The Cricket Match

It was the first week of December and it was freezing outside. But Rahul did not care. He was excited about the cricket match scheduled on the coming Sunday, that Shivam’s team had challenged his team to.

“Don’t be so happy. Next Sunday you will not be able to score even 50 runs,” Shivam said after his team had lost the match.

“Next Sunday, Vivek will be playing with us. You know what a great bowler he is! We will see to it that your batsmen are unable to score proper runs,” Shivam’s friend, Ankur said in his support.

“Alright, let Sunday come. We will see Vivek and his bowling,” said Rahul.

Shivam’s team had lost by 22 runs because Rahul’s team had given them a huge
target of 170 runs in 20 overs. Saurav, their best batsmen, had scored many
fours and sixes.

The toss had been won by Shivam but he had opted for fielding first. He thought that his team would be able to reach whatever target was set for them.

But his team could not withstand any of Rahul’s bowlers. All were bowled out, one after the other.

On Sunday, Rahul had packed his cricket kit and by 8am he was on his way towards the ground. His other teammates met him along the way. The match was to begin at 9am. Saurav and his team also arrived on time.

On seeing Saurav, Rahul said, “Come on, Saurav, today we have to see your batting excellence. Last week, Shivam said that you have a friend named Vivek, who is a skilled bowler.”

“I know this Vivek. He used to study with me in the same school. We have
to beat them in this match. I will see to it that each ball of his gets a good hitting,” Rahul’s friend, Alam said swinging his bat.

Everyone had reached the ground and both the teams were ready to start the match.

But there was a problem —a foul stink was coming from the ground.

“It seems there is some dead animal here. It will be difficult to play,” said Lalit.

No one felt like playing because of the stench. Rahul, Saurav and Shivam covered their noses with handkerchiefs and moved towards the spot from where the stench was originating to find out what was wrong. The other boys followed them and they saw that a dead dog lying there.

“Now, what will we do? Today’s match is ruined,” Tushar expressed his worry.
“There is good ground near my school. Let’s go there and play,” suggested Alam.

“No, let’s not play today. It is our responsibility to remove the stench from here. Because if we cannot tolerate the smell, then just imagine how the people who live in the nearby huts will tolerate it,” said Rahul.

Most boys agreed with Rahul.

“But how and what can we do?” asked Tushar.

“My father is an officer in the municipality. I will call him right away,” said Vivek. He then called his father and gave him all the information.

“The arrangements will be made soon,” said his father. Everyone was very happy.

Within a few minutes, a small loading cart, a garbage lifting machine and a few municipality workers arrived at the ground. Seeing the municipal vehicle, people from the locality also gathered there.

The municipality workers lifted the dead dog with the help of the machine and put it in the garbage vehicle. Then they put some soil from the ground on top of the carcass, so that it would not emit stench along the way. Then they spread some bleaching powder on the ground surface and left.

After a while, there was no stench on the whole ground. The cold and light breeze was making the environment around pleasant.

A man from the nearby hut said to the boys, “Children, you have done a great favour to us. We were not able to breathe properly since yesterday.”

All the boys thanked Vivek’s father.

Rahul then turned to Shivam and said, “Vivek has done great bowling today. Just in one ball, he has changed the whole environment of not only our ground but of our whole locality.”

All the boys cheered together. Then the coin was tossed and their game of cricket commenced.

Ranu Has Changed!

Ranu was very happy that day. He had just won the 100-metre race in school. Ranu had been the school running champion for the past two years. He was a rich child who boasted about his wealth. His friends followed his lead and troubled other children in school.

Rohan studied in the same class as Ranu. He was an intelligent student. All the teachers in the school loved him. He was helpful, contributed to the cleanliness of the school, conserved plants and inspired others to do so. He gave his best in every competition—be it in drawing or debate.

Ranu was jealous of Rohan. He wanted everyone to love and follow him around. And to achieve that, he looked for ways to trouble Rohan.

One day while Ranu was sharpening his pencil in class, he deliberately threw the pencil shavings on the floor. Rohan saw him doing that and scolded him, “What is this, Ranu? You should not throw trash like this in the class.”

Before Ranu could respond, Dipesh mockingly said, “If it is bothering you so much, why don’t you pick the shavings up yourself?”

“Yes, you should pick them up. As it is you are an expert in cleanliness,” Deepak too mocked.

This was not the first time when Ranu and his friends, Deepak and Dipesh, had picked on Rohan.

Rohan quietly picked the pencil shavings from the floor and threw them in the dustbin.

“Ranu, you will have to pay a price for your wrongdoings one day. Just wait and watch,” Rohan told Ranu. As soon as Rohan said that Dipesh pushed him to the ground.

“What is happening here? Everybody go back to your seats.” They heard the teacher come in and everyone went back quickly.

Rohan could have complained to the teacher but he kept quiet.

The other kids in the class too kept quiet in fear of the teacher and Ranu and his friends.

“Children, I have some good news for you. Ranu has been chosen from our school for this year’s inter-state running competition. Ranu, will you please stand up?” asked the teacher.

Ranu stood up and everybody clapped for him. Ranu was overjoyed.

“Ranu, you have to start practising with dedication. I am confident that you will give this competition your best.” Ranu stood arrogantly when the teacher announced.

“Children, I am going to the principal’s office for some time. Meanwhile, please finish your revision. Ranu, please come with me,” said the teacher.

Ranu followed his teacher while his friends started teasing Rohan. They crossed all limits when they emptied the dustbin in the classroom.

“Come on, Rohan; get down to your favourite job for which you get the prize every year.” Rohan won the first prize for cleanliness every year. He was teased for that by Ranu and his friends.

Rohan understood that only time would teach them a lesson. He could have complained but he did not want to. Rohan picked up the garbage and threw it back in the dustbin and then sat on his seat and started studying.

The inter-state competition was just around the corner. Teachers and students were busy preparing for the competition. Rohan did not participate in sports because he had a foot problem. He either stayed back in his class and studied or took rounds of the school to check for cleanliness. He was on rounds that day too, when suddenly someone threw a banana peel in front of him. He saw Dipesh laughing at him.

“Pick this up too, you cleaning staff,” Dipesh mocked. This made Rohan angry and he said, “Pick it up, Dipesh; otherwise I am going to complain to the principal about you.” This turned into a heated argument between the two of them when, suddenly, Ranu came running towards them and pushed Rohan aside. But unfortunately, he stepped on the banana peel and fell down.

“O dear!” cried Ranu in pain.

Seeing Ranu fall, Rohan helped him to get up and asked, “Are you hurt, Ranu?”

Rohan saw Dipesh quietly getting away from the scene.

“Oh, I think I have sprained my leg. I cannot stand up,” Ranu cried in pain.

Soon, some of the teachers came there and asked, “What happened? How did you fall, Ranu? Who threw the peel here?”

Before Rohan could say anything Ranu said, “Ma’am, Dipesh threw the peel.”

Not only was Dipesh scolded, he was fined for throwing garbage outside the dustbin.

Ranu’s foot had swelled and the doctor instructed three weeks of rest as he had torn his foot ligament. Ranu was upset as he had to withdraw from the inter-state competition but had no choice.

He felt guilty about his behaviour. He never realised he would have to pay such a heavy price for it and started maintaining distance from his good-for-nothing friends.

After his foot healed, he went back to school as a transformed person. During lunch break, when all the children were playing and eating, a boy threw a napkin towards the dustbin that fell outside it. Before Rohan could get up, Ranu picked up the napkin and threw it in the dustbin.

“Thank you, Ranu” said Rohan.

Ranu could not control his tears and started crying.

“It is alright Ranu, there is always a next time. You will definitely win the trophy next year,” Ranu heard Rohan’s encouraging words and hugged him.

He was a changed person now.

The New Teacher!

Bonny Singh had recently become the Prince of the forest. One morning, he decided to take a tour of the forest to learn about his kingdom, especially the state of education.

He disguised himself to look like an old lion with a grey beard and moustache.

He walked slowly with the help of a stick so that no one could recognise him.

As he walked around, he saw many children, both young and old, playing around and disturbing other animals.

A few naughty ones tried to snatch his walking stick. Bonny was taken aback by this nasty behaviour.

“What is going on here? Why are the children behaving so badly and not in school? They are being very unkind,” he thought to himself.

He went to the palace and called Jacky jackal, the Education Minister to ask about the education system in the forest.

“My Prince, we do have a school in the forest, but no teachers are ready to teach despite us giving them high salaries.

Any teacher we hire, resigns within one week of them joining the school. The students too are not interested in studying so we had to shut down the school.”

Prince Bonny spoke to various retired teachers of the school and they too said the same thing, “There is nothing we can do. The children just do not wish to study.”

“What could possibly be the reason for the children not being interested in studies?” thought Bonny to himself.

He decided to understand the problem in-depth and asked permission from the King to do so.

Next morning, Bonny called his school friend Charlie cheetah.

Charlie had just completed his training in child psychology. He loved teaching and being with children.

Bonny requested Charlie to take over the responsibility of teaching the forest children.

The next day, Charlie reopened the school doors and got the entire school cleaned. He hired Chinki cat as an assistant.

A week passed, but no child came to school. Charlie then sent Chinki cat to meet the animals personally and find out why the children were not interested to come to school.

Chinki met and interacted with a lot of children and their parents.

“School is no fun. One has to only study and read books, memorise them and write an exam. What good is going to school then?” complained Robbie rabbit.

“And there are no games, sports, or fun activities and we have to only sit on the bench the entire time. I always have a backache after school,” added Ghazi goat.

“There is no fun during lunch either.

The food that mom prepares for us in the morning goes cold by lunchtime
and doesn’t taste good at all,” said Romi puppy.

“The children are not taught any practical skills and we want our children to know skills like plumbing, carpentry, sewing, and not textbook knowledge only,” added Romi’s father.

Chinki noted all the complaints and came back to school to discuss them with Charlie who smiled as he read all the concerns. He now understood the root cause of the problem.

After a few days, the animals of the forest were surprised to see a variety of swings on the school grounds.

Various sports equipment like balls, footballs, and cricket kits were arranged neatly in sports boxes.

A table had been arranged with colourful books and games like Carrom Board
and Ludo.

Charlie waited for the children to come to school after making all the arrangements.

A few of them circled around and looked curiously at the interesting items. They could not gather the courage to enter the school premises.

Charlie signalled Chinki who ran and kicked a football.

The football flew high and fell out of the school boundary, where Ghazi goat was standing.

“Please pass me the football, but make sure you kick it and not throw it with your hands,” said Chinki, encouraging Ghazi.

Ghazi looked around and kicked the football with all her strength.

The ball went straight inside the school. Ghazi was so thrilled, she called all her friends. Soon, a full-fledged football match started on the school premises.

It was a fun experience for all children.

Next morning, Charlie was pleased to see a few children coming to school.

He allowed them to play, paint and read stories along with studying the school subjects. Soon, the children started to enjoy coming to school.

They learnt tables in the form of songs. Lessons were taught using plays and skits.

Basic mathematics like addition and subtraction were taught by exchanging fruits among the students.

Science was explained using practical experiments while examples from real life were used to teach moral values.

Charlie asked the parents of the children to run the school kitchen for the children.

The meals were sponsored by the King who wanted the children to have fresh and nutritious food.

Soon, the school became popular and started running at full capacity.

As the number of students increased, a need for another school rose in the forest.

When Charlie went to meet Prince Bonny to open another school, Bonny asked, “How did this miracle occur, Charlie?”

“The children were always curious to learn new things. Textbook learning makes studies boring. They find education fun and interesting when practical examples are used. When we included fun activities to classroom learning, the children got interested along with adults,” explained Charlie.

Bonny was delighted to hear this. Charlie truly knew his role as a teacher was to make studies interesting.

He was appointed to handle the education department of the entire forest.

He trained many animals to his method of teaching so that all the children of the forest were happy to attend school daily.

Little Chichu

Little Chichu mouse was too naughty. She was not scared of anyone. She would proudly jump about without a care in the world. Even in front of Binno cat, she would confidently run around scaring the wits out of Pimpoo squirrel who lived under the ashoka tree. Once Binno almost pounced on little Chichu, and Pimpoo realized that it was only a matter of time before the cat would catch hold of the silly mouse. But every time, Chichu would run into her hole and escape, and Pimpoo would sigh in relief.

Pimpoo appreciated how Chichu could run to save her life, but her running around aimlessly was not the best way to spend time.

One day, Pimpoo stopped Chichu as she was running and said, “Chichu, why do you waste your time every day running around here and there? Don’t you have any work to do?”

“But if there’s no work, why should I work? My parents love me and never ask me to do any work,” said Chichu proudly.

“All parents love their children. What’s special about that? But tell me something—I never see you looking for food. How do you get your food?” asked Pimpoo.

Chichu kept a straight face and said, “I just told you! My parents adore me. When I run back home after playing, my mom has food arranged for me. I eat that and go to sleep without any worry.”

“Don’t you think, Chichu, that you’re grown now, and you should look for your own food?” asked Pimpoo.

“Well, I’ve already told you that my mom arranges everything for me. Why are you so bothered?” said Chichu and tried to run from there.

Pimpoo decided not to let her go and caught her before she could get away and said, “Hey, wait! Listen to me! Don’t get offended! I really like you. I would like to be your friend and so I spoke.”

“Oh, you should just have said that! Even I don’t have anyfriends. I mostly play alone and now we shall play together!

“All right! Let’s play now!” said Pimpoo excitedly. But Chichu had other plans.

“Not right now! I have to go home for lunch with my mom. I’ll come back, and then we can play,” said Chichu and ran to her hole.

After lunch, Pimpoo was resting under the ashoka tree, when Chichu came back. Pimpoo was ready to play and they played for quite a long time. When they were tired, they went back to their homes.

Chichu and Pimpoo continued to play every day. While playing, sometimes when Pimpoo would come across food and start eating, Chichu would become irritated. But Pimpoo explained, “My friend, I don’t have a mother to arrange food for me.


I must look and arrange for my own food. And what about when you run away home whenever you’re hungry? I don’t get irritated by that.”

“I’m sorry! I won’t mind. But I really am hungry now. I’ll quickly run home for food and be back in no time.” said Chichu.

“Take your time. Get some rest. I too am exhausted and need some sleep.” said Pimpoo.

No sooner had Chichu left, Pimpoo fell asleep.

She woke up hearing Chichu calling out to her, “Pimpoo, where are you? Please come out fast!”

“What happened, Chichu? Why do you look so worried?” asked Pimpoo, coming out of her nest.

“A sack of vegetables fell on mom, and she’s injured. She can’t move and is resting. Dad has gone to look for food. He has to work harder now. He would usually look for his own food and then help mom out. What do I do now? I’m really hungry!” said Chichu, worried.

“I can share food with you but from today, you will search for your own food and then eat. I will, of course, help you.” replied Pimpoo.

Chichu did not say anything.

With Pimpoo’s help, Chichu looked for food. Chichu enjoyed herself. Once she was full, she said, “Thanks a lot, my friend! I really enjoyed hunting food with your help. Now I’m sleepy; I must go home,” she said.

“Chichu, why don’t you take something for your mom?” suggested Pimpoo, empty handed?” asked Pimpoo.

Chichu was surprised and replied, “I go home like this every day, so it’s usual. What’s so special about today that I must take something for mom?”

“Well, on other days, your mom is not injured on bed.” said Pimpoo exploding.

“Oh! What do you suggest I do?” Chichu asked.

“Your mom always arranges for food. Today, take some food for her?” said Pimpoo.

“Where will I get food for her? I can’t think of anything,” said Chichu, sadly.

“I’ll help you out,” said Pimpoo.

The two friends started collecting food. When they had collected enough, Pimpoo
said, “Here, Chichu, take these to your mom. That should be enough.”

Chichu ran home, went straight to her mom and asked, “How are you feeling now, mom?”

“I am fine. But you must be hungry. Your dad will soon be here with food. You have to wait a little longer.” answered mom.

“Mom, I got food on my own. And I’ve brought food for you too. Here, have some nuts,” she said and kept the food in front of
her mom.

Her mom had tears in her eyes and she said, “My little daughter is all grown up now. But you’ve never done this before. How did you become so independent?”

“Mom, it’s all because of my friend, Pimpoo. She showed me to collect and cook food.”

“I’m glad that you have such a smart and thoughtful friend. Such true friends are gems. You must get your friend home one day. I want to meet her,” said mom.

Chichu ran to Pimpoo and said, “I’ve never seen my mom so happy, and it’s all because of you. You made me self-confident and self-reliant. Now I’ll not simply depend upon mom, but in fact, help her out.”

Seeing the change that came about in Chichu, Pimpoo was pleased. They went together searching for food every day

Surprise Birthday Party

Dadaji was visiting Aayush for his birthday. Aayush had invited all his friends to his house for a party. 

Aayush introduced everyone to his grandfather and the kids played many games. After spending an enjoyable evening, they bade goodbye and left.

“Aayush, all your friends enjoyed the party. But Rohan was quiet most of the time.” Dadaji said to Aayush when they had cleared the room.

“Dadaji, Rohan’s father was a captain in the army. He was killed during the Kargil war. Since then, Rohan remains sad most of the time.”

“Oh!” said Dadaji understanding Rohan’s quietness.

“Dadaji, why was the Kargil war fought?” asked Aayush sitting down. 

“In our northernmost region of Kashmir, lies the mountain of Kargil on the line of control with our neighbour, Pakistan. The Kargil War was fought in 1999 from May to July to protect the line of control. It was a very difficult terrain and our soldiers fought bravely for nearly sixty days and finally succeeded in getting back the occupied territory on the 26th of July by fighting Pakistan’s soldiers. Many lives were lost on both sides due to the war.” explained Dadaji.

He continued, “Therefore every year on 26th July we celebrate Kargil Victory Day in memory and pay homage to our brave soldiers.” 

“Rohan’s dad died in this war,” said Aayush sadly and added, “Not just that, he died on the day of Rohan’s birthday, which is why Rohan does not celebrate his birthday anymore.”

“He is a young child. He must be torn between celebrating his birthday and the memory of his father,” said Dadaji thoughtfully.

“Yes. And he misses his dad very much. His mother also does not want him to celebrate his birthday,” added Aayush.

“When is Rohan’s birthday?” suddenly Dadaji asked.

“Next Monday, Dadaji,” replied Aayush.

“Alright. Let’s get a good sleep. You must be tired.” said Dadaji.

“Goodnight Dadaji!” said Aayush and went to bed.

The following Monday at Rohan’s house, his mom asked him to wear new clothes. 

“Why should I wear new clothes, mom?  We do not celebrate my birthday,” said Rohan, quietly looking up at his mother.

Even though Rohan did not understand what was happening, he did what his mother asked, and put on new clothes.

Just then the door bell rang and mom asked Rohan to open the door. When he opened the door, he saw Aayush’s Dadaji, Aayush and his friends standing there.  They had balloons, a big cake and gifts in their hands. They all shouted together, “Happy birthday, Rohan!” Rohan did not know what to say and looked at his mother who was standing nearby smiling.

Dadaji told the children, “Come, let’s start decorating this room with balloons.” The children got busy with decorations and soon the room was ready.

“Happy Birthday, Rohan?” said Dadaji.

“But Dadaji, I do not celebrate my birthday.” replied Rohan.

“Dadaji spoke with your mom and explained her that if your dad had been here today, he would have loved to celebrate your birthday. So your mom and my Dadaji got together to arrange this surprise birthday party for you,” said Aayush.

Rohan looked at his mother with tears in his eyes. She just said, “Come, it’s time to cut the cake!”

Rohan cut the cake and the room once again was filled with wishes of “Happy birthday!” pouring in.

Confidence Boost?

Robbie rat was nibbling on some grains under a tree, when he heard Billu cat approaching. He started trembling. He got so busy looking around to see where Billu was coming from, that he forgot all about running away. 

Just as Billu was about to pounce on Robbie, Sweety squirrel jumped in and landed between them.

This distracted Billu and Sweety quickly jumped again onto the tree. This gave Robbie a chance to escape and made Billu angry.

Billu mumbled, “That naughty Sweety ruined everything. I’ll take care of her later.” She left from there.

A while later, Robbie came out of hiding and started looking around to see if Billu was nearby. 

He was still trembling with fear. He thanked Sweety for her help. 

Sweety said, “You could have been killed because of your carelessness. I saved your life today, but I won’t be around every day. Why are you so scared? Listen to me, and stop being so fearful. Billu is not around here anymore and when she is, don’t lose your wits. You must learn to save yourself.”

Robbie took a deep breath and said, “Sweety, I don’t know how to stop being scared. I am never at peace with Billu around.” 

“The picture of her fierce face is always on my mind. I feel she will pounce on me any moment,” said Robbie.

“You have called me a friend, and so I’m your friend from today. It is sensible to be scared of Billu. But to be always living in fear—that’s not right! From today onwards, go about your business. We will see how Billu should not scare you again,” said Sweety confidently.

“But if you are not around and I don’t see her coming, and she pounces on me, then what will I do? I wouldn’t even be able to call out for help,” said Robbie, shivering again at that thought.

“No, I mean you should be alert, but not scared all the time. Come with me, I’ll show you how enemies can stay together in many different places. They eat and play, enjoy themselves, but are also alert. They aren’t scared all the time,” Sweety explained to Robbie.

“I never thought about it like that. Look at this tree itself. There are so many birds living here. There are crows, sparrows, hawks and also snakes living in holes in the tree. They all live their lives without fear,” Robbie answered.

“See you understood this yourself. When others are not scared, why are you? Now let’s go a little ahead. Let me show you something,” urged Sweety.

Robbie and Sweety set off together. “Let’s go towards the river bank,” said Sweety.

They reached the river bank and saw many goats drinking water from the river. Ducks and buffaloes were swimming in it. 

Suddenly, a crocodile rose from the river, and Robbie cried out, “Oh! What a beast! Does it also live in the river?”

“Yes, it does. The river has many small and big fishes. If they were always scared, they would never be able to live their lives,“ said Sweety.

“You’re right!” said Robbie. They went further.

Sweety said, “Earlier, I used to stay on another tree. One day I was watching some peacocks dance, when all of a sudden a tiger came out of nowhere
and pounced on one of them. I simply shut my eyes in fear. When I opened
them again, I saw that the peacocks had flown away.”

“Similarly, I’ve seen deer giving their predator a slip. When I saw these different animals living without fear and with confidence, I too followed their example. All I do now is stay alert. Carelessness can cost lives. So one should always be careful and alert but not scared,” explained Sweety.

“Yes, I understand you. But tell me something, why did you leave the forest and
come to the city?” asked Robbie.

“When humans started cutting down trees in the forest, I had to leave it and come here. I now live here peacefully, and also I have you as my friend!” said Sweety, happily.

Robbie said, “I too am pleased to have met you. Shall we leave for home now?”

“Yes, let’s go!” and both of them started walking back.

As they neared their home, they saw Billu approaching them.

This time, instead of being scared, they quickly changed course and hid in hollows of a tree.

Sweety said, “That was a nice outing. Let’s rest, and then we can play together.”

“And we’ll not be scared of anyone! Thanks, my brave friend!” said Robbie and went to his bill.

Robbie no longer felt scared and nervous as before. Sweety’s encouragement had made him brave and smart.

Annual Cycle Race!

Like every year, this year too, a cycle race was being organised in Haritvan. All participants had to get their names registered with Jumbo elephant.

Although the race was a week away, Rohan rabbit, Bholu bear, Dumpy monkey and Chunky donkey had got their names registered. 

Chunky was taking part in the race for the first time. Rohan, Bholu and Dumpy had been taking part in it every year.

All of them, except Chunky, owned racing cycles.

Last year Rohan had won the race. This year too, he was confident of his victory. He had the best racing cycle in all of Haritvan, as his was from abroad. 

Chunky was worried as his cycle had become old and rusty. Although, he had registered himself, he realised that he had no chance of winning the race with his old cycle. 

All of his friends gathered at the Haritvan field in the evening for practice and preparation.

When Chunky reached the field, he found Rohan and Dumpy already practicing. 

Chunky too joined them. But when they saw his old cycle, they started laughing at him. 

“Chunky, your cycle should be put up as an antique in the museum. How do you expect to win with this junk cycle?” said Rohan.

“If you take my advice, Chunky, you should withdraw your name from the race. One needs a good racing cycle like ours to win the cycle race,” advised Dumpy.

Chunky was hurt but held back his tears. He left the field and quietly went back home. As soon as he entered the house, he dropped his cycle on the floor angrily and sat on his chair, crying.

When his mother saw him crying, she came up to him and asked, “What happened Chunky? Why are you crying?”

Chunky shared everything with his mother and asked her for a new cycle for the competition.

Chunky’s mum stroked his hair fondly and said, “Chunky, you know right now, we do not have enough money to buy a new cycle. As far as participating in a race goes, you can do that on your old cycle as well. You can win with it too.”

“Don’t give me false hopes, mum. How can I compete with Rohan and Dumpy’s new cycles with my old rickety cycle?” said Chunky, drying his tears. 

“Don’t worry if your cycle is not new. Practice regularly. You still have a week before the race. Don’t pay any attention when Rohan and Dumpy tease you. Concentrate on practising,” said Chunky’s mum. 

“We can spend some money and get your cycle repaired by a good mechanic,” his mum added.

The next day Chunky took his cycle to the mechanic who put oil in the chains, changed its gears, and gave it a polish. 

Chunky’s cycle looked good and rode smoothly. Chunky started his practice with determination. 

Every day, he spent two hours cycling around the ground. At first he would get tired easily but slowly, his stamina built and he was able to take many rounds of the field without getting tired. 

Rohan, Bholu and Dumpy were full of confidence of their racing cycles. They did not practice much. Every evening they turned up at the field, but instead of practicing, they just sat there gossiping and laughed at Chunky. 

Chunky did not pay attention to their comments and just kept cycling. 

On the day of the race, the participants stood on the start line. Chunky was quiet while Rohan, Dumpy and Bholu, boasted of their sure-shot victory.

Cheetah Singh whistled and waved to start the race.

Rohan shot like an arrow and was soon ahead of all. 

Just behind him were Dumpy and Bholu with Chunky coming in last. 

But a little ahead, Rohan’s cycle started giving trouble and he got down to try to set it right. 

Now Dumpy was in the lead. Bholu and Chunky followed him.

Chunky’s mother was there to see the race. She kept encouraging her son, “Well done Chunky! Keep on Chunky!”

After three rounds, Dumpy and Bholu started getting tired and they slowed down. 

Chunky, because of his training, kept on cycling and left the others behind, and won the race easily. 

Sheru lion went on to the stage and said, “The winner of today’s race is Chunky. Not only did he win the race, but has completed it in the shortest time, setting a new history in the cycling history of Haritvan. He gets a special award along with his trophy.”

Chunky went on the stage with a big smile on his face. He was thrilled when he was presented a brand new racing cycle along with the trophy. King Sheru asked him to speak a few words. 

“I won the race because of my mother. If she had not encouraged me, I would not have taken part in the race, because my cycle was old and rusty. I felt I would not win the race on it. But my mother explained to me that to win a race, we need hard work and practice, and that is why I dedicate this to her.” 

All the animals cheered him and his mother was very proud and happy for him.

Tinku Saves The Day

Tinku was a clever boy and would think of a new game every day and use his knowledge to lord over his friends who lived in his society. 

Tinku’s father was a police officer at the international airport. 

One day when Tinku’s father returned home, he looked sad and upset. Tinku looked at him and understood that something wasn’t right. He went close to his father and asked, “Dad, what’s the matter? You look very stressed today.”

“Yes, son. I am, in fact, very worried today. For the first time in 15 years, I met a man who did not speak a single word even though he was being questioned by us for more than 10 hours.”

Listening to his father, Tinku said, “Who are you talking about, dad? Who is not saying what?”

“Tinku, today we received news that a man would get diamonds into India from an international flight. When we caught him at the airport, we searched him thoroughly, but we couldn’t find a single diamond. Even after we questioned him, he didn’t say anything.”

“Then the news that you received may have been false,” said Tinku.

Listening to Tinku’s logic, his father said, “No son. The information we received is correct. And we caught the same bearded guy whose description matched the information we received.” 

“Did you comb through his beard to check for the diamonds?” Tinku laughed and said. 

“What do you mean Tinku?” his father asked, sitting up.

Tinku said, “Dad, you must have heard the Hindi phrase that goes, ‘a blade of grass in the thief’s beard’. So I asked if you combed through his beard to search for the diamonds.”

Tinku hadn’t even completed his sentence when his father got up suddenly and left on his motorcycle.

When his father returned two hours later, he looked happy. 

“Dad, you look very happy. Did your problem get solved?” asked Tinku.

“Yes, son! Today, thanks to you, we were able to catch the thief red-handed,” replied his father.

“So you found the diamonds? Please tell me where they were,” said Tinku.

“They were exactly where you said they would be–in his beard! That smuggler tied together the diamonds with a black thread and made a chain of it. He then tied it to the back of his long beard.”

Tinku jumped up excitedly and said, “Then I should get a prize dad. I helped catch a thief.”

“Yes, sure I’ll give you a prize.” Dad picked Tinku up, placed him on his lap and kissed his head.

Clever Rizo!

Rizo mouse was returning home. On the roadside, Coco cat was walking with a limp.

“I have sprained my ankle. Will you please help me walk to my house?” Coco requested Rizo.

“I don’t trust cats. What if you eat me?” Rizo said, walking away quickly.

“Oh, kind mouse! Please don’t be afraid. I have stopped eating mice. I am a vegetarian. My ankle is sprained and I am unable to walk. It would be very kind of you to help me walk to my house,” said Coco with an innocent face.

Rizo felt pity for Coco and decided to help her reach home.

After reaching home, Coco smiled and said, “Thank you for your help! You must be exhausted with the heat outside. Come inside and have a cool drink. You’ll be refreshed.”

Since Rizo’s mouth was dry, he agreed and went inside the house with Coco.

She got a glass of cool drink from the kitchen.

After having the drink, Rizo was ready to leave. Suddenly, his head began to spin and he fell down.

Waking up, he found himself inside a wooden rat cage. On one side of the cage was a little door. On the other side, there was an iron net. Besides him, there were two other rats inside the cage. 

After a while, the door opened and Coco entered the room. “This cat cheated and trapped me,” Rizo murmured to himself.

Looking at Rizo through the iron net, Coco made a frightening face and said, “To trap clever mice like you, I have to take the path of cheating. Otherwise, what will I eat? I will die of starvation.”

“I made a mistake in trusting you,” said Rizo.

“A cat and a mouse can never be friends. Who makes the mistake has to suffer! Sit here and count your days. I am travelling for two days. On returning, I will eat you as my delicious meal,” said Coco and threatened the mice with her sharp claws.

Coco opened the cage’s door and slid a bowl of water and bread inside.

“I am keeping the food here so that you don’t die out of hunger and thirst,” and Coco locked the door and walked away.

The other two trapped mice were Kukoo and Neeloo. They too had been cheated and tricked by Coco.

“There is no point in crying over what has happened. We have to find a way to get out of this cage. We only have two days,” Rizo said to Kukoo and Neeloo.

“It is impossible to get out of this cage,” said Neeloo.

“Yes, even I have tried several times. My teeth can’t even drill this wooden door,” Kukoo added.

Rizo looked at the two mice and said, “Look, friends, the three of us must find a way out of this trap. Otherwise, the evil cat will eat us.”

They began thinking of ways to escape. 

Rizo used a lot of force and tried to break the door of the cage. However, it was sturdy and did not break. Besides, there was also a lock at the door. All his efforts were in vain.

Just then, the bowl of water caught Rizo’s attention. He observed the bowl carefully. The bowl was old. Its surface had a lot of lines and there was a crack in it.

Rizo picked the bowl and started to break it with his sharp teeth. Kukoo and Neeloo stared at him.

After a while, Rizo succeeded in breaking the bowl into two pieces. He then picked up a piece to use it like a knife. He held the smooth edge and placed the sharp end on the other side of the iron net. 

“Now, I will try and cut the iron net with the help of these pieces. If we take it step by step, we will be able to cut the net in a short while,” Rizo explained and handed one piece to Kukoo. They began to tear away the net. 

When Kukoo got tired, Neeloo took over. And like this, the three mice took turns in cutting the net of the cage.

After a few hours, there was a slight tear in the net.

“Hurray! Friends, we are making progress. Just a few more turns and we will be free from this cage,” Rizo encouraged Kukoo and Neeloo. 

The three continued to cut the iron net.

After a few hours, the net had been torn from one corner.

Rizo bent the torn portion with his paws. There was enough space to get out of the cage. First, Kukoo came out, then Neeloo followed and at last, Rizo came out.

Coming out of the cage, the three mice breathed a sigh of relief.

“Now, let’s move out before Coco returns,” Kukoo said.

They spotted a small window-like opening at the top of the room and the three climbed up and escaped.

Coming out of Coco’s home, Neeloo and Kukoo thanked Rizo, “We were able to escape the cage only because of your cleverness. If you hadn’t been there, we would have died.”

“I would not have been able to cut the net alone. Both of you helped me because of which we were we able to escape the cage. This is the victory of our unity and hard work,” said Rizo and smiled.

The three pledged to never trust a cat again and walked towards their homes.

Rina Learns A Lesson

Rina’s dad worked at a bank and was transferred to a small city. As her annual examinations were over, Rina too went to the new city with them and her parents took her admission in a school there.

The infrastructure of the new school was not as modern as her old school’s, though the teachers and education was up to the mark. 

On her first day, after returning from school, Rina threw her bag on the sofa and said angrily, “I’m not going to this school from tomorrow!”

“But why? Today was just the first day!” asked mom. 

“I don’t like the school nor do I like the students!” she said angrily. 

“Rina, you shouldn’t judge people so quickly, before you get to know them. You may make friends here too,” explained mom.

Huh!” said Rina, and stomped to her room.

Rina was a smart kid, but she could not bring herself to like the new school. She thought that the students here were less than her in the way they spoke, the clothes they wore­­—in every way. 

She wouldn’t mingle with them. She was too proud of her knowledge and intelligence and became a nuisance in class, always looking for weaknesses in others and making fun of them. 

The other students avoided her because of her behaviour. Even though the class teacher advised her to make friends, she turned a deaf ear to him.

At home, mom explained, “You shouldn’t look down upon others. Everyone is different and special in their own way.” But nothing could convince Rina to change her behaviour.

A few months later, the school arranged a visit to a historical site, a few hours away from the city. Rina too, put her name upon the insistence of her parents.

The bus left at eight o’clock in the morning with two teachers and students. All the students were excited about the trip and were laughing and talking amongst themselves, except Rina.

After they reached the spot, they all had their breakfast and trekked to see the fort.

As per the teacher’s instructions, they all walked in small groups. Only Rina walked alone.

The rains had started and the hilly region had become moist. Rina was admiring the greenery around when her foot hit a boulder and she tripped and fell.

The students closest to her rushed to help. Her face and head were bleeding. The teachers too came to help her. Some of the students ran and got the first-aid box from the bus. One of the teachers applied to medicine, put a bandage on her wound and asked her to rest in the bus. 

Rina was sad because her trip was ruined, and because she was hurt, her eyes
started watering.

After the students came back, they all had their lunch and the bus started its return journey. 

Seeing Rina quiet and upset, the other students told her stories about the fort, and asked if she wanted water. One of them told her many jokes to make her laugh. They all looked after her and Rina now regretted her behaviour. She had wasted a lot of time without making friends because of her pride.

After the bus reached school, everyone headed for home. When Rina reached home, she told her mom everything. 

Two days later when Rina went back to school, she could not see eye-to-eye with anyone. She quietly sat at her desk. During lunch break, she took her tiffin-box and went to a small group of friends who were surprised to see her approach them. 

“I’m so sorry for how I’ve behaved with all of you. Please forgive me. Can I sit with you for lunch?” she asked.

They were stunned for a moment, but then welcomed her warmly and joined as if nothing happened before. Rina was overjoyed because she had made many friends today.

She returned home and told her Mom about her new friends. Ma too was happy seeing the change in her daughter’s behaviour.

Kinjal’s New School

All schools across the country had been shut due to the lockdown.

But in July and August, schools were reopening in some cities for students in higher grades. Students started preparing for their new school year. 

While most of them were buying new school bags, books, tiffin boxes and water bottles for the new year, Kinjal was nervous about joining a new school this year. 

Kinjal’s father had been officially transferred from Kolhapur to Mumbai in March, before the lockdown. The entire family had moved to Mumbai with him. 

Kinjal was going to grade 6 and school would begin in August this year. 

Her father had enrolled her in one of the reputed schools in the city. When she had first visited the school, she had noticed that the new school was nothing like her previous school. It was huge and had so many classrooms. This thought was making her nervous.

One morning, Kinjal sat in her garden, thinking about her new school. She had many questions that bothered her. 

“How will I adjust to the new school? Will I be able to make new friends? How will my new friends be? How will the new teachers be?” She could not any find answers. 

Ma saw her looking worried and asked, “Kinjal, why do you look so worried? What is bothering you?”

“I am thinking about my new school, ma, and I am really scared. Will I be happy in my new school? I have too many questions and no answers,” replied Kinjal.

“I can help you get answers to your questions,” said ma. 

“How can you help me?” asked Kinjal.

“You’ll see tomorrow. Now, let’s go inside and have dinner,” said ma. 

Next morning Kinjal’s mother took her to their next-door neighbour’s house. They had a daughter named Neha whom she had met when they just moved in. Neha’s mother welcomed Kinjal and her mother. She served them tea and some snacks. 

“Kinjal has been worried about going to her new school so I thought she could meet Neha before school starts,” said Kinjal’s mother. 

Kinjal was confused when her mother said, “This is Neha and she too is in grade 6 with you. She has been going to this school since she was in class one. She knows the school well so you can speak to her and get some answers to the questions you had.” 

Kinjal was relieved to hear this and smiled.

Neha and Kinjal greeted each other and began talking. They became friends in
no time. 

On the first day of school, Kinjal and Neha boarded the school bus together. They chatted on the bus and Neha told Kinjal many more things about the school. 

Once they reached the school, Neha guided Kinjal to their class. She made her sit beside her and introduced her to all her friends before the teacher came. They all welcomed Kinjal. 

Neha even introduced Kinjal to their teacher who knew that Kinjal was new and made her feel welcomed. 

Kinjal had lunch with her new friends and even shared her tiffin with them. Before the recess got over, Neha took Kinjal around the school and showed her the school library, the playground and other classes. 

Kinjal was happy as she learned so much about the school in very little time. 

After the lunch break, Kinjal focused on her studies. She felt confident and responded to the questions in class. 

When school was over, Kinjal felt good about the day. She was grateful to Neha for being so helpful. 

When they sat on the bus, Kinjal said, “I was afraid of joining a new school and feared my first day, but with your help, I feel much better. You helped me sail through my first day in school. Thank you very much, Neha.” 

“You’re most welcome. I, too, had fun being around you and making a new friend this year,” replied Neha. 

Kinjal shared the experience of her first day with ma who was happy that Kinjal had already made friends and was comfortable in her new school. 

Kinjal and Neha started going to school together every day. Kinjal made many friends in her new school and was happy that she overcame her fear.

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.

A Timid King

Leo lion did not want to become the king of the forest because he was very timid.

“Please dad, I don’t want to become the king,” he often told his father.

“But son, it is we, the lions, who have to become the kings. Now I have become old. You must slowly start taking up the responsibilities of this forest,” Papa Sheru explained to him with love.

Leo however was so timid, that he was not ready to become the king at all. “I
am tired of listening to my father,”
he thought. 

One day he told himself, “It is better that I go away from this place and hide somewhere. Then I wouldn’t face any trouble.”

As he said so, he hid behind the bushes. There was a mango tree near the bushes which had some monkeys sitting on them. They saw Leo hiding there.

“Look, our future king is hiding here.” A tall monkey pointed
to friends.

“Good. Let’s make fun of this timid creature,” said a monkey. 

He immediately plucked several mangoes and distributed among his friends.

“Let’s get started.” Saying so, he threw one mango towards Leo. On seeing this, all the others too started throwing mangoes on Leo.

“Oh dear.” Being upset with this sudden attack, Leo ran away from there.

“Timid… Timid…” shouted the monkeys as they clapped.

“How wild are the animals in this forest,” Leo thought to himself and felt sad. But he did not get angry. He feared that the herd of monkeys may attack him. So, he ran away quickly and came to the forest’s pond.

“Hey look, our future king is hiding here!” exclaimed the children of two elephants who were drinking water from the pond.

“If he is so timid, then who will save us from our enemies?” They started talking to each other.

“You are right. What is the difference whether he is here or not?” said the second elephant.

The young elephants made fun of him. They filled water in their trunks and splashed it on Leo who was still hiding.

“If you continue to hide, then we will give you a bath and also arrange meals for you,” Both of them laughed and said.

Leo got very angry when suddenly they showered water on him. However, he was afraid that if he expressed his anger, then the elephant would not spare him.

“Oops! I need to escape from here as well.” Leo immediately ran towards the mountain.

“Timid… timid…” The elephants teased him on as he ran.

Once at the mountains, Leo was at considerable peace. He laid under the dense cover of a tree.

“It’s fine here. No one will disturb me,” he thought. 

A few crows were sitting on the tree.

“Hey look, our future king is hiding here,” one crow said looking at Leo.

“Let’s teach a lesson to this coward,” said another crow, as he reached out for him.

Now the mischievous crows began to bother him. Some started crying near his ear while some others started poking him with their beaks.

“What’s the problem?” Leo got upset again. He was very angry with the crows for teasing him. When his patience broke, he roared aloud.

Hearing him roar, the crows flew away in fear.

Leo told himself, “I am a lion and I have to show courage like a lion. I can’t live in fear. I am ready to become the king of this forest.” He roared again and returned home. 

“Dad, I am ready to become the king.” When Sheru heard this, he embraced his son with pride.

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.

Titu, A Brave Camel

There was once a huge camel named Titu. One day, he wandered into a thick, green forest.

Now, the animals in the forest had never seen such a tall animal and he thus appeared strange to them. 

Pintu monkey was the first to talk to him. He climbed up a tree so that he could see Titu better. “Who are you, and where are you from?” asked Pintu. 

“My name is Titu and I live in the desert. I was passing through,” said Titu.

“There’s no space in this jungle for more animals. Go away!” said a scared Dhinki deer, hiding behind a tree.

“I do not wish to make this my home. I will stay here for a short period,” said Titu. “So, let’s be friends!”

However, no one befriended Titu. Instead, they made fun of him. Bernie beaver laughed at his height, saying that Titu was as tall as a tent! 

Titu, however, did not respond to the taunts.

Soon, the animals realised that Titu, despite being huge, did no harm. They took advantage of his gentle nature and harassed him.

Cheeku rabbit ran swiftly between Titu’s long legs to trip him over. Poor Titu jumped in fright! He was scared of crushing the little rabbit beneath his legs. Cheeku, on the other hand, proud of his prank, clapped his hands in glee.

Pintu pulled the next prank. He jumped from a treetop onto Titu’ back. 


He then rattled Titu’s hump and ran away quickly.

Golu bear was next. He dangled from Titu’s long neck and laughed heartily when Titu tried to shake him off.

By evening Titu was tired. His first day in the forest was bad. He decided to leave the forest early next morning.

That night, it rained heavily. 

The river which was flowing through the jungle soon began to flood. At day break, most of the animals’ houses were underwater.

As the water level continued to rise, the animals got worried.  

Perry parrot decided to fly out in search of safe ground. He returned with good news, “The ground on the other side of the riverbank is high. The floodwaters haven’t reached that part yet. We should move there.”

Scared, Dhinki deer cried, “But the water in the river is flowing fast. If we cross the river now, we could drown!”

“Alas! We will drown if we stay here,” said Pintu monkey, in despair.

The water level was rising quickly. Soon, it seemed that the rest of the animals’ houses would get submerged too. The animals were helpless. Confused and scared, some began to cry.

“I will help you,” said Titu, standing in water, which hardly reached his knees. 

“You will?” asked a surprised Golu.

The animals struggled to stand in waist-deep water as they clung to each other. 

“Yes,” said Titu, nodding his head.

“But, we played pranks on you!” said Pintu monkey, surprised. He could not believe that the same Titu that they had troubled, wanted to help them.

“True, you behaved in a manner that made you feel good,” said Titu. “I will do what I feel is right.” He smiled, “I have always considered you all friends. And a friend in need is a friend indeed!”

The animals hung their heads in shame.

Titu spoke, “Let’s not waste time, my friends. The water level is rising! Climb onto my back and I will take you to the other side, in turns.”

“Will it be safe?” asked a trembling Cheeku rabbit.

“My legs are long. So, I can cross the river easily. Hold on to my hump, and do not let go. For if you do, you will fall into the river and drown,” warned Titu. 

It was decided. The small animals crossed the river first, followed by the big animals.

In a span of two hours, Titu took all animals to safety. “Titu, you are good! Please forgive our rude actions,” said Golu bear with folded hands. All the animals joined him in pleading for forgiveness.

Titu replied, “You are a nice lot, just a little naughty. If you stop with your pranks, you will be a whole lot nicer.” With that he let out a loud laugh, and all the animals joined him. 

“We will all stay here till the water level comes down. Then we will arrange a feast for Titu!” said Golu. Everyone clapped.

While waiting for the flood to clear, the animals kept themselves busy. Some started collecting food, while others like Pintu monkey, entertained everyone with his funny tricks. Koyal cuckoo sang a song, while Shyamu Peacock danced. There was an air of fun and frolic around.

Two days later, the floods cleared and the animals returned to their homes. 

Titu had made friends with all the animals who took great care of him.

Yet, Titu started missing his home. 

One day, he gathered all his friends and said, “Dear friends, I would now like to return to the desert. It’s been a long time since I left my home. My parents must be worried.”

“Please stay,” pleaded Dhinki deer. However, the animals knew that Titu’s reason to leave was justified. They were silent. Bernie beaver, who had grown close to Titu said, “If you can’t stay, I will accompany you back to your home.”

“So will I,” added Pintu monkey.

“I would love to take you all to my home in the desert, but you will not survive the desert heat,” said Titu. He explained, “This jungle is full of lush, green trees and flowing rivers. The desert is the exact opposite. It is extremely hot, with no signs of trees or water, for miles!”

This surprised the animals. Golu asked, “If there is no water, how do you quench your thirst?”

“We camels have a sac inside our neck. We fill that sac whenever we find water. We then quench our thirst with droplets of water from that sac. Hence, we can stay for nearly a week without water. But that is not possible in your case friends,” said Titu. 

The animals realised that they could not accompany Titu to the desert, nor ask him to stay back. Everyone was sad.

Golu finally said, “Go if you must, but promise that you will visit us all at least once, every year.”

“I will, for sure,” said Titu, happily. He too was a little sad to leave his friends.

The whole jungle had a grand feast for Titu. The animals danced, sang and rejoiced. 

The next morning, Titu started for his home in the desert.

All the animals thereafter awaited his return.

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?

Billy, the wise goat

When Manmanjari had given birth to kids last time, the jackal had taken them away. Since then, Manmanjari had been despondent.

She gave birth again, this time to two cute kids, but her past experience made her extremely worried.

She was apprehensive about the jackal killing her kids. Which mother could bear that?

“Think of something soon so that the jackal can’t take away our kids,” she expressed her fear to the billy-goat. “I won’t even go for grazing. I’ll just stay with the kids and protect them.”

“We can’t live in fear all the time. I have thought of a plan,” the billy-goat assured Manmanjari. “I’ll climb the hill and watch. As soon as I see the jackal coming, I’ll call out to you ‘Manmanjari, why are the kids crying?’ Then you pinch the kids so that they cry even harder.

The Escape Plan

“Then you say ‘What should I do? The kids are demanding a fresh, jackal liver to eat. There is a stale liver available in the house, but from where should I get a fresh one at this hour?’ Then I’ll say ‘Be quiet. Don’t make a noise. A jackal is coming here. I’ll get his liver for the kids to eat.”

After explaining the entire plan to Manmanjari, the billy-goat went on top of the hill. When he saw the jackal, he shouted loudly, “Manmanjari, Manmanjari, what’s the matter? Why are our kids crying?”

Manmanjari pinched the kids and said as already planned. The billy-goat shouted again, “Ask them to stop crying. I’ll go and get the liver of a jackal for them to eat.”


Upon hearing his words, the jackal got so terrified that he didn’t even wait for a second. He ran as fast as he could with all his might.

While the jackal was running, he met a gibbon on the way. “Brother Jackal, what happened?” The gibbon asked. “Why are you running like this?” The jackal narrated the entire incident to him.

The gibbon burst out laughing, “Brother Jackal, you must be out of your mind! Is it possible for a goat to kill a jackal?”

“Dear friend, I heard quite distinctly that the billy-goat told his wife that he was going to get a jackal’s liver for their kids to eat,” the jackal replied petulantly.

“If that is so, then I would like to see that billy-goat,” the gibbon declared. “You tie our tails together, and I’ll sit on your back and come with you.”

They knotted their tails to each other, and the Jackal set about carrying the gibbon on his back.


When the billy-goat saw them coming from the hilltop, he pondered at the new development and came up with a solution to the problem. He called out loud to Manmanjari, “Manmanjari, please pacify the kids somehow. My friend, the gibbon, is bringing the jackal here itself by tying their tails together. Do not worry at all. I’ll get the jackals liver in just a short while.”

The jackal got alarmed upon hearing the billy, goat’s words. The billy-goat again called out, “Hey Gibbon! You are so useless! You had told me that you would get many jackals, but what is this? You have just got one!”

More From Champak: Musu’s Smart Escape

Now the jackal couldn’t wait any more. He began running at full tilt.

The gibbon couldn’t keep his balance and fell off the jackal’s back. Furthermore, as their tails were tied, the gibbon got dragged behind the jackal.


In an attempt to run away quickly, the jackal jumped downhill, but this move proved fatal for both of them. The gibbon and the jackal lost their steadiness and died after falling in the trench below.

Now Manmanjari felt relaxed as she felt her kids were safe and secure.