. Both the men started eating. The king stuffed his mouth with roasted beef. He looked very funny with his cheeks bulging out on both sides.

Ben ate very fast and finished the roasted beef in no time. He was served more roasts. Seeing this, the king started eating like a barbarian. He started using both his hands holding a loaf of bread in one hand and beef in the other.

They ate for hours continuously. After a while, the king needed a break badly. Therefore there was a five minutes break.

During the break, he fell asleep and the queen knew that he was tired of eating. Ben left the hall and returned after a few minutes.

Five minutes later the king woke up and the competition resumed. They were served with chicken and turkey this time. The kind started breathing heavily and the queen knew that it was because of the effort he had to make to eat. But she felt that he was still determined to continue. He was a man who would not give up easily.

They ate all night. The maids were tired walking up and down the hall and serving them. The crowd too dispersed gradually. But there were a few people who were ready to sacrifice their night’s sleep for this competition.

It went on and on and they continued devouring the food. However by sun rise, the speed of the king had reduced remarkably. The queen knew that he could not eat any more. But Ben seemed to be eating without the slightest bit of exhaustion. After a while, the king gave up.


“I give up.” He said. He sounded weary.

There was applause all around the hall. The queen too applauded but only until the king spoke. “In order to win the bet, you must eat another five loaves of bread.” He ordered. There was complete silence in the hall.

After much argument, Ben accepted to eat five more loaves of bread and was given bread and butter. He continued eating for an hour. The king kept watching him and finally Ben finished. He did as he was ordered. There was a thunder of claps around the hall and it was declared that Ben had won the bet. So the King sadly accepted that he would not eat throughout the day but only at meal times.


The queen was very happy and satisfied. She was satisfied by the plan she had laid. The morning before the bet, she had met Ben to persuade him to accept the offer for the bet. Ben had a twin named Bob and the three of them had planned to trick the king. So Bob switched place with Ben during the five minutes break. They were given a bag full of gold coins by the queen for helping her execute the plan.

She had achieved what she wanted. Her plan had worked out too well and nobody ever knew. Ben and Bob left the town after the bet and promised never to return. The king was left with nothing but a limited amount of food at meal times.


The Gift

Asha and Priya were neighbours. They were both six years old and good friends. Being as young as six they experienced their own share of fights, laughter, anger, love and others. They always shared whatever they had, whether it was playthings or food.

But…… but…..but…..Asha had a doll that she never let Priya play with. Priya could not fight over it for Asha had found a way to deal with this situation. It went somewhat like this….

“May I have your doll for a while”, Priya would request!

“Of course, you can but she is sleeping and I just cannot wake her up, you know my granny tells me one should never wake up anyone while they are asleep,” this would be Asha’s reply.

“Oh….” Priya had to accept it reluctantly.

Another day Priya would again ask for the doll, and the prompt reply would be, “Oh no! I did not sleep the whole of last night because dolly was very sick. She was coughing and Mamma tells me never let anyone touch her, for they would get the cough and will have to be given a shot by the doctor!” This frightened Priya and she took a few steps backward.

This happened so often that Priya soon stopped asking for the doll which always had a problem. This suited Asha who was indeed very happy with the outcome.

One fine day Priya came running to Asha’s house screaming her lungs out “Hey Asha, we are moving to the next town, Papa has a new job there, I am going to miss you but now you will have nobody asking for dolly!” Though this made Asha very happy it also made her very sad for she would no longer be able to play with Priya.

Asha woke up one morning hearing a lot of commotion outside her house; she peeped out of the window and found that the movers were loading things from Priya’s house into their van.

She ran out and Priya came running towards Asha, she gave a tight hug and bid farewell and ran towards the car waiting to leave.


Tears ran down Asha’s cheeks, suddenly in a flash, she ran inside as fast as her little feet could carry, picked up a gift and ran back with the same speed and screamed “Wait Priya, I have something for you”.

Priya’s father stopped the car. Asha came running, gave the gift in Priya’s hands, planted a kiss on her cheek and soon the car left.

Priya opened the gift impatiently as any kid would and there inside it was DOLLY with a beaming smile, she turned around and saw Asha waving her hands happily with tears in her eyes.

Priya now realized that she was more important to Asha than her lovely Dolly! Priya screamed, “I love you, you are my best friend”.

Bunty Bear’s Missing Key

Where are you going, Bunty?” Bunty Bear’s mother asked when she saw him going out of the house.

“Mother,” Bunty Bear replied. “I am going to show my friend Kuki my new scooter. I’ll be back in a jiffy!”

“Back in a jiffy?” Bunty Bear’s mother said. “Doesn’t Kuki live in Kesarvan which is 20 km away from our forest? It will be quite late by the time you return from there. Look! The sky is overcast too. It’s going to rain heavily. I don’t want you to get wet and fall sick, my dear.”

“Don’t worry, Mother,” Bunty Bear said. “I’ll take my red raincoat with me. It matches with the colour of my scooter too! I promise I’ll take good care of myself and not get wet either.”

“Can’t you go to meet Kuki tomorrow?” Bunty Bear’s mother asked worriedly.

“Mother,” Bunty Bear said, hugging his mother.

“Kuki is my best friend. Please let me go. I really want to show him my new scooter!”

“Okay,” Bunty Bear’s mother sighed and said. “Go if you like. But please wear your helmet. And do return home before it turns dark.”

“Thank you, Mother!” Bunty Bear said, running out of the house. “You are the best! Kuki will be really happy when he sees my new scooter! All thanks to you!”

Bunty Bear then wore his helmet and jumped onto his new scooter. He then sped away.

Vroom! Bunty Bear soon zoomed into Kesarvan.


And everyone who saw him turned to admire his red scooter.

It was bright and shiny. Besides, there were no two-wheelers in Kesarvan as yet.

“How about giving us a ride, Bunty?” some of Kuki’s friends asked Bunty Bear.


Bunty Bear grinned and willingly obliged. He then gave everyone a quick ride.

When he got tired, Kuki insisted that he visit his house to take a break and eat something.

Kuki had plucked fresh berries and found some extra-sweet honey for Bunty Bear.

“Mmm! Thanks, Kuki,” Bunty Bear said as he relished the treat. “You have served me my favourite things!”

When Bunty Bear finished eating, he realised that it was time for him to leave.

“I must leave now,” he told Kuki. “I told my mother that I will be back before it turns dark. But I promise I’ll visit you again next week!”

Just as Bunty Bear stepped out of Kuki’s house, a loud clap of thunder was heard. Big raindrops then fell from the sky.

“Oh no! It’s raining,” Kuki said worriedly. “How will you go home now, Bunty?”

“Don’t worry, Kuki,” Bunty Bear said. He then showed Kuki his raincoat and assured him that he would ride his scooter slowly and safely.

Bunty Bear quickly wore his raincoat and put his helmet on.

He then walked towards his scooter and put his paws into his pockets to pull the key out.


“Hey!” Bunty Bear suddenly said, sounding very alarmed. “Where is my scooter key? I can’t find it anywhere.”

“Have you dropped the key somewhere, Bunty?” Kuki asked.

He then called out to his parents and asked them to check if the key had fallen anywhere in the house.

Kuki’s parents searched high and low.

They moved the furniture about and even peeped under the beds. But the key couldn’t be found anywhere.

“Oh no,” Bunty Bear said with a frown. “How will I go home now? The rain’s getting heavier and heavier. I will be drenched if I walk home. And I promised Mother that I wouldn’t get wet.”

“Bunty,” Kuki’s mother then said. “Since you can’t find the key and since it is raining so heavily, you should spend the night with us. You will be safe here.”

“Well, I don’t have a choice,” Bunty Bear said as he went back into the house and sat on the sofa.

“Why don’t you take your helmet off now, Bunty?”

Kuki then suggested. “You don’t need to wear it when you are indoors.”

“Right,” Bunty Bear said, taking the helmet off. Plop! Something suddenly fell on the floor.

When Bunty Bear, Kuki and his mother bent down to see what it was, they had quite a surprise.

“Bunty, you are so funny,” Kuki said, giggling. “You had accidentally put your key inside your helmet. You must have done so when you came into the house and left it on the sofa.”

Kuki’s mother laughed too and Bunty Bear felt very embarrassed.

“I’m sorry,” he said as his ears turned red. “What a silly mistake I’ve made! My carelessness has caused trouble for everyone.”

“Don’t worry,” Kuki’s mother said.

“And do stay on as we had decided. We have already informed your parents not to expect you tonight. I’ll invite Kuki’s other friends to stay with us too. I’ll also make some snacks and dinner. You all can have a party and play some games then!”

“Good idea,” Bunty Bear said as he tucked the key into his pocket.

Bunty Bear then went with Kuki to invite all his other friends for their party.

Everyone had a good time that night, all thanks to Bunty Bear’s silly mistake!

A Taste of Their Own Medicine

For what could have been the thousandth time, Bob, the bear said to his little brother Teddy, “Stop eating so much honey! How will you climb trees to pick honeycombs if your tummy gets in the way?”

Teddy would not listen and all of his brother’s words would go in vain. His favorite word was ‘honey’ and if he ever ran, it was always towards a jar of it.

At parties, their mother would always say, “Teddy, I want you to control yourself. Leave some food for the other guests,” But Teddy couldn’t help himself.

Teddy’s fondness for food made him an easy target for all kids at school. They decided to play an April Fools prank on him. Harry, the fox, Jolly, the jackal and Bruno, the bull stopped Teddy after school.

“Hey Teddy, we heard that you love honey. This morning, we walked by a tree with a huge honeycomb on it,” said Harry. “We are going to take it down and have some honey. Care to join us?”

“No, let it be,” said Teddy. “Maybe I’ll join you some other time.” Teddy was more worried about what his brother Bob would say had he decided to go with them.

“See, I told you he wouldn’t come with us,” said Bruno. “Climbing trees and cutting down honeycombs is not an easy task especially for those as plump as Teddy. I told you he would be too scared to climb trees with us.”

Their April fool’s day prank was in action! The previous day, Bruno, Harry and Jolly had found a particularly thorny babool tree and hung pieces of gunny bags on a branch with long poles. From far away, it looked just like a huge honeycomb.

When they reached the tree, Teddy was ready to show them that he could climb any tree. He ran full speed towards the tree and began to climb it. The thorns of the babool tree cut his skin. With difficulty he climbed up to the branch, bruised and bleeding.


When he realized that the honeycomb was a gunny bag, the three pranksters jumped with joy shouting “April fool! April fool!

We got you! Yay!” and ran away.

Teddy began to cry and climbed down the tree and slowly made his way back home.

When his mom saw him, she was shocked. “What happened to you Teddy?” she asked. Teddy told her what happened.

Both Teddy’s mom and his brother applied ointment on Teddy’s wounds. “Don’t feel bad Teddy,” said Bob. “You should be more careful while dealing with such bullies. Stay strong little brother.”

A few days went by, Teddy’s mom packed toast and honey for lunch. Bob slipped a bottle of honey in to Teddy’s bag.

When the lunch bell rang, Teddy sat down for lunch and unwrapped the toast and honey his mom had packed for him. The smell of the fresh honey and the crunch of the crispy toast began to tempt Harry, Jolly and Bruno

“Hey Teddy, how are you? Are you still mad at us for the prank?” asked Jolly. “We were just having fun. Plus it was April fool’s day. Let’s all forget about all this and share some of your lunch with us”

As Jolly distracted Teddy, Bruno reached in to Teddy’s bag and pulled out the jar of honey. “I’ve got it! I’ve got it!” he cried. The three made faces at Teddy and opened the jar.


They dipped the hands in to the jar and licked up all the honey. Suddenly Bruno’s eyes opened wide. Jolly and Harry spat out whatever was in their mouths and started looking for water to drink.

Teddy smelled the jar and realized what had happened. The jar contained honey, but it also had a special ingredient- vinegar. Teddy felt happy knowing that his brother, Bob was looking out for him. Bob knew Harry, Jolly and Bruno would pick on Teddy again and planted the ‘special jar of honey to give them a taste of their own medicine.

Teddy helped Bruno, Harry and Jolly wash the taste of vinegar away. The three of them had learnt a very valuable lesson and apologized to Teddy. They never played pranks again.

Jay’s April Fool’s Surprise

Jay, the deer was naive. While, he lived peacefully with all the animals of Nandavan, the animals would always try to take advantage of Jay’s innocence. They would play pranks, but Jay would never feel bad and always had a smile on his face.

One day, the animals realized that Jay was missing for a few days. The next day, Sanju, the jackal saw Jay behaving suspiciously. Jay was headed in the direction of the old banyan tree. Sanju followed him and from a distance. He saw Jay hiding a piece of paper. Then, he went away. When Sanju picked up the paper, the note read, “Just two more weeks and victory will be ours. We will rule the forest.

When Sanju showed the note to the other animals, they were shocked. They all wondered what Jay was up to. More importantly, they were all wondering who Jay’s partner was.

Jay was nowhere to be seen for another week until Heera, the parrot noticed him sneaking up to the old banyan tree. Like last time, he placed a note there.


When the other animals read his message, they were even more upset. “The day of our victory is drawing close. I can hardly wait. In a few more days the entire forest will bow their heads before us and obey our every command,” read the message.

Now the animals needed to get to the bottom of this as soon as possible. Heera was given the responsibility of finding out who Jay’s partner was. He watched over the tree for five days, but nobody came.

On the sixth day he realized that the grass near the hollow of the banyan tree was suddenly fresh and green, it had been dry all this while. Heera quickly called the other animals.

There they found yet another note. “Our wait has borne fruit. The day is finally here. All necessary preparations have been taken care of. Meet me tomorrow at 9 o’clock in the morning near the peepal tree by the river. Be careful nobody should know of our plan,” said the message.

All the animals were very eager to find out who the mysterious person was and what Jay’s plan was. They decided that they would all go to the river bank and get to the bottom of this mystery. That night, the animals hardly slept. They gathered around a bonfire and discussed what they could do the next day.


The next morning, when they reached the peepal tree, they were all annoyed. Everywhere they looked, there were signs that said “April Fool!”

When all the animals began to walk back to their homes, they found Jay walking towards them. “What’s the matter?” he asked trying hard not to laugh.

“All these years you played tricks on me and I said nothing and took it in sport. I played along because I realized it made you happy. But now, I have managed to fool each and every one of you,” said Jay.

All the animals apologized for taking Jay for granted and promised not to repeat their mistake. Jay had managed to teach them a valuable lesson.

They all had a hearty laugh and walked back home with Jay on their shoulders.


The Minister of Laughs

The king of Champakvan, Maharaja Sher Singh was under a lot of stress. He stopped visiting the royal court. He just stayed in his chambers, lost deep in thought. He no longer ate or slept properly and barely spoke to the other Ministers.

“What happened to the king?”

“What caused our jolly king’s mood to turn?”

“What will become of our kingdom?”

Such questions spread across the kingdom. The people too were feeling no better. The king had given strict orders not to let anybody disturb him. Animals who set off in hopes of cheering the king up returned disappointed.


One day, the king was standing by his window. He enjoyed standing there as the greenery that surrounded his palace made him happy.

Below his window, he saw children playing. Samba, the cub was one of them.

“Look, over there,” said Samba. “It’s Damru, the donkey. Let’s play a prank on him.”

“Let’s send him to the palace,” said the rest of the gang.

They called out to him and as he walked towards them, Samba said, “Don’t forget to keep a straight face OK? If we burst out laughing, the whole plan will be ruined.”

“Oh Damru, we’re so glad we found you. We’ve been looking everywhere for you. The king wants to see you immediately,” said Samba.

“The king wants to see me?” asked Damru. “But why?”

“We’re not sure, but we heard the news from the Ministers that the King is looking for a new Minister. Your name was being brought up a few times. They asked me to go fetch you,” said Samba.

“Wow! Do you know what this means Damru? The king wants to make you his minister. Go meet the king at once!” said Lambu, the giraffe.

“We will be waiting for you right here. Don’t forget to bring us sweets!” said the children.

Damru could hardly believe his ears. He jumped with joy and quickly set off towards the palace. Once Damru was out of earshot, the children burst in to laughter.

The king remembered it was April fool’s day. He thought of his days as a young cub and all the pranks he had played. They stirred such strong memories that he too began to laugh.

His laughter grew louder and louder. A Minister ran in to the chambers hearing the commotion and found the king holding his stomach and gasping for air.


Before he could raise an alarm, the king managed to say, “I’m fine. Don’t worry. Damru is coming to see me. Ensure he is sent in. I want to meet him.”

When the Minister reached the entrance, the guards were laughing at Damru. “I’m telling you,” he said. “The king sent for me. He wants to appoint me as his minister.”

With a stern voice, the Minister said, “Let him in.”


The guards quickly stood in attention and allowed Damru to pass. They walked together in to the royal chambers where the king waited.

When he saw Damru, the King couldn’t help but smile. Damru felt a little uneasy.

“Don’t be afraid Damru,” said the King. “It seems the children have played an April fool’s day prank on you.”

Damru’s face fell.

“Don’t feel bad Damru,” added the King. “I’m still going to make you my minister. From today, you are going to be my Minister of Laughs. You will be the royal entertainer at my court.” |


Damru was so excited, he could barely control himself. He jumped with joy and danced around the room.

Meanwhile, outside the children were getting worried. Damru had still not returned. They hoped something bad hadn’t happened to Damru. They waited for him by the palace entrance when the gates opened.

The guards announced “Make way for the Royal Minister of Laughs” and out walked Damru. The children were both shocked and surprised; Damru had actually become the king’s minister.

Soon, the news of the king cheering up spread like a wildfire and all the animals of Champakvan ran to the royal court. Damru entertained them and soon, the entire forest was back to being happy.

Once the celebrations had drawn to a close, Maharaj Sher Singh addressed the gathering.

“Laughter is crucial if one needs to lead a healthy life. I have been in a bad mood all this while, it must never happen again. This is why I have appointed Damru as my Minister of Laughs.”

From that day onwards, Damru always kept the king in a good mood. With a happy ruler leading the kingdom, Champakvan prospered.

A Fun April Fools Day

Minku, the mouse was always cheerful and loved to have fun. He had left a good impression on all the animals in the jungle.

Nandu, the elephant on the other hand was jealous that the animals loved Minku more and didn’t love him as much. Out of jealousy, he would not only trouble Minku but all his other friends too. Pandu, the bear, Rana, the monkey, Kanu, the deer and Gillo, the squirrel would face his wrath as well. While Minku and the others tried being friends with Nandu, he never accepted their friendship and would always trouble them.

Minku and the others decided to play an April Fool’s prank on Nandu. According to the plan Rana was supposed to befriend Nandu by the first of April and he had succeeded.

On April 1, Rana was riding on Nandu’s back. Rana came close to Nandu’s ears and said, “Hey Nandu, lets go down to the river bank. I heard the banana trees have borne ripe bananas.”

“Ripe bananas? I love ripe bananas. Let’s go!” said Nandu

When they reached the banana trees full of ripe bananas, they found a basket full of the yummy fruits.

“Look over there, Nandu,” said Rana. “It’s a basket full of bananas. I wonder who they belong to?”

“Why don’t we ask?” suggested Nandu.

Rana called out loud, “Hey! Is there anybody here? Is this your basketful of bananas?” Rana called out loud a few more times but he got no answer. There was nobody nearby.

Nobody except for Minku and the rest of the gang who were hiding close by, ready for phase two of the plan to begin.

Nandu was finding it hard to control himself. The smell of the bananas was driving him crazy and if he could, he would eat all the bananas in one go. “I don’t think anybody is coming to claim these bananas Rana. Let’s just eat them,” he said.


He gave Rana a few bananas and quickly began peeling the rest. “Such fresh bananas!” he exclaimed before putting them in his mouth.”

Behind them, Minku and the others were trying hard not to laugh. Nandu popped banana after banana into his mouth.

Suddenly Nandu stopped. There was a foul, bitter taste in his mouth.

“What’s the matter, Nandu?” asked Rana.

Nandu immediately began spitting the bananas out of his mouth. When he noticed that the bananas were stained bright red, his heart skipped a beat.


“What is that Nandu?” asked Rana looking frightened.

Nandu took off in the direction of Dr. Max, the dog’s clinic paying no attention to Rana’s cries asking him to stop.

Minku, Rana and the rest of their gang ran behind Nandu to witness what was going to happen at Dr. Max’s clinic.

When Nandu reached Dr. Max’s clinic, he was out of breath. With difficulty, he managed to say “Doctor… my mouth.”

Dr. Max was taken aback by Nandu’s state. “How did you hurt your mouth Nandu?” asked Dr. Max. “Do you still feel any pain?”

“No doctor, I didn’t hurt myself,” said Nandu.

Dr. Max took a closer look inside Nandu’s mouth with a torch. He found no injuries there. But when he noticed the little pieces of betel leaves in his mouth, he laughed.

“What is it doctor?” asked Nandu. “Will I be ok?”

“You are going to be fine Nandu,” said the doctor. “It seems like somebody has played an April fool’s day prank on you. It seems you have eaten a whole bunch of betel leaves along with the bananas. That is why your mouth is red.”

“It was a prank?” asked Nandu looking confused. “But who would want to play a prank on me?”

Nandu heard Minku, Rana and all the other animals burst in to laughter behind him. It didn’t take Nandu long to figure out who was behind the prank now. He realized that if he got upset, the others would make even more fun of him. So instead, he began to laugh too.

Danny, the donkey brought out a huge bouquet with a card that read “Happy April fooľs Day!” Nandu graciously accepted it.

“Tell me, how did you guys pull off the prank?” he asked.

“It took a little effort, but it was worth it.” said Minku. “We picked the best bananas and soaked them in neem leaf and bitter gourd juice. We filled another set with betel leaves and the third set we left as it was.”

“We placed the ones with the neem leaves at the bottom,” Rana added, “the ones with the betel leaves in the middle and left the plain bananas at the top. This way you would spit the bananas out only after eating the betel leaves and Rana could eat a few without any trouble.”


They all had another hearty laugh and took Nandu out for ice-cream to make up for the prank. Ever since that day Nandu was accepted as part of the gang

A Smart Pact

There was once a lion in Nandanvan named Rambo. He was very brave and would hunt down his prey with ease. But, it was a single mouse that was the cause of all his troubles. His name was Chinku and he lived in a burrow inside Rambo’s den.

He would eat pieces of Rambo’s food and would never go in search of food. Being the prankster that he was, not a single day would go by where Chinku didn’t trouble Rambo.

Rambo would shout at Chinku but this would have no effect on him. Chinku would stand by his burrow’s entrance and make faces at him.

Chinku had been crossing the line for the past few days. Every morning Rambo would wake up surrounded by chunks of his mane nibbled off by Chinku. Rambo yelled at Chinku, but as usual, it was of no use.

It was time to take some action. For this, Rambo found a cat named Rani. Rambo caught her and took her back to his den. She was scared.

“Don’t be afraid,” said Rambo. “I’m not going to hurt you. I need your help.”

Rani was surprised. What would the king of the jungle need from her?’ she wondered.

“You see, my den is not only my home, it is also the home of a pesky little mouse. I have not had a peaceful night’s sleep since he moved in and because he lives in a burrow; my paws are too big to reach inside. I want you to take care of this little problem of mine.”

Rani breathed a sigh of relief and said, “Your wish is my command your highness.”

Life inside Rambo’s den wasn’t too bad though. Rani got all the food she wanted without having to lift a finger. Her only problem was the fact that unless Chinku was out of the den, she couldn’t leave.

Chinku’s life on the other hand, was no longer as easy as it used to be. Because Rani was always on the prowl, he stopped coming out of his burrow. The only bright side for Chinku was the fact Rani got yelled at every time he managed to pull one of his pranks.


Soon, Chinku’s food supplies began to run out until he was forced to step out. As he began gathering stray pieces of meat, Rani sneaked up to him and caught him by surprise. She stood there and stared at him. Even though he was petrified, he looked her in the eye and said, “Good evening Rani.”

“It’s a good evening indeed,” she said. “I was hoping I’d bump in to you. You better get ready. It’s been a while since I have had a mouse for dinner.”


“I don’t think I need to be prepared for this. After all, generations of mice have met their end at the paws of a cat. I’m more worried about you Rani. I feel your end is quite near too.”

“What do you mean?” asked Rani.

“It’s a fact that Rambo doesn’t like me. But if you kill me, he would have no need for you.

What is the guarantee that he won’t eat you?” asked Chinku. “As long as I live, you will live.”


Rani agreed. “You make a fair point. Let’s make this easy for the both of us. I will provide you all the food you need if you don’t trouble Rambo. That way, we all stay happy.”


They came to an understanding. From that day onwards, Chinku stopped troubling Rambo and Rani never managed to catch him.

The Girl Who Loved to Learn

Kaveri loved to read. Learning about new things always excited her. At the beginning of the new school term, her mother picked up her books from the bookshop, and Kaveri spent the first couple of days wrapping them in brown paper. She stuck the labels, and wrote down her name, class and subject.


Then the fun began! Kaveri picked up her English book and eagerly read all the stories. She also made a note of interesting lines or ideas as she read. She found out more about the author and the other stories written by him/her from the local library or the internet. The additional information made for an interesting read.

Soon, Kaveri managed to read all the other subject books as well. Her friends wondered how she always seemed excited about reading the textbooks while they found finishing even one lesson tiresome! She read extra just for fun!

Kaveri’s teachers were happy with her work and her performance in the exams. It was not just the marks that impressed them. They liked how she would pack interesting facts and information in her answers. This was because she read not for exams but to gain knowledge. So she was never tensed before any exam.

Kaveri’s parents were proud of her. Her mother said each subject should be understood. Language was important. If she was learning poetry, then her mother would suggest that she try and write poems—that made learning fun.

One day in class, the English teacher asked the kids to write a short story. Kaveri finished it in a flash!


“I have written a scary story,” she announced, and began reading: Two people were travelling in a train. One asked the other “Do you believe in ghosts?”

“No,” replied the other.

“Oh really?” said the first and vanished!

The class thundered with laughter.


Kaveri was popular with her classmates because she would always share with them a joke or story that she had read. She was curious about things and had an open mind. She was good at vocabulary too!

Exam jitters? No way! Kaveri saw learning as fun and she was not afraid of exams. Learning was fun for her!

Chimbu traps the Frauds

Wily the Wolf, who was a petty thief, left his jungle in Madhuvan and came to Champakvan in search of a good fortune. He was hungry and desperately knocked at doors to ask for food. He peeped into Blackie the Bear’s shabby home. Blackie, who lay under a sheet, was seriously ill.

When he went to Miku the Rabbit’s burrow, he saw Miku shivering with fever and a doctor checking him.

“Ugh! Here in Champakvan everyone has fallen sick. I’ve come here at a wrong time. I myself may fall sick. Phew!”

Wily looked around in desperation. “Hey! There’s someone who isn’t bedridden!” It was Kalu the Crow, an idler like Wily who was sitting in the veranda of his house at the top of a tree.

“Brother, I left Madhuvan and came here hoping for a better life. But I see the animals suffering with sicknesses. Friend, you are the only one who can help me. Have pity on this starving orphan!” Wily begged Kalu.

Kalu broke into a smile. “I myself depend on others for food. Now that everyone is struck by this mysterious disease, I hardly get anything to eat.”

“Mysterious disease! Tch! Tch! Your King’s not doing anything in this matter?”

“Our King Sher Singh died a week ago.” Kalu murmured sadly. “Ever since, there’s no one to work for our welfare.”

“Your King’s dead!” Though hungry and desperate, Wily was frantically planning how to make use of the situation. King’s dead…mystery disease spreads fast…patients worried. Whew! An ideal opportunity for spreading false beliefs and fooling the desperate patients….

Wily spoke cheerfully, “A clever one will turn adversity into opportunity. The animals are scared of the mystery disease. We can easily fool them by promising to help them with magical powers.

Wily described the plan. Kalu cheerfully agreed to assist Wily and the duo immediately got ready to carry out the plan.

Kalu flew here and there and spread the news that a sage with magical powers was camping at the cave in the Champakyan forest, and that he could cure them of the mystery disease. The news spread like wildfire. Soon a large crowd rushed to the cave. Wily was sitting inside the cave with closed eyes. The animals eagerly waited to hear the sage’s answer.

“You all have forgotten Sher Singh soon after his death. You all did nothing to honour the dead. The king’s spirit is roaming around to take revenge. The revengeful spirit has sent the mystery disease.” Wily Baba cleared their doubts.

“Oh! The spirit! Baba, tell us what’s to be done to please the revengeful spirit and get rid of it.” They were terrified.

“Ah! It’s so easy to make them believe my lies! This is the chance for me to get rich,” thought Wily.


“Offer whatever you can to the spirit that’s haunting Champakvan: tasty food, grains, fruits. Bring them to Sher Singh’s den. My assistant Kalu and I will remain in the den to deal with the spirit. Continue to send the offering until everyone is free off the disease,” Wily said.

“Friend, you’re indeed a great fraud! Haunting spirit…revenge… ha…ha…” Kalu admired his new friend’s smartness.

Every day, the terrified animals faithfully brought offerings to the den: a variety of fruits, mouth-watering food, bags of grains. The duo collected the items, stored them in a dark cell and ate and drank to their heart’s content.

Chimpu the Monkey was a science teacher had just arrived at Champakvan to work in the Jungle High School.


One day on his way to the school, Chimpu saw the animals standing with bags and baskets outside the den. He found out what was going on and why they were offering food and grains to Wily.

“Uff! What a blind belief!” Chimpu decided to trap the cheats and teach a lesson to the superstitious animals. He bought a tiny spy camera. The next day, he too joined the animals standing at the den with offerings. He entered the den along with the crowd and swiftly tucked the spy camera into a flower vase.

Chimpu eagerly waited for the next day. The next day while inside the Den, Chimpu stealthily removed the camera from the vase.

“Hurray! The cheats are caught! Chimpu screamed while watching in his T.V. the scenes recorded by the camera. Not knowing that a hidden camera was recording their actions and speeches, Wily and Kalu greedily collected the items.


“What an easy way to earn! Let’s remain here for a few more days and then escape with our earnings,” said Wily.

I must get half the collection, okay?” said Kalu.

The animals, including the sick ones, watched what was recorded by the hidden camera.

“Ugh! What a shame! We believed that Sher Singh’s spirit’s taking revenge and lost our grains and money to the crooks. Let’s run and catch the crooks before they escape.”

The angry animals rushed to the den and got them arrested.

Turning to the crowd Chimpu said, “Friends, the illness that the animals are suffering from is nothing but malaria. All over here I can see pools of dirty water and blocked drains. No wonder mosquitoes are breeding, resulting in the spread of malaria. You must get medical help instead of going to frauds who pretend to have magical powers. Your illness has worsened and you have lost your money.”

The animals nodded their heads.

“Thank you, Mr. Chimpu, for opening our eyes.”.

Bondhu Seeks His Own Identity

There was a donkey named Bondhu (meaning foolish). Bhondu was named aptly, as he would often behave foolishly. His favourite activity was to copy others. He knew nothing else. When he saw monkeys leap about he would copy them, although he would fall down and hurt himself. Seeing horses race he would try to run as fast as them. Even the passersby would laugh at his antics.

One morning, Bondhu was walking past a peepal tree. He heard Ginni, the cuckoo’s melodious voice coming from there. Her cooing was melodious.

“Wow, what a sweet song. I will also sing like her,” Bondhu thought to himself.

The next morning, Bondhu placed a chair in front of his house and began singing loudly. However, instead of cooing, he brayed hee-haw, hee-haw.

“Why is this happening?” he wondered. “I am trying to coo, but all that I can do is bray.” He was puzzled. He wanted to sound just like Ginni.

He met Ginni and asked, “Ginni, what does one do to sing like you?”

She replied, “You should learn to sing. A music teacher can teach you to sing well.”

He said, “So that’s what it is. I was thinking that I was incapable of singing. All I need is a teacher. I will learn and become a good singer.”

He soon found a teacher who taught several animals in the jungle. He sat with the others and learnt the basic musical notes. He went home and practised what he had learnt. However, his voice still sounded like a broken flute.

Bondhu thought for a long time. Finally, he remembered that his teacher had used a guitar while teaching them to sing. He realised that he was trying to sing without the guitar. He then sat down with his guitar and started singing again. His neighbour, the crow, screamed, “Grrr… I have been tolerating Bondhu’s harsh voice for so many days. I can’t tolerate it anymore.”


Unfortunately for Bondhu, all his neighbours nodded their heads in agreement and told Bondhu to stop disturbing them.

“I have to face so many insults I just want to learn to sing.” Bondhu’s face fell. How could he practice if everyone around was objecting to it. He was almost in tears.

Mittu, the parrot who was passing by, asked, “What happened, Bondhu? Why are you so sad?”

Bondhu narrated the recent developments to the parrot.

Mittu replied, “If you want to learn to sing; listen carefully to the songs you want to learn and sing along with them. Then you will become a singer. Have you heard me mimicing everyone?”

Bondhu’s eyes were shining in anticipation. He bought some music discs and began singing along with them. However, he was still out of tune. He began to sing loudly. Although he realised that he couldn’t hold a tune, he still continued singing. After some time, no sound emerged from his throat. It was very sore.

“Well, Bondhu, are you enjoying your singing?” asked Minni, the bird, who was sitting on a branch nearby.

He replied sadly, “Go ahead, make fun of me and laugh at my helplessness.”

“I am not making fun of you. I am laughing at your foolishness. You cannot imitate everything. Nature blesses all individuals with certain unique gifts. Try as much as you can, you cannot get them by copying others. Since our brains are different we speak different languages. We also grasp things differently and at different paces.


Thus, a cuckoo cannot speak the language of a crow, nor can a crow speak the language of a cuckoo. Therefore, instead of copying others find your own identity. Make a name for yourself,” Minni advised him in a kind tone.

Bondhu understood. He thought, “By trying to copy the cuckoo, I lost my voice.” “Although it’s a bit late, I can still change myself.”

“Better late than never,” thought Bondhu, and he went in search of developing his own identity.

Literary Voyage

A famous Danish philosopher, Søren Aabye Kierkegaard (1813-1855), said once that we are what we eat. Similarly, the books we read become a part of us. Books have a wonderful way to take us to places we’ve never visited. They help us experience and understand how life goes on in other parts of the world. Several masterpieces of literature are still read and admired. We bring five much loved books, set in beautiful locations across the world. Get ready to explore.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

Tom Sawyer lives with his Aunt and his brother in a fictional town along the banks of the Mississipi River. His best friends are Huckleberry Finn and Joe Harper while Becky Thatcher is the schoolgirl Tom falls in love with. The book tells us about the adventures of Tom and his friends; where they solve a murder mystery, have lots of fun, crack jokes, and share laughter and tears together.



Heidi by Johanna Spyri

Heidi is an orphan child who lives in Switzerland with her grandfather, hundreds of goats, and her best friend Peter. Their life in the Alps, in the pristine mountain is a wonderful one, until Heidi is forced to move to Frankfurt, Germany to keep company with Clara. The book compares two different environmental sets: the natural one versus the industrial. Heidi who has lived amidst nature is healthy, and full of life, whereas Clara is paralyzed and has a less bubbling personality.



Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne

The book narrates a fantastic adventure of a scientist- inventor, Phileas Fogg and his French valet called Passerpartout. Phileas places a bet  that he can complete a journey  around the world in just 80 days. Phileas and Passepartout travel from London to Italy  to Suez and then further ahead to Mumbai, Kolkata, Hong Kong, Yokohama, San Francisco, New York, and finally back to London. They face many challenges; they get separated, get robbed, they even manage to save an Indian lady, and finally they reach on time and win the bet.



Madeline by Ludwig Behelmand

This is a series that shows the adventures of Madeline, set in Paris. The book always opens with the line: “In an old house in Paris that was covered in vines, lived twelve little girls in two straight lines…”. Among these girls is Madeline. In the first book, Madeline gets an appendicitis operation. Brave Madeline is least bothered about it. For her, a trip to the hospital is an adventure.




The Blue Umbrella by Ruskin Bond

Most of Ruskin Bond’s books are influenced by his childhood spent in hill stations at the foothills of Himalaya. One such book is about a little girl, Binya, who trades her necklace for a pretty blue umbrella. Everyone loves her blue umbrella, much to the envy of the shopkeeper from whom she had traded it. Ultimately the shopkeeper convinces Binya to trade back the umbrella for her necklace.




Jojo’s Junk Food Problem

“Young Jojo, the elephant was excited as he had been invited for his friend’s birthday party.

“It is Ronny’s birthday on Sunday. He is organising a pool party. We’re going to have a blast!” he said to his mother.

“Did you say, Sunday?” asked his mother, flapping her large ears.

“Yes. He says that there will be delicious food and lots of games,” said Jojo, now facing his mother.

“Jojo, I am sorry, but we may not be able to go,” said his mother. “Sunday is the Forest Elephant Day. I want you to come along. You’ll get to meet all your distant relatives and cousins.”

“No, mommy. I don’t want to go for that,” said Jojo, extending his trunk to touch his mother’s. “I cannot miss Ronny’s party. Please!” he said, making a cute face.

“The celebrations will be fun, Jojo. All the animals will assemble at the main ground. There will be a speech by our lion king praising the efforts elephants take to protect the forest. There will be delicious food,” said Jojo’s mother, trying to convince him.

“What food?” questioned Jojo, twitching his trunk.

“They will have watermelons, musk melons, pineapples, bananas of all varieties and jack fruits. Isn’t that great?” mother tried to impress Jojo.

“Oh, mommy!” said Jojo, rolling his eyes. “That is the food we eat every day. Such dull and unattractive food!” he said with a slight snort.

His mother was silent for a second. She then asked, “What is the menu at Ronny’s pool party?”


“He has ordered pizzas, burgers, wafers, noodles, and French-fries. There will be lots of cola drinks, too!” answered Jojo. “I’ll have a few bottles of cola once I reach Ronny’s house. Then I’ll have some after the cake-cutting. Then, I’ll have more while playing and finally, some more bottles of cola before leaving the party,” he rattled off in excitement.

“You know what you call this menu?” asked Jojo’s mother concerned. “It’s called JUNK! And junk food is not good for your health. By the way, what do they have for dessert?”

“Fruit salad,” replied Jojo, in a sad tone.

Jojo realised that his mother would not allow him to eat junk food.

His mother sensed that Jojo was sad. So, to lighten the mood, she asked him, “Didn’t you mention games? What games are you going to play at the party?”

Jojo immediately brightened up and replied, “We’ve planned a swimming competition. Then, there’ll be a throw ball competition and finally, a card game.”

“The games sound interesting,” said his mother, trying to cheer him up. “But avoid eating junk food. You can attend the pool party and then rush to the main ground to join me for the buffet.”

Jojo was happy that mother allowed him to attend the pool party.

Finally, Sunday arrived. Jojo and his mother got ready and left for their respective events.

Jojo and his friends had a great time at the pool party. Though mother advised him to avoid junk food, the temptation was too much for Jojo to resist.

“Mommy won’t find out. I’ll eat some fruits at the elephant festival. That way mommy will not doubt me,” he thought to himself.


Following the competitions, Ronny was declared the fastest swimmer, while Jojo was judged the best player in throw ball. Jojo was given a big bottle of cola as a prize. He was elated.

After the party, Jojo rushed home to hide his prize and then went to the main ground to join his mother for the Elephant Day celebration.

By the time Jojo reached the main ground, the celebration was in full swing. King Leo was thanking all the elephants for their role in maintaining the forest’s ecosystem. After his speech, the animals proceeded to the buffet.

All kinds of fruits were piled up to form big mountain-like structures.

Jojo’s mother carried a big watermelon and dropped it on the ground before him. But Jojo could hardly eat. His tummy was already full.

“If I eat even one more bite, I will puke,” he thought to himself.

“Why aren’t you eating?” asked Jojo’s mother concerned.

“I’m very tired, mommy. I just want to sleep,” said Jojo.

His mother quickly bid all her friends goodbye and walked home with Jojo. By this time, Jojo was already going through a terrible tummy ache. His stomach was rumbling quite loudly.

“I can hear your tummy, Jojo,” said his mother. “I’ll get you something to eat.”

“It is okay, mommy,” said Jojo, looking down. He could not face his mother as he had lied. He also realised how concerned his mother was regarding his well-being.

“It’s not okay,” said Jojo’s mother, leading him to the stream. “Drink some water. You’ll feel better.”

His mother was right. Jojo felt better after drinking the cool water from the stream.

Once they reached home, both of them went to bed. Jojo’s mother fell asleep almost immediately. But Jojo woke up and walked silently to the spot where he had hidden the cola bottle.


Jojo carried the bottle out and dumped it in a garbage bin. The bottle was gone and so were Jojo’s guilt and weakness for junk food!


A Cause for Celebration

It was a big day in the Arabian Sea. All the fishes were travelling towards the Sea Palace. It was the birthday of their princess, Julia, the mermaid.

Mermaids look different from ordinary fishes. A mermaid’s upper body is human and her lower half is a fish.

A grand birthday party was organised at the palace for which all the fishes were invited. Among the invitees at Princess Julia’s birthday party were the whales, sharks, lionfishes, jellyfishes, octopuses and the three-legged fish.

They all made their way to the palace carrying gifts.

The palace lawn had the food stalls. The menu included sushi, soups, noodles and stir-fried chicken. Besides, they had Asian bamboo rice, butter chicken, kebabs, Korean vegetable dumplings, and fruit ice cream.

The guests were enjoying the delicious food and the pastry.

A stage had been set up where several young fishes were performing a variety of dances including step-dance, hip-hop, salsa.

Another big stage was set up at the centre of the palace. It was beautifully decorated with glittering garlands, balloons, flowers and glowing stars.

On the stage was a large seven-tiered chocolate cake.

Princess Julia, wearing a beautiful blue gown and a diamond crown, arrived on the stage along with her friends. The guests welcomed her with a loud applause.

As Julia cut the cake, the guests sang, “Happy birthday to you, Julia!” Princess Julia was overjoyed.

Everyone was having fun at the party when suddenly, a dolphin whistled loudly. The other dolphins too followed suit.


Dolphins can make different kinds of sounds to convey different messages. The other guest at the party knew the sound that the dolphins were making now meant there was danger nearby. When the guests asked them, one of the dolphins said, “A big fishing vessel is on the way to catch us!”

All the fishes panicked. They started running helter-skelter but a blue whale stopped them.

“Do not panic! The humans don’t know that if I get angry, I can topple the whole ship!” said the blue whale. “I am after all the largest animal known to have ever existed—I am four times larger than a large dinosaur and weigh several tonnes more. Please carry on with the party while I go and teach those fishermen a lesson.”

“Please do not harm them. Just scare them away,” said Princess Julia.

The blue whale left the party accompanied by a large shark. When the two returned after a while, everyone eagerly gathered around them to find out what had actully happened.

When the blue whale and the shark opened their jaws, four fishermen with diving gear and spears came out of them. They looked terrified.

All the guests were shocked!

“Princess Julia, we should thank the dolphins for warning us in advance otherwise all of us would have been trapped in their net. These humans had come prepared to catch even the largest of fishes. They had large nets and spears with them,” said the blue whale.

“We must punish them severely for this, Princess Julia,” said the shark.

“Yes, we must punish them!” the other fishes agreed.

The fishermen trembled at the sight of all the angry fishes. They turned to Princess Julia and begged for forgiveness.

“We will never come here again. Please don’t punish us,” the fishermen pleaded.

Princess Julia felt sympathetic towards the fishermen.


“Today is a day of happiness. Let’s not punish these men. Let’s forgive them and include them in our celebrations so that they too can share our happiness,” said Princess Julia.

All the fishes were pleased with the princess’s decision.

“That’s how a princess ought to be!” they applauded her.

The Special Treatment

Harry, the fox had a farm in which he grew different kinds of vegetables and sold them at the market. Now, it was the season for bottle gourds. Since they were in high demand, Harry sold his big, peerless bottle gourds at the market for a handsome price.

Recently, some eggplants had sprouted from the patch nearby. They were in awe of the bottle gourds.

“Oh my! How beautiful you all look!” one of the eggplants complemented the bottle gourds.

“Thank you! We are indeed beautiful,” said the bottle gourds, admiring themselves.

“But how is it that some of you are unusually big?” asked another eggplant.

“There is nothing unusual about it. Our master gives us vitamin injections every day, early in the morning. They help us grow big and healthy,” said one of the bottle gourds, swinging in the air.

“Vitamin injections? Why? Are you unwell?” enquired the eggplants.

“No. Vitamin injections are given to make us more beautiful since master loves us the most,” replied the bottle gourds proudly.

The eggplants were jealous of the special treatment that the bottle gourds were getting. They wanted to see those vitamin injections and if possible, get some for themselves. They did not like the way they looked—dark and stubby.

Early next morning, the eggplants waited eagerly to see what injection their master Harry administered to the bottle gourds. Fanny, the fox was walking by when she noticed the little eggplants huddled behind the leaves, their gaze focused on the bottle gourds.

“Hello! Looks like somebody’s secretly admiring the beautiful bottle gourds,” said Fanny smiling.

The eggplants were taken by surprise. They did not expect to see Fanny so early in the morning. She usually came the farm later in the day to collect fresh vegetables for Dr. Giro, the giraffe at whose house she worked.

“No, no! We were just trying to find out what injection does our master Harry administer to the bottle gourds that makes them grow so big and beautiful,” said the eggplants embarrassedly.

“What injections?” asked Fanny curiously.

“The bottle gourds said they are some vitamin injections that Harry gives them every morning,” replied the eggplants.

Fanny recalled that just the previous day she had made bottle gourd juice for Dr. Giro and he had sent it back saying it was too bitter. And many animals had come to Dr. Giro’s clinic complaining of food poisoning and the common food that all of them had eaten was bottle gourd.

“I think Harry has already given the bottle gourds the injections. See! There’s a bottle lying under their creepers,” said an eggplant.

Fanny checked the ground where the eggplant was pointing to and found a small bottle. She quickly pocketed the bottle and hurried home.


As soon as she reached home, Fanny told Dr. Giro about the vitamin injections that Harry was giving the bottle gourds and handed over the bottle she had found in Harry’s farm.

Dr. Giro did some tests on the residue in the bottle. When the results came, his face turned serious.

“What is it, Sir? Is something wrong?” asked Fanny worried.

“Yes, Fanny. This is an oxytocin injection given to artificially boost the growth of vegetables. With this injection, the bottle gourds grow big and mature in just 3-4 days, so Harry is able to sell lots of them in a short span of time, and that too at a good price,” said Dr. Giro. “This is the reason that the animals have been falling sick after consuming the bottle gourds.”

“How does it harm our health, Sir?” asked Fanny.

“By consuming vegetables or fruits with oxytocin in them over a long period of time, our liver could get affected. This chemical can also cause the blood pressure to shoot up, leading to diseases of the heart,” explained Dr. Giro.

“Oh no! Harry is causing so much harm to all the animals just for his own greed. We must inform the police,” said Fanny.


“You’re right, Fanny,” agreed Dr. Giro. He dialled the police station and informed Inspector Chiro, the cheetah about Harry.

Next day, Chiro caught Harry red-handed while he was injecting the bottle gourds with oxytocin. The news of Harry’s arrest spread across the forest. All the animals were astonished that Harry had been injecting the vegetables in his farm with chemicals.

The bottle gourds too were surprised to learn about it and were ashamed of themselves. Meanwhile, the eggplants were relieved that they hadn’t been injected. They no more wished to change anything about themselves.

Baddy Reforms Himself

All the animals of Champakvan avoided Baddy fox. He had a habit of picking fights with everyone and enjoyed playing mean pranks.

One day, all the animals gathered to discuss Baddy’s behaviour. They wanted to find a way to deal with him.

“We must try to avoid Baddy. Whenever he is around, we must get out of his way,” said Cheeku rabbit.

“But why should we avoid him?” asked Jumbo elephant. “He must be taught a lesson. We cannot walk around hiding from him.”

“It is easy for you to say, Jumbo. He frequently picks on us small animals,” said Meeku mouse. “I feel Cheeku is right. It is better to stay away from Baddy.”

“I am not afraid of him. If he ever dares to cross my path, I will surely teach him a lesson,” said Jumbo.

Baddy who was intently overhearing their discussion, became angry when he heard Jumbo speak.

“Who is he to teach me a lesson? I will teach him a lesson instead,” thought Baddy.

Baddy came up with a plan to prank Jumbo. He cut the pipe that supplied water to Jumbo’s field. When the field dried up, Baddy waited for Jumbo to become furious and pick a fight with him. Instead, Jumbo quietly repaired the pipe and continued farming.

After a couple of weeks, Jumbo’s warehouse caught fire. Because of Jumbo’s alertness and some help from his neighbours, the fire was put out in no time and any damage was averted.

Though Jumbo knew Baddy was behind this mischief, he did not confront him. Baddy was puzzled by Jumbo’s behaviour.


That week, Baddy was on his way to the market on his cart to sell some sacks of grains. One of the wheels of the cart got stuck in the slush. When Baddy got down to push the cart, he slipped and fell into a pit that he had dug.

No matter how hard Baddy tried to get out, he slipped and fell right back. He tried calling out for help, but there was no one around.

“If I am not able to get out of this pit, I wonder how the smaller animals would have got out. I now understand how much trouble I have caused. I should not have dug these pits at all,” regretted Baddy.

Soon, it began to get dark and Baddy was still stuck in the pit. He was cold and hungry. Even the few animals that passed by refused to help him saying he deserved it.

When this news reached Jumbo, he said, “If we too think and act like Baddy, what is the difference between him and us?”

Jumbo requested everyone to help Baddy, and they all agreed. Together, they lifted Baddy out of the pit.

“I am ashamed of the way I behaved with all of you; especially you, Jumbo. Please forgive me,” apologised Baddy.


“To accept one’s mistake is in itself a big step towards change. You should use your strength and intelligence to help others,” advised Jumbo.

From that day on, Baddy turned a new leaf. He stopped troubling others and began helping everyone.

Milo’s Adventure

Milo, the mouse was watching a programme on television about hot air balloons and how humans travelled in it. Milo was awed by it and thought, “This is such a great idea! Animals like me who don’t have wings can fly in a hot air balloon!”

That evening, he met his friend Kiki, the bird to discuss it.

“Hey, Kiki! I have found a way to fly!” Milo said excitedly.

“How? Are you going to grow a pair of wings?” asked Kiki amused.

“Don’t be silly, Kiki! I saw a programme on the television about hot air balloons on which people float in the sky and even travel great distances,” said Milo.

“Wow! I have only seen aeroplanes do that. Are these hot air balloons like aeroplanes?” asked Kiki.

“No. A hot air balloon looks just like a regular balloon, but much bigger. There’s a basket attached underneath it, in which people can stand,” explained Milo.

Kiki was intrigued. She asked more questions about the hot air balloon: “How does it work? What if the person wants to land? And how does the balloon know which direction to go?”

Milo laughed. “So many questions! Okay, let me explain,” he said. “There is a burner below the opening of the balloon, the flame from which heats up the air trapped inside the balloon. Since hot air is lighter than the relatively cooler air outside the balloon, it slowly rises, lifting the balloon and the basket along with it. A person controls the burner depending on how much hot air is required, thereby adjusting the height at which the balloon floats. The wind helps gently blow the balloon in a particular direction.”

“Wow! You know so much!” said Kiki amazed. “But what I don’t understand is how are you going to fly?”

“I have some balloons left over from my birthday party. I will inflate them, tie them to a big cup or basket in which I will sit and fly!” said Milo.

“Great idea, Milo!” said Kiki.

“But I don’t have a big cup or basket,” said Milo, wondering what else he could use.

“Wait here. I’ll be right back,” said Kiki. She flew away and came back in a short while with a paper cup.

“This is perfect!” exclaimed Milo.

Milo pierced four holes on the cup and tied a lengthy piece of rope to each.


“The basket is ready. Now, for the balloons,” said Milo.

Together, Milo and Kiki blew into the balloons and inflated them. When they had enough, Milo asked Kiki to hold the four ropes together while he tied the balloons to them. He then sat inside the cup and asked Kiki to let go of the ropes.

Much to Milo’s excitement, the balloons began to rise, carrying him along. As they continued to rise, Milo looked down and saw his home getting smaller in size. He floated over his neighbourhood. Kiki clapped in glee. She began to fly along with Milo.

As the balloon went higher, the ground seemed far away. Milo began to panic.

“Kiki! Kiki!” shouted Milo.

“I am right here, Milo! What happened?” asked Kiki.

“I am scared. I am too high up in the air. Also, I hadn’t thought of a way to get down!” panicked Milo.

“Oh! Even I didn’t think of that!” said Kiki.

“I have an idea! Why don’t you sit on the balloons? Your weight will stop the balloons from going up any further,” said Milo.

“Yes, good idea,” said Kiki and sat on the balloons. Just as they had hoped for, the balloons stopped rising any further.

Now, how do we get you to land?” asked Kiki.

Milo thought for a while and asked, “Would you be able to pop a couple of balloons?”

“Oh, yes! With fewer balloons, you will be able to descend gently,” said Kiki.


She popped a couple of balloons and gradually, Milo began to float towards the ground.

But they were far from Milo’s house. Kiki flapped her wings and guided the balloon in the direction of his house. Soon, Milo landed safely right outside his house.

“Phew. Thanks, Kiki! That was quite an adventure we had today,” said Milo relieved to be back on the ground.

“Imagine if you had watched a programme on rockets! I wouldn’t be able to fly to space to fetch you back,” joked Kiki.

The two had a hearty laugh.

Holi in the Forest

Manu and Moosa, the mice had recently been to the city. There, they were awed by the grand preparations that were going on for the upcoming of Holi festival.

Once they returned to the forest, it was all they spoke about to any animal they met along the way.

“You should see the arrangements that were going on in the city. There were banners, flowers and decorations everywhere!” they said to the animals who had gathered around.

“You two are right,” said Kanu crow, who flew to the city every day. He had seen the preparations too. “With the variety of colours, food and music, the celebration is a treat to watch,” he said.

“Holi is in two weeks and we are the only ones who are not celebrating,” said Bani parrot glumly.

“In that case, why don’t we organise a Holi celebration in our forest?” suggested Bittu bear.

“Yes, let’s celebrate!” the other animals agreed enthusiastically. So, a meeting was fixed to discuss the details and all the animals of the forest were invited.

Within an hour, all the animals gathered, including King Rana the lion. Sona deer, Rinu fox and Jitu jackal were put in charge of the decorations, while Bittu bear, Dhanu elephant and Tinu tiger volunteered to clear the ground where the celebrations would take place. The birds were put in charge of collecting fruits for the feast.

“My dear friends, I have a suggestion,” said King Rana. “From what I understand, humans use artificial colours that are difficult to wash off, and also stain the water and soil. Taking a lesson from that, why don’t we use natural colours from flowers and berries? That way, even when we wash ourselves at the river, the water will not be polluted with artificial colours.”

“Excellent suggestion!” said Tinu. “We should also avoid using plastic plates and cups for the feast. The ground will be littered with plastic after the celebration and it will be difficult to clean. If one of the kids swallow a plastic cover by mistake, it is very dangerous.”


Everyone agreed and set about executing the tasks assigned to them. The monkeys collected fruits and berries to prepare different colours for the Holi celebrations. Some animals sewed leaves together to make plates and cups. Meanwhile, the koels and cuckoos practised their songs, and the horses practised their drums. The entire forest began to wear a festive look.

Finally, the day of Holi arrived. King Rana was impressed by the effort put in by all the animals.

Soon, the celebrations began. There was a riot of colours as the animals splashed colours on one another.

The kids sprayed each other with their pichkaris and some danced to the music.

The news of the grand Holi celebrations reached the animals in the neighbouring forests. Some of them dropped by to see the celebrations. They too were invited to take part in the festivities.


“Celebrating Holi is a lot of fun. I wonder why we didn’t do it before. Henceforth, let us celebrate any festival or event that spreads cheer and happiness, not just in our forest but in all the forests,” declared King Rana.

All the animals cheered the King Rana’s announcement. They continued celebrating through the day.