Flashing Fireflies

There was no electricity in Satpudavan. Darkness gripped the whole forest as soon as the sun went down. There was nothing but pitch blackness after sunset. The animals that lived in the forest faced a lot of trouble during the nights without any light.

One day, Makalu Fox went up to King Sher Singh of Satpudavan. “Maharaj,” he said. “I saw a huge colony of fireflies near a swamp outside the forest last night. They made such a bright sight. I think these fireflies have a lot of electricity. If they come to our forest and give us their electricity, we won’t have any trouble seeing at nights.”

King Sher Singh sent his messengers to call the fireflies to his palace. The fireflies were humble and came as soon as they received the message.

“Please give us whatever electricity you have,” King Sher Singh said to the fireflies. “We will pay you whatever you ask for. We want to utilize your electricity to light up our forest at nights.”

“I am sorry, Maharaj. But this cannot be done. We have inherited the light. It is part of our bodies. We cannot just give it away,” Jagmag Firefly said. He was the leader of the colony of fireflies.

“How dare you decline our King’s request? Makalu Fox said in a threatening voice. “Give us your electricity or you will be punished!”flashing-fireflies

“Please don’t get angry,” Jagmag Firefly pleaded. “You must understand. Even if we give you the electricity we have within us, it won’t be of any use to you. It won’t work without us. We will perish if we give it to you.”

Minister Gajju Elephant heard the commotion and came to see what was happening.

He greeted the King and then said, “Maharaj, the fireflies are right. It is true. The light fireflies have is made by a biological action. They can’t give it away.”

“Is that so? King Sher Singh said. “I don’t understand. Please tell me more.”

“Maharaj, the fireflies belong to the arthropods community,” Gajju Elephant explained. “I read about them in an encyclopedia. They have a special element coming out of their bodies which can be seen at night. It is because of this element that they appear to flashlight at night.”

“That is why I have called them here. I want them to illuminate our forest with their light,” King Sher Singh said. “They must share their element with us.”

“Maharaj, the fireflies can’t give you their element even if they wanted to,” Gajju Elephant explained patiently. “The fireflies’ light is known as ‘bioluminescence’. It means ‘organism light’ which is emitted because of a special kind of chemical product found in the fireflies’ bodies.”

“I will tell you more about this, Maharaj,” the leader of the fireflies said respectfully.

“That’s a good idea, Jagmag,” Gajju Elephant said. “It will be best if you explain.”

“The chemical element in our bodies is called ‘Luciferin’ It is present in our cells. We can use it as many times as we want. It doesn’t get over.”

“So, the Luciferin stays constant and doesn’t get over?” Sher Singh asked, looking very surprised.

“That’s correct, Maharaj! The Luciferin supply in our cells remains even after we make light.” Jagmag Firefly explained.

“Okay, but how does the light go on and off?” King Sher Singh said.

“Maharaj, this entire process is governed by our nervous system. Luciferin is present in the inner surface of our respiratory tracts.” Jagmag Firefly continued. “When we breathe in and out, our nerves let the air go out with gaps. And so, it seems like our light is flashing or going on and off.”

“I think I understand now,” King Sher Singh said.

“Maharaj, please understand our problem. If we give this chemical substance of ours to you, it will be of no use. We will perish instead,” Jagmag Firefly folded his hands and said.

“I won’t let you perish, Jagmag,” King Sher Singh said kindly. “But can you and your friends do me a favour?”

“Of course, Maharaj!” Jagmag said. “Please tell us what we can do for you?”

“Spread out in our forest instead of staying together in one place during the nights. The whole forest will be lit up that way.” King Sher Singh requested.

“Yes Maharaj, we will do that,” all the fireflies said together.

From that day onwards, the fireflies scattered themselves throughout the forest at nights. The whole forest was illuminated with little sparks of light.

All the other animals thanked the fireflies and rejoiced.

Don’t Hurt Plants

Jumbo elephant had a beautiful garden with different varieties of flowers. Gardening had become his passion. He planted new trees, flowering bushes and maintained his garden very well.

“Trees and plants are the pride of the Earth. They are the one to provide us with life,” sang Jumbo while watering his plants.

“Wow Jumbo, you have such beautiful flowers in your garden!” said Cheeku rabbit as he was crossing Jumbo’s house.

“Oh thank you, Cheeku. I love to take care of them,” said Jumbo while looking at his plants lovingly.

“You sure do. If I need some flowers for my house, I will take them from your garden only,” said Cheeku, touching one of the flowering plants.

Jumbo was not happy with what Cheeku had said. “Beware Cheeku. Don’t you dare touch that flower!” he said.

“What happened Jumbo? Why are you getting so mad at me?” asked Cheeku, a little shocked.

Jumbo said, “You were going to pluck my beautiful flowers and I shouldn’t even get angry? Do you know that even plants and flowers have life and when someone plucks them, they feel the pain?”

Cheeku did not seem to agree with what Jumbo was saying. “It is not so Jumbo,” said Cheeku.

This made Jumbo angrier. “Come here, I will pick you up and throw you down. Then let’s see whether you feel the pain or not,” he said angrily.

Jumbo quickly moved his trunk towards Cheeku to scare him. Cheeku ran away from there.

“Cheeku is worried about his pain. For him, it is fun to crush plants and pluck flowers. He does not think how much pain my dear plants will feel if he plucks them,” Jumbo mumbled to himself. He took a good look at his garden once again and went inside the house.

In the evening, Meeku mouse was passing by Jumbo’s house, riding his bicycle. As he was crossing Jumbo’s garden, Meeku’s bicycle wheel got stuck in a pothole and he lost his balance.

Meeku fell down on a bush in Jumbo’s garden along the road. Some plants and flowers were crushed because of Meeku and his bicycle falling on them.

Jumbo was reading inside his home when he heard the loud noise of the crash. He rushed out to see what had happened.

Jumbo was furious to see his plants damaged, the flowers crushed and the mud scattered all around.

Jumbo shouted, “You useless mouse. You have damaged my plants! You did not think about the pain they would feel.  I will lift you and throw you on the ground. Maybe that’s when you’ll understand how much pain you’ve given my plants.”

Meeku tried to explain his side of the story but Jumbo was in no mood to listen. He wrapped his trunk around Meeku and picked him up.

“Jumbo, forgive me. I did not do this on purpose. I lost my balance because of the pothole and crashed into your garden,” pleaded Meeku.

But Jumbo was still furious.

“If you don’t know how to ride a bicycle then you shouldn’t ride it. I am not going to listen to any of your excuses. Today I will show you what pain is,” Jumbo continued as he shook Meeku with his trunk.

Meeku was too scared. Jumbo was just about to throw him to the ground when Cheeku came there.

“Jumbo put Meeku down! You’ve been thinking of the pain we would cause to your plants but are you thinking about the pain you’re putting Meeku through?  He has been your friend for so many years and yet look at the way you’re treating him,” said Cheeku loudly.

Jumbo was surprised with what Cheeku had just said. “What are you saying Cheeku?” said Jumbo, calming down.

Cheeku explained gently, “Jumbo, you are getting angry because your plants are hurt. But what about the hurt that you are causing Meeku? Is it right to hurt someone to make them understand how much pain you or your plants are feeling?”

Jumbo realised his mistake. “I am sorry Meeku,” he said.

“I forgot that it is wrong to hurt others for my love of plants. I will not hurt others to give this message,” said Jumbo as he placed Meeku on the ground.children fiction

Jumbo then started to clear the destroyed plants and both Meeku and Cheeku helped him in the garden work. Jumbo realised that his blind love for plants had been hurtful to his friends. He now knew that both were equally important.