King Sher Singh was generally very cheerful. But there were days when he turned sad and irritable. This usually happened when he remembered his old friend Ramu Singh.

King Sher Singh would grow so miserable that he would even forget to eat his meals and lose interest in important matters.

“Ramu, my friend,” he would murmur in his sleep. “Where have you gone? Please come back and forgive me.” King Sher Singh would then wake up with a jolt and start crying softly

On days like that, King Sher Singh would even stop coming to his court. He would keep to himself and sometimes even neglect urgent official matters. His ministers and Queen Sherni would grow worried, for they knew that King Sher Singh couldn’t afford to neglect his kingly duties. But they couldn’t do much and they would patiently wait till he felt better.

But of late, Minister Chatur Jackal had noticed that King Sher Singh’s bouts of sadness were lasting for very long. And that, they were not only was affecting his duties as a king, but also his health.

Chatur Jackal couldn’t stop himself from going up to King Sher Singh. He was very concerned about him.

“Your Majesty,” Chatur Jackal said politely.

“I don’t mean to be inquisitive but may I ask what exactly makes you so upset sometimes? Why don’t you share your worries with me? You’ll feel much better if you do. And who knows, I might just be able to help you solve your problem.” King Sher Singh trusted Chatur Jackal and thought of him as a friend. And so, he decided to share his problem with him.

“Well, Chatur,” King Sher Singh said as a few tears rolled down his eyes. “I had a very dear friend in my childhood. His name was Ramu Singh. He was my best friend. We played games and studied together everyday. But one day, we had an argument. I lost my temper and said some very harsh things to my friend. Ramu Singh was hurt. He left the forest without telling anyone where he was going. I think of him sometimes and wonder where he went. How I wish that we were still friends.”

“Oh!” Chatur Jackal said to himself after hearing King Sher Singh’s story. “So, King Sher Singh is missing his old friend. Well, it is indeed sad. But he isn’t doing anything about it. There are many animals and birds in Champakvan who have been separated from their parents, siblings and children. I should introduce King Sher Singh to them and tell him what they do.”

Chatur Jackal then listed out the names of some of the animals who had been separated from their loved ones.

“Blacky Bear was lost when he was just a cub,” Chatur Jackal recalled as he noted the names down. “He has been looking for his parents ever since then. And Roopi Deer’s son had been kidnapped by Kalu Jackal a long time ago. She hasn’t given up hope and is still searching for him.”

Chatur Jackal then took King Sher Singh to meet Blacky Bear and Roopi Deer. After hearing their stories, King Sher Singh realised that he was not the only one who had lost someone he cared about. There were others too. But unlike him, they were working hard to find them.

King Sher Singh decided that he too would look for his long-lost friend. He then sent his soldiers to look for Ramu Singh.

“Go to all the rivers, mountains, fields, forests and lakes in the land!” he ordered. “Leave no stone unturned. You must find Ramu Singh.”

And so, the soldiers did as they were told. But they didn’t find Ramu Singh anywhere. King Sher Singh didn’t lose heart. Instead, he joined his soldiers in the search.

One day, King Sher Singh came across a rocky hill covered by trees. He noticed the marks of a lion’s paws on the ground.

“Hmm,” he wondered. “Could my long-lost friend be here?” King Sher Singh then ordered his soldiers to search the entire area thoroughly.

The soldiers soon spotted a lion sitting outside a small cave. He was dressing the wounds of some injured birds and animals. They went and told King Sher Singh about it.

King Sher Singh recalled how his friend Ramu Singh had always wanted to be a doctor. “Could that be Ramu Singh?” he said hopefully. He then ran to the cave.

King Sher Singh’s happiness knew no bounds when recognised the lion sitting there. Yes, he was his friend Ramu Singh.

“At last! There’s my long-lost friend,” he said to himself. “I can’t wait to talk to him!” King Sher Singh started to walk towards Ramu Singh. But then he hesitated and stopped mid-way. He remembered the last time they had met, and the harsh words that he had spoken. Chatur Jackal, who had accompanied King Sher Singh, understood his dilemma.

“Go on, Your Majesty!” he said and encouraged King Sher Singh to go further. “You have been waiting for this moment since very long!” King Sher Singh nodded and slowly walked towards Ramu Singh. Ramu Singh looked up and wondered who, dressed in royal attire, was coming to meet him.

When King Sher Singh came closer, Ramu Singh’s eyes twinkled. He recognised his friend immediately and jumped up and hugged King Sher Singh.


Soon, the two friends had tears in their eyes. “I wish I hadn’t been so harsh, Ramu,” King Sher Singh said. “Please forgive me.”

“And I wish I hadn’t walked away in a huff and not kept in touch,” Ramu Singh said. “I’m sorry too.” The two friends then sat together and laughed and talked happily. Chatur Jackal and the soldiers were happy to see King Sher Singh look so cheerful once again.

“Your Majesty,” Chatur Jackal told King Sher Singh later that day. “Don’t you wish that you had looked for Ramu Singh right after he left, and apologised immediately?”

“I wish I had,” King Sher Singh said. “Had I done that, I wouldn’t have felt so miserable for so many years.”

After that, King Sher Singh never felt gloomy or irritable again. He didn’t neglect his duties either. He now understood that any misunderstanding in a friendship should be sorted immediately. He stayed in touch with Ramu Singh and was careful not to lose his temper or say anything that was harsh again. He didn’t want to lose his friend again.

New Year’s Magic

It was a lousy morning. The sunrays were slowly scattering in all the directions. Cheeku, the Rabbit woke up when his room was entirely brightened by the glistening rays of the sun.

Cheeku’s parents entered his room and wished him a Happy New Year. He had forgotten that it was the first of January. His friends had told him that the year 2019 will be a magical year. They had said that every act done on the first day of the year 2019 would be multiplied throughout the year.

Cheeku was an eighth standard student. He woke up late because he had a holiday from school. He took a bath and had his breakfast. His mother was planting a sapling in their garden. He asked his mother about the same and learnt that she had resolved to plant a sapling every year.

Cheeku was impressed by his mother and he too wanted to take a resolution for the New Year. He started thinking about what resolution he should make. Mother suggested that Cheeku should resolve to inculcate some good habits, like getting up early in the morning and studying, doing his homework on time, eating healthy food, etc.

Cheeku liked mother’s suggestions and resolved to do all his work on time. He was lazy and also ate junk food in plenty. Thus he also decided to eat healthy food and always be active.

It was not easy for Cheeku to live up to the resolutions. The next day he managed to wake up early since he had school in the morning, but he felt lazy to study in the morning. He started doing some reading after his mother encouraged him to study.

Cheeku also found it difficult to shake off his fondness for junk food. Mother helped him this time too. Whenever he asked for junk food like pizza, burger, chopsuey, etc, she gave him carrots, cucumber, spinach and other nutritious fresh vegetables. This made Cheeku feel that his stomach was full and then he couldn’t gorge on junk food.

Mother was impressed by Cheeku’s resolutions and helped him to devote appropriate time to study as well as play. Cheeku and his friends initially created a lot of nuisance in the house, but now Cheeku had become much disciplined.

It is said that it takes 21 days to form a habit. This means that if one practices an activity for 21 days at a stretch, it automatically becomes his habit.

It was more than 21 days that Cheeku was practicing good habits. All his friends were surprised at his disciplined behavior. Cheeku too observed that by doing everything on time, he got sufficient time to play. He started excelling in his studies. Subjects like algebra and geometry which were a scare for him previously were now very interesting.


One day, Cheeku recited his self-composed poem in front of his school teacher. His teacher liked the poem and praised Cheeku. All the students also congratulated him. Everything was going well with Cheeku ever since the New Year started. He secured a rank amongst the top students in his class. He also started to enjoy studying. Cheeku was now considered as one of the clever students of the school.

Cheeku’s parents were very happy with his progress in studies. His friends started inculcating good habits as Cheeku had done. They studied and played at pre-decided timings. In the remaining time, they nurtured the plants that Cheeku’s mother had planted.

Cheeku and his friends also excelled in sports. They won medals and secured places in big tournaments. Their parents were proud of their success and showered praises on them.


Cheeku’s mother had planted saplings some time ago which had now grown into plants. In the same way, Cheeku’s resolutions had also grown into a good habit that gave him a happy life. He was now a source of inspiration for all his friends, he was a hero! It was indeed a magical year for Cheeku!

A New Year’s Resolution

Rahul had returned from the market carrying some bags. As soon as he came home he called out to his younger sister, “Ruhi, come and take a look at what I’ve got from the market.”

Hearing her brother, Ruhi came running towards him and took the bags from his hands. She went to her room and emptied the bags on her bed.

The mother too came in. Decorative items like stars, ribbons, pearls, flowers, balloons etc were scattered on the bed. Looking at them, mom asked, “Are we celebrating someone’s birthday?”

“Yes mother, we are celebrating a birthday! The birth of a new year! January 1 marks the first day of the New Year. I will decorate our house. On New Year’s Eve, I’ll fill the whole house with balloons, and flowers,” said Rahul.

“Mother, I want to help blowing the balloons,” said little Ruhi. Hearing little Ruhi speak so, mother let out a smile.

Seeing their enthusiasm, mother was very happy. She said, “Yes, so this sounds like fun. I will also make some sweets, chocolates and bake a cake. We can invite some of our friends and relatives to celebrate the New Year’s Eve together.”

“Wonderful! That would be fantastic! Then we will have a bustling preparation,” said Rahul happily.


“What preparations are you talking about, guys? Let me know about them too!” said their father as he stepped into the room.

Rahul and Ruhi showed the decorative items to their father and told him that their mother was baking a cake and making sweets and chocolates for them to celebrate the New Year.

Father nodded and said, “Fine. But something is still missing!”

“And what would that be?” mother asked. Then she pondered that maybe he was saying so because the kids forgot to buy a few boxes of candles.

“Look, celebrating a festival does not mean just decorating your house or spreading happiness and eating sweetmeats. We should also make certain resolutions.”

“Resolutions? What is the meaning of a resolution, father?” asked six-year-old Ruhi.

“A resolution means taking a decision or an oath or a promise,” said father.

Rahul, who was older to Ruhi, said, “That’s a good idea. I will think of a resolution.”

Ruhi felt lost listening to this conversation because she could not understand a word of it. She said, “But what do I do? I don’t know how to make a resolution!”

“I will help you,” said Rahul. “Both of us can together think of a resolution for the New Year.” On New Year’s Eve, Rahul really changed the entire look of the house. The house looked lovely, decked up with colourful balloons, buntings, candles and lanterns.

Mother and father wished Rahul and Ruhi a very happy new year. Both the kids took their parents’ blessings.

Both the kids gifted handmade drawings to their parents. Father noticed a line of colourful words written on Rahul’s sheet: I take a resolution that from this day on, I will not fuss about food and will also finish my work on time”.

Their parents took a glance at Ruhi’s drawing sheet. There were a few drawings made on the sheet with the words: Fruits – to be eaten more. Chocolates to be eaten less’.

“Father, I can’t write like brother, so I drew these pictures,” Ruhi answered coyly. The parents gifted their children gifts and a paper. Father resolved to be more successful at work and Mother, to take up a new hobby.


Both mother and father smiled at the drawings made by Ruhi. They gave a big hug to both the kids and said, “Let’s celebrate and promise to keep our new year resolutions.”


Party Time in Champakvan

New Year was only a month away. Preparations were on in full swing for the New Year party celebrations.

The local market was full of activity and different shops and stalls were selling decorative items, delicious snacks and were open day and night.

Meeku mouse bought traditional hand-crafted cushions, Blacky bear bought some exquisite copper and brass jars filled with honey, and Teetu butterfly picked up some shiny and colourful bangles.

Meanwhile, Jumpy monkey looked very pleased bringing an expensive, embroidered carpet and scented candles.

Baddy fox was decorating his cottage with ornate lighting fixtures and mirrors.

King Shersingh was not too fond of grand celebrations and huge spending.

In the first week of December, Shersingh called for a meeting,

Shersingh said, “Dear friends! Thank you for coming on such short notice. I wanted to talk to all of you regarding the upcoming New Year celebrations. While it is great to see everyone so happy and festive, it concerns me that a lot of hard-earned money is being spent on buying harmful crackers, toys and items made from toxic plastic substances.”

“These things are dangerous to one’s health and also bad for the environment,” said Shersingh with a serious expression.

Cheeku rabbit was now puzzled. He asked, “In that case, what will we gift our friends and relatives? Most shops are selling these items.”

“You may present them fresh fruits, dry fruits, honey, flowers, and fresh saplings for their gardens,” Shersingh suggested.

“Sir, what about you? We were thinking of giving you a gift. What would you like for New Year?” asked Blacky.

“Hmm. I would prefer something environment-friendly. In fact, this is a great moment for everyone in Champakvan to come up with some really good eco-friendly ideas.”

Everyone was excited now. They all asked, “What do you want sir? Tell us!”

“I want a crystal jar full of dew, a pumpkin fitted in a surahi (a bottle-necked earthen pot), and a bright New Year night without using any electric bulbs, oil and candles. Whoever manages to accomplish this, I will declare that person to be the pride of Champakvan and also my environment minister!”

“Wow! This is unbelievable!” many animals exclaimed, surprised by the unique contest that Shersingh had announced and also the huge reward accompanying it.

Party time in champakvan

“This is impossible,” said Jumpy monkey.

“I have never heard of such a thing before!” Cheeku said, scratching his head with his furry paws.

Meanwhile, Meeku mouse was excited. He was always coming up with new and unique solutions to different problems.

Days went past quickly and it was finally New Year’s Eve.

Everyone arrived in their best outfits, carrying flowers and bouquets, to Sher Singh’s palace lawns.

A grand spread of tea, coffee, muffins and other food items were laid out.

However, Meeku was nowhere to be seen. It was strange because everyone had been expecting a lot from him. The animals started whispering among themselves.

“What a shame! After so much promise, Meeku didn’t even come.”

“Meeku should have never taken upon himself such a difficult task. Now regretting, I am sure.”

It was soon night. According to Sher Singh’s orders for the contest, all artificial lights were switched off around midnight. It was pitch dark. Suddenly, the entire jungle became bright and lit.

There was Meeku mouse standing among them, with a beautiful crystal jar full of dew and an earthen mug with fresh and ripe pumpkin.

Everyone, including Shersingh, exclaimed in wonder.

“How did you manage all of this? This is a miracle!” said Shersingh.

Meeku said, “I will explain all of it step by step. It was a long process and involved a lot of mental work. So, for the first task, I took a thick layer of cotton and spread it on my terrace every night, for three weeks. In the morning, I squeezed and poured the dew from the cotton into the vase. Drop by drop, the crystal jar was filled with dew.”

Party time in champakvan

Blacky bear had his doubts.

Blacky said “How do we know this water is dew? You could have simply filled it from the riverside. Show some proof!”

Meeku replied “I knew this would be asked so I got it certified from the laboratory of water testing, located in Madhuban jungle across the valley. You may confirm it with them if you like!”

“We believe you. The Madhuban jungle laboratory is well-known across the country. Now tell us about your second task!” said Shersingh, full of curiosity.

“For the second task, I placed this earthen vase near the climber of the pumpkin and put a very tender sapling inside the vase. Day by day, it became bigger and now the surahi is filled with the pumpkin,” explained Meeku.

“It didn’t take much, to be honest. Just a simple, logical puzzle,” said Meeku, humbly.Party time in champakvan

The crowd was quite impressed.

“And what about these bright lights all over? This looks like a natural glow! No electric light or candle is on right now,” said Shersingh.

“Yes, this was quite a difficult task. However, with a little brainstorming, I took phosphorus, a non-metallic element that occurs naturally in different phosphate rocks and appears luminous in the dark and applied it on thousands of small, dry twigs and requested my friends, the sparrows and the sunbirds, to carry these twigs to their nests on the occasion of New Year’s Eve.

I also requested the fireflies to come. Huge thanks to all of them. That is why this was possible!” said Meeku mouse.

“Three cheers for the birds and the fireflies and for Meeku!”, everyone applauded again.

Shersingh honoured Meeku in front of the entire jungle, pleased with his hard work, efforts and declared him as the new environment minister of Champakvan.

There were happiness and laughter everywhere.