Jojo’s Confusion

One day in Champakvan, a little monkey was found all by himself. No one in the forest knew whose child he was. Jumbo elephant asked the monkey his name and the little monkey sobbed and said his name was Jojo, and he was lost. 

Jojo had come to Champakvan from another forest. Torti tortoise, who was the eldest member of the forest, asked, “Son, what is the name of your forest?”

But Jojo didn’t know the name. He said that his mother’s name was Timmy and his father’s name was Romi. However, the names of his parents were not enough to search for them. 

Everyone in Champakvan welcomed him in and asked the police to find out about Jojo’s parents from the neighbouring forests. And Jojo started living in Champakvan.

Animals of Champakvan were kind and shared food with Jojo. Children of Champakvan played with Jojo, but Jojo wasn’t happy living there and playing with other kids and eating food with them. He missed his parents and forest and wanted to go back as soon as possible.

The other monkeys who lived in the forest had gone on vacations to visit their cousins and relatives living in other forests. Jojo did not even have their company. The other animals tried their best to take care of him.

One day, Jojo decided from that day, he would search and find his own food.  Since it was summer, watermelons were ripe and growing everywhere. Jojo found a spot where there were many watermelons growing on creepers. He had heard that watermelon was a juicy fruit that fulfilled both hunger and thirst. 

From the creeper, Jojo picked up a watermelon and bit on its hard peel. The moment he bit it, Jojo felt a bitter taste inside his mouth.

Damru donkey who was standing near explained, “Son, this is not the correct way to eat a watermelon.”

“Please don’t try to explain to me. But since you have already interrupted my meal, tell me what you wish to tell me,” said Jojo rudely.

Being older, Damru overlooked Jojo’s behaviour and explained, “For us to relish the taste of this fruit, we need to remove its peel and eat the pulp inside it.”

“Oh, so this is how it should be eaten!” said Jojo. “I have understood how to eat a fruit,” He left from there and jumped to another creeper; a creeper of muskmelons. 

“Now I shall enjoy these!” said Jojo with his mouth watering. 

He picked up a muskmelon from the creeper and as he had learned from Damru, he popped the melon, split open its peel and started eating the pulp inside it. But the next moment, he spat the pulp from his mouth. The pulp was a tasteless, stringy substance with lots of seeds. This time too, he couldn’t enjoy the fruit.

With a frown on his face, Jojo muttered to himself. Camu camel was walking by and seeing Jojo spitting the fruit, Camu understood his confusion. He said, “Son, you need to eat the hull of the fruit, not its pulp.” 

Jojo now thought that Damru had not explained the right way to eat a fruit. So, he decided to follow Camu’s advice.

Jumping all over the place, Jojo climbed a walnut tree. Excitedly, he plucked a walnut from the tree and popped open its shell. But the moment he ate the inside of the shell, he felt a bitter taste and his teeth ached.

He ran towards the river to rinse his mouth with water. Standing nearby, Bullo buffalo was drinking water from the river. She asked, “What happened Jojo? Why are you gulping water?”

“Aunt Bullo, I followed the advice of Camu and tried to eat the shell of a walnut. After eating it, I’m feeling uneasy and my teeth are aching.” 

“Oh ho, Jojo! We need to eat the inner portion of a fruit and not its outer part,” she said. Jojo nodded. “Okay, I shall follow this now.”

This time, he hopped onto a pear tree. As adviced by Bullo, Jojo ate the inner portion of the pear fruit. But it was full of seeds and this time too, his mouth felt nothing, but a bitter taste. 

Walking always with his belly aching with hunger and head full of anger, he felt like crying. Roaming hungry under the bright sun all day long had left him exhausted.

Jojo could not understand what had gone wrong and started crying loudly. Hearing him cry, many animals of Champakvan gathered around him.

Jacky giraffe patted him tenderly and asked, “What happened, Jojo? Why are you crying?” Jojo narrated the entire incident in tears. Listening to his story, the animals couldn’t resist laughing.

“Jojo, not all things come with one exact formula. Every fruit has to be eaten in a unique way. However, don’t you worry! You can stay with us for some days and learn about these things For now, eat
these sweet bananas.”

Then, Cheeku peeled two bananas and gave them to Jojo. With his stomach growling from hunger, Jojo quickly ate the bananas. But even now, he couldn’t understand what went wrong and what was one exact formula. But for now, he just wanted to eat bananas! 

Mintu & Banyan Tree!

After a whole night of heavy showers, the rain stopped. Most trees in Anandvan forest had fallen down. Due to landslides at many places, the roads were blocked. 

Mintu monkey reached his favourite spot – the banyan tree, but was shocked to see it. Due to the previous night’s rain, the tree had been uprooted. The huge trunk blocked the road and its branches were scattered everywhere. 

Mintu sat quietly near the fallen tree. He remembered all the beautiful moments he had spent on the tree with his mother.  He had been born there and had spent his childhood playing with other animals on the branches of the tree. When he became older, he left the banyan tree to stay with his friends. But he came to the tree often to meet his mother. Even after his mother died, he would still come to the tree regularly.

After some time, Pinku parrot passed that way. Seeing Mintu sitting there with his shoulders drooping, Pinku asked, “What happened, Mintu? Why do you look so sad?”

“Pinku, I’m sad looking at this uprooted tree,” replied Minku. 

“The rain has destroyed many trees of the forest. This is not the only one. Come with me, I will show you around. Don’t feel so sad,” Pinku consoled.

“No, thank you Pinku. I am better here,” replied Mintu. 

“Tell me the truth, Mintu. What happened? Were you very attached to this tree?” asked Pinku. 

“Yes Pinku, I spent the best days of my childhood sitting here, on this tree. The memory of my mother also revolves around this tree,” Mintu sobbed and said.

 “That is why you are feeling so sad about this tree,” said Pinku. 

“You are right. The government has cut down so many trees to make the road. But, what is the point of the road if there are no trees?”

“You may not need the road, but there are others who do, Mintu. For the development of the forest, this was necessary,” said Pinku, now getting angry at Mintu. 

“It doesn’t mean that for development, the whole forest should be destroyed,” retorted Mintu. 

“For development, cutting trees is necessary.  We don’t know how many more sacrifices we still have to make to become modern,” said Pinku, sticking to his point of view. 

“Pinku, not only that this tree is destroyed. So many animals, birds and insects living on the tree also are homeless. Where will they go now?” asked Mintu.

“Yes, that’s true,” said Pinku. “But this is what you and I think. The government does not think about all this.”

“We must make them understand. Do you know now?” asked Mintu. 

“Come, let us ask what the other animals of the forest who have suffered because of the rains, say on this,” said Pinku.

Soon, they gathered many animals who had suffered losses because of the heavy rains destroying the trees and their homes in the forest.  

“By building the roads in the forest, many animals have suffered loss of their homes and loss of forest property. We should put our problems before the government. If we carry on like this, we don’t know how much more loss we will have to suffer,” said Mintu.

“Mintu is right!” they said together and decided to go and meet the Minister in charge of roads and development.

Seeing so many animals together the Minister asked, “What happened?  Is everything alright?”

“Sir, because of yesterday’s rains, many of our birds and animals have become homeless. Big trees have been uprooted. We have never seen such large-scale destruction,” said Pinku. 

“But why have you come to me?” asked the Minister. “Sir, because of the construction of roads in the forest, so much destruction of property has taken place,” they said together. 

“Then, you tell me, what should I do? For the development of the forest, we have to suffer some amount of loss,” he said. 

“You’re right, sir. But we request that at the time of building roads, a few points should be kept in mind. Road construction should not kill the roots of trees. The forest’s old banyan tree has fallen down. Many birds and small animals had their homes on it. All of them have become homeless. Many creatures had spent their childhood on or around this tree. Their memories revolved around it. And all this is now over!” they explained. 

“You are right. We should have kept these things in mind. The road should have been planned in a way, so that least destruction of trees and forest happens.

Whatever loss has happened, can’t be undone. But I promise you, In future, we will keep in mind that you do not suffer anymore,” replied the Minister. 

“But what will happen to the old banyan tree?  It is still lying there on the ground,” said Pinku. 

“I have a solution for this. If you wish, I can help you preserve its memories,” said the Minister.

“How?” they asked. “We will cut off the big branches and place the trunk with the roots in a big hole in the ground. Soon, new sprouts will come from it,” said the minister. 

“Is that possible?” they asked. “We have to try. And I also promise, next time, we will be careful in our construction,” he promised. 

Mintu and all the animals too decided to help in the development of the forest and ensure that the forest was not destroyed.

Monu’s Selfie Trouble

One day Monu monkey found a mobile phone in the forest. Monu was excited to find the phone and jumped across to give the news to his friends. But first, he thought of taking a selfie or his own picture with his new mobile.

He switched on the camera, scrunched up his nose and face and took a selfie. He then showed the selfie to his friends and offered to take a selfie with them too.

All his friends praised his picture. Monu was filled with joy to hear this. He thought that he had found a priceless gift. Now, all his friends would do his work, as he would offer to take their pictures.

Now, Monu did dangerous things like walking on one hand and swinging from a tree while taking selfies. The more his friends praised his pictures, the more Monu wandered around the forest to find new spots to take selfies. He had become addicted to his friends praising him and his pictures.

But Monu’s mother knew that Monu was wasting a lot of his time in taking pictures and was not finishing his studies or helping her with housework.

One day when Monu returned from the forest, mother said, “Monu, you’re just busy going to dangerous places in the forest to take selfies. I am really worried about this. You need to pay attention to your studies. If something untoward takes place, what will happen? You need to think about what you’re doing.”

“Ma, you worry unnecessarily. I am not a kid anymore. I can easily differentiate between right and wrong. You be assured, I can take care of myself,” replied Monu and turned a deaf ear to what ma had said.

Monu became crazy for taking selfies in dangerous places and the praises his friends showered on him, added fuel to this fire. 

He had become so bold that he would not think twice to take a selfie near a lion, even. It was common for him to climb on the backs of elephants or giraffes and take selfies.

He was so addicted to taking selfies that he thought himself to be the selfie professional of the whole forest. 

Not only did he take selfies better than any other animal, he demanded appreciation from friends all the time. Most of his friends were now fed up with his habit.

One day Monu thought of taking a selfie from the branch of the tallest tree of the forest. One could view the beauty of the whole forest from there. 

He climbed the top most branch of that tree to take a unique selfie. He held the mobile in one of his forelegs, the branch with the other and posed for a selfie, hanging in the air. He was having fun clicking selfies in various poses. But the branch couldn’t bear his weight.

It broke from the tree with a loud crack. Monu fell hitting the branches of the tree, on the ground with a thud and lost his senses with a loud cry.

On hearing his cry, some animals near the tree came running there. Seeing him lying unconscious, they took him to Dr. Gajju elephant immediately. 

Dr. Gajju examined him and said that he was seriously injured and had fractured his legs. Monu needed to rest for two months.

Monu’s mother, too reached Dr. Gajju’s clinic. She was crying because Monu was hurt and unconscious.

Monu became conscious and realized that his mother was crying. He cried in pain and said, “Ma, please forgive me. I will listen to you and promise not to take selfies all the time. I will not touch the mobile again.”

Monu’s mother hugged him and said, “My child, the mobile has nothing to do with this. You had started to misuse the mobile by putting your life in danger, by taking selfies in dangerous places. That’s why you met with an accident. You escaped with minor wounds and your life is out of danger; this is a great lesson for you.”

Monu learnt a lesson from his mother and decided to leave the addiction of taking selfies. But all his friends gathered there and took one last selfie with Monu lying on the bed, with plaster on his leg, to remind him to be careful!

Vehicles Of Gods

The spread of literacy in Vijayvan had not been good for Pandit Bholaram monkey’s business.

He was no longer called upon to read palms to predict the future, nor to perform rituals for good health, success in studies or before entering a new home. The animals of Vijayvan knew these practices were only so that Panditji could make money and did not guarantee the things they promised. 

He shared this with his friend Bunty monkey who came to meet him.

“Business has been dull, my friend. A week has passed since I have had any customer,” said Bholaram sadly.

“Yes! Everyone has become wiser since the opening of the new library,” agreed Bunty.

“Please sit, Bunty. Let me get some tea for you,” said Pandit Bholaram.

Bunty monkey sat, looked around the room and found a book. He started reading it. The book was called ‘Gods and their Favourite Rides’. The book depicted the favourite vehicles of Gods with colourful images. He flips through the entire book by the time Bholaram comes back with tea. He suddenly thought of something.

“There is another forest, a little far from here, called Devvan. The residents of Devvan are uneducated and very superstitious. Your business can thrive there,” said Bunty, taking tea from Bholaram.

Bholaram looked curiously at Bunty.

“An idea has come to my mind after reading this book!” said Bunty and narrated his plan to Bholaram, who also got excited after hearing it.

“Now, since I came up with the idea, I should be a 50% partner in your earnings. You take half and give the other half of what you earn to me,” said Bunty and Bholaram agreed. 

The duo then left for Devvan. They took a house on rent there and hung a board that said: ‘Pandit Bholaram’s Obstacle Removal Centre’.

The word soon spread that a renowned ‘Pandit’ had come to Devvan and was relieving animals of their pains and problems. A huge crowd started to gather at the centre.

Motu owl heard this and came to visit Pandit Bholaram. Touching Bholaram’s feet, Motu said, “These days my earnings are not sufficient. Please suggest a way to increase them.”

“What are you saying, Motu? Such a thing is not possible! You are the carrier of Goddess Lakshmi herself! How can you suffer? This cannot happen to you!” Pandit Bholaram exclaimed before Motu could finish his sentence.

“Who is Goddess Lakshmi?” Motu enquired.

“You don’t know about Goddess Lakshmi? She is the Goddess of wealth who grants money to all. She rides on your back whenever she has to go somewhere,” explained Bholaram.

This was all very confusing for Motu. Pandit Bholaram, then, looked at his partner Bunty monkey for support. Bunty took out the book and turned some pages. He showed an image to Motu and said, “Look, this is you and this is Goddess Lakshmi riding on you for her visit to a poor man to shower her blessings.”

“Oh yes! That is me for sure! I never knew this,” said Motu, surprised.

“Worship Goddess Lakshmi and you will have so much money, you will never have to worry again,” Bunty added.

This made Motu owl extremely happy. He gave Pandit Bholaram fees for this knowledge and left from there.

Bholaram said, “Why has Lord Ganesha’s vehicle take the pain of coming here? I would have visited your house if only you had asked me.”

Bholaram’s words did not mean anything to Chuchu and he started talking about his problem, “I am having a difficult time these days. My wife and kids do not listen to me,” he said.

“This is definitely the dark ages. Lord Ganesha’s ride is having a difficult time! It is definitely not a good time,” Bholaram dramatised.

“I do not understand what you are saying about Lord Ganesha and me being his ride. Please tell me when my luck will change,” asked Chuchu impatiently.

Bunty monkey showed Chuchu a picture from his book and explained, “Look, Lord Ganesha is riding on your back, on his task to remove problems for those who worship him.”

Chuchu was surprised to see that he was carrying Lord Ganesha on his back. This made him realize how great he was!

“Keep Lord Ganesha happy by worshipping him and soon everything will be back to normal,” suggested Bunty.

Chuchu gave money to Pandit Bholaram and left from there.

“Namaste, Pandit ji!” greeted Kalu crow, who visited Bholaram next. “I never get a successful result in any work I do. It seems as if there is an adverse influence of Lord Saturn on me.”

“Lord Saturn can never affect you adversely! You are his ride! He can never let this happen to you!” Bholaram faked surprise.

Like always, Bunty took out his book and showed Kalu an image of Kalu carrying Lord Saturn. 

“Look it is you who is carrying Lord Saturn! The Lord does not have wings to fly and he would be helpless without you. You should go and pray to him and you will be taken care of,” said Bunty.

They suggested Ballu ox to pray to Lord Shiva, Meenu peacock to pray to Kartikey’s, Hansraj swan to pray Goddess Saraswati’s and Golu eagle to pray to Lord Vishnu, as these gods rode on them and advised them to worship their respective Gods and said, “Your luck is going to change very soon. After all, these Gods have to help their rides.”

Now, Chuchu mouse, Motu owl, Kalu crow, Ballu ox, Golu Eagle to Meenu peacock, and others started worshipping their respective Gods. They believed that they would soon become wealthy if they succeeded in pleasing their Gods. 

After several days of praying when none of them got the desired results they went back to Bholaram and complained, “Pandit ji, we have been worshipping our Gods day and night but we have not been rewarded.”

The gathering of a huge crowd made Bholaram nervous. But the clever Bunty immediately came up with an idea and said, “Don’t worry, my friends!  If you haven’t succeeded in the simple method of prayer, then, we will switch to a different and more complicated method. About five kilometres from here, there is a river. On its banks is a tree. You should go there and start a hunger strike. Your strike will make the Gods helpless and their work will come to a standstill. They will not be able to travel from one place to another,” claimed Bunty. 

All the animals followed Bunty’s advice and went to the river bank and sat under the huge banyan tree in a hunger strike. Two days passed but no God or Goddesses came to their rescue.

Rocky rabbit of Vijayvan was visiting Devvan. He was riding on Grandpa elephant’s back. Grandpa elephant was tired as he had been walking continuously and wanted to rest, so they stopped near the banyan tree.

“Rocky, let us rest here for some time and have our food too,” said Grandpa elephant.

Rocky got down from Grandpa elephant’s back. Looking at the crowd gathered there Grandpa elephant said, “What is this? It seems like the whole of Devvan is gathered here!”

“Can’t you see, we are all on a hunger strike? We will not eat or drink anything until God appears to help us,” Kalu crow replied.

“I am Lord Ganesha’s vehicle. Let me see how Lord Ganesha moves out of his house without me,” Chuchu said proudly.

“I carry Goddess Lakshmi around. The Goddess flaunts herself when she sits on me. Let me see how she manages without me,” Motu owl added.

Grandpa elephant and Rocky rabbit understood that animals had been fooled. He noticed that the animals had become very weak from hunger. They were not able to speak properly. Grandpa elephant picked the food kept on his back with his trunk and brought it down. The sweets and the fruits made the animals hungrier. He invited them to eat the food.

“No, we are on a hunger strike,” they said together.

“But you all are the vehicles of the Gods and you are on a hunger strike! How will they come to you if they do not have their rides with them?” asked Rocky.

The animals looked at each other and said, “That makes sense! If we are not with them, how will they come to us?”

But Ballu was suspicious and said, “I think this is a way to disrupt our strike.”

Rocky knew the animals would not survive if they were not fed immediately. He thought hard and came up with an idea. 

He pointed towards Grandpa elephant and said, “He is Eravat-Lord Indra’s vehicle. Your prayers have made Lord Indra happy and he has sent this food with him. But if you all do not wish to eat, we will inform King Indra that.”

Before Rocky could complete his sentence, the animals jumped at the food and polished it off. They felt stronger after eating the food.

“We were not aware that we are vehicles of various Gods till Pandit Bholaram and Bunty monkey told us that we are important as we are the vehicles of Gods,” said Motu owl. On hearing Bholaram and Bunty’s names, both Grandpa Elephant and Rocky rabbit were surprised.

“Chuchu, please help me pick up this empty box of sweets and throw it,” said Grandpa Elephant after a little thought.

Chuchu mouse came and tried to pick up the box but he couldn’t move it.

“Try harder! You claim to carry Lord Ganesha across the universe on your back, so this should not be difficult for you,” said Grandpa elephant.

Chuchu mouse was embarrassed.

Rocky then asked Motu owl, “Can you throw this box outside?”

“Where is the box?” asked Motu looking around but he could not see the box. 

“It’s day time. I cannot see anything when there is sunlight. Let the sun set and it become dark…” he said, trailing his sentence.

“What if Goddess Lakshmi has to go somewhere during the day?” asked Rocky. Motu had no answer.

“Pandit Bholaram has fooled you! You are not the vehicles of Gods and no one will help you succeed if you give money to such pandits. Success can only be achieved with hard work,” explained Grandpa elephant.

Meanwhile in the jungle, Pandit Bholaram and Bunty were busy packing their stuff and getting ready to run away.

Grandpa elephant took all the animals to Pandit Bholaram and Bunty’s house where they saw the duo dividing the money they had earned amongst themselves.

On seeing Grandpa elephant, Bholaram and Bunty understood that they had been caught and returned the money they had charged from the animals.

Grandpa elephant and Rocky rabbit then left for Vijayvan. On his way back Grandpa elephant thought, “We need to open a school and library here, so that the residents of Devvan cannot be fooled easily and keep books that will help them think for themselves.”

New Bicycle

Atul’s old bicycle was too small for him. He had problems riding it, as his legs were too long for the bicycle and would ache. He had been asking for a new bicycle from his father, who was not getting time to buy one.

Atul played badminton on weekends and all his friends came to the court on their cycles. But he had to walk. He, too, wanted to cycle to class like his friends.

At last, his wait ended when his father gifted him a new bicycle on his birthday.

“This Saturday, I too will go for badminton class on my new bicycle,” he said excitedly.

“Not so soon, son. This new bicycle is a bit big for you. Your legs don’t reach the pedal properly. Practice for a few days and then ride it,” father explained.

“But didn’t I ride my old bicycle well? My class is just 2 kilometers away and there is no traffic on that road. I want to go on my new cycle,” Atul insisted.

“You are right, son. But the road to your class is steep. Unless you have full control on the cycle, you may fall. So, practice for a few days near the house and then cycle to class,” father advised.

Atul didn’t say anything but he didn’t like what his father said. ‘I am 10 now but they always think of me as a child,’ he thought to himself.

On Sunday, Atul’s father’s friend came to visit them. Father was talking to him and mother was preparing tea and snacks. Seeing everyone busy, Atul took a chance and took his new bicycle and left for the badminton class.

While placing his racquet and water bottle on the bicycle, he dreamt of being a famous player.

After riding for a short distance, Atul lost his balance, as his legs couldn’t reach the pedals properly and went into a hedge. He and the bicycle, both, fell down. Atul got a minor scratch on his leg. But he still wanted to ride his bicycle to class. He picked up the bicycle. Its handle had got bent, but he didn’t go back and rode to class.

Atul hummed as he rode. The road became steep and he put all his energy and pedaled the bicycle uphill. 

When the road sloped down, instead of applying brakes, Atul got scared. The bicycle raced fast down the road. Another man was coming on his bicycle from the opposite direction. Atul wanted to stop the bicycle but couldn’t because of the slope and collided with the man coming from the opposite direction.

Both the riders fell down with their cycles. Atul’s bicycle fell on top of his leg. His leg hurt. His racquet and water bottle lay on the road. The man with whom Atul collided was bringing milk, bread and eggs from the market. The eggs broke and the milk spread on the road. 

Standing up, the man said, “If I go home without these things, I will get a scolding. I don’t have money to buy them again,” he cried.

Now a crowd gathered around them. Someone asked Atul’s parents’ phone number and called them who came there quickly.

Seeing the whole situation, Atul’s father understood what had happened. Atul was scared to face his parents’.

Atul’s father gave money to the man to buy the things again.

Atul’s racquet and the new bicycle both were bent. His leg had swollen by the time they reached home and his parents had to take him to the doctor.

The doctor said that Atul had sprained his muscles and gave him medicines and asked him to put hot and cold water bags on his legs.

Atul could neither play badminton nor go out to play for 3 weeks. He apologized to his parents and promised to understand when to try new things.

Humans In A Cage

There was silence all around. Streets were deserted and parks, abandoned. No one could be seen on the roads. It seemed like all humans were holed up inside their houses.

The black smoke from the skies had disappeared and the air was less polluted. Rivers, too, were cleaner than before.

The animals of Champakvan couldn’t understand what was going on. They were called for a meeting by Blacky bear in the morning on the banks of Crysty River.

After greeting everyone, Blacky asked, “Where are the humans? What has caused this sudden change? Why do all the cities look deserted? What has caused the noise and air pollution to reduce?”

Blacky Bear asked many questions and looked at the other animals for answers.

“I have heard that a disease has taken over the cities, villages and towns. It is forcing the humans to stay in their houses,” said Jumpy monkey who had returned from the city last week.

“What kind of a disease? How can a disease cause the cities to shut down?” asked Jumbo elephant.

“I do not have much information. It is just something that I heard from somewhere,” replied Jumpy.

“Our water is cleaner too. It seems like nobody is working at the factories as the water is not as dirty as it used to be,” said Wooky alligator, popping his head out of the water.

“It surely means that something really serious has happened, otherwise humans don’t change so easily,” Elvy python added.

“Yes, Rocky rooster also told me that humans don’t come out of their houses even after the morning rooster call,” said Cheeku rabbit. 

After listening to all of them, Blacky took some time to think and then said, “We should try and find out what is happening. I hope this silence is not a warning for some kind of danger approaching our forest. Let’s find out if this is a conspiracy against us. We should send someone from our forest to the city.” 

“Meeku mouse can go. He is fast and small and can enter any house,” said Dumpy pig. 

“Yes, I agree. Meeku will be good for this job,” added Dodo Peacock. 

“Can you do it, Meeku?” asked Blacky. “Sure, I can. It will be my pleasure to be able to do something for our forest,” replied Meeku and left for the city immediately. 

On reaching the city in the afternoon, he noticed that many shops were shut and very few people were on the roads wearing masks. He went inside one of the houses and saw a family watching television. 

A news programme was announcing the rising number of cases and listing the precautions people should take. Meeku left from there and entered another house. 

Here, the television was on but no one was watching. He heard the news host saying, “Coronavirus is spreading fast. Those who have symptoms like runny nose, cough or fever should report immediately. An infected person needs to maintain distance from others. People should stay at home and only step out to buy essentials.” 

Meeku went into yet another house where he saw a little kid drawing and talking to his grandfather. 

“Grandpa, how do you like my drawing?” 

“Wow! Karan, this is lovely. You have shown how all the animals are roaming freely and humans are sitting at home,” said grandpa. 

“It’s true, grandpa. Now, humans are locked in cages while the animals are merrily roaming outside. They are free and not afraid of any virus. When will this coronavirus leave us, grandpa?” asked Karan.

“My dear Karan, until we find a vaccine that can save our lives, we have to follow certain rules of maintaining social distance, washing our hands regularly and eating healthy food. We cannot stop the virus but we can stop it from spreading and hope that this pandemic gets over soon,” explained grandpa.

“Why is it called a pandemic, grandpa?” asked Karan.

“Because it is a disease that has spread to all the countries in the world,” replied grandpa.

Meeku understood the situation. He left the house and ran towards the forest. Another meeting was called in the forest where Meeku explained the whole situation to everybody in detail.

He told them, “Champakvan is not under any threat. It is the humans who are facing a threat from a disease called coronavirus. Let us hope they learn something from this situation.”

This eased the unknown fear that the animals of the forest felt. They hoped that the helplessness the humans faced goes away for good.

The Happiness Shop

Vicky rabbit was fond of eating chocolates. He fought with his younger brother and sister because they unknowingly ate his chocolate that was kept in the fridge.

He was angry and sat quietly in one corner. Suddenly, the doorbell rang as aunt Ruby came to visit them.

Seeing Vicky sit quietly, she asked, “What’s the matter? Have you all fought again?”

Vicky’s looked up at aunt Ruby, trying to smile. He was happy to see her as she had a chocolate shop. He was sure that she must have brought lots of chocolate for them.

Vicky narrated the incident that happened in the morning with his siblings. He didn’t like being angry but could not help it.

Aunt Ruby heard him out and then asked, “If I own a chocolate shop, do I have to go somewhere else to buy chocolates?”

Vicky bowed his head and said, “No, aunt Ruby.”

“This also means that we will always have enough of chocolates in our shop, right?” aunt Ruby asked.

“Yes, aunt Ruby,” replied Vicky.

“Okay, so if you want to be happy, you need to open a happiness shop, so that you will always have enough, especially after you give it to others,” said aunt Ruby.

Vicky was surprised and said, “I never thought of it that way! But how can I open a happiness shop?”

“It’s very easy! Ever since you wake up in the morning, you have to help others and make them happy,” said aunt Ruby.

Confused, Vicky asked, “But how can I give happiness to everyone? Will they take it from me? Am I not too young to give happiness away?” 

Aunt Ruby replied, “So what if you are young. There are many ways to give happiness. You can help your brother and sister in their studies, play with them, or share your things with them. Help your mother with the housework. You can help anyone if you wish to do so.” 

Vicky said, “I understood. Starting today, I will open my happiness shop.” 

Next day, when Vicky was returning from school, he saw an old bear trying to cross the road and helped her. 

He also carried her bag and dropped her home. The bear was happy and thanked Vicky. 

When he reached home, his siblings were struggling to complete their homework. He helped them and shared his chocolates with them. 

His siblings were happy to get an extra share of chocolate and that too from Vicky who loved chocolate so much. 

In the evening, he helped his mother clean the house who was happy to see Vicky voluntarily helping her. 

Vicky was satisfied with all he had done during the day. 

Next morning, he heard his father tell his mother that some senior citizens are living alone in a house nearby. They were struggling to get things from the market. 

Vicky took permission from his parents and helped the senior citizens to buy what they needed on his way back home from school. 

When Vicky had to buy many things, he and his father would go together as he couldn’t carry heavy items alone. 

Vicky was delighted to help people and he realised that he was getting happier by the day. 

A few days later, aunt Ruby visited Vicky again. 

She looked at Vicky and said, “Looks like your happiness shop is running well.” 

With a smile on his face, Vicky replied, “Yes, I am very happy about it! I will continue to share happiness with others as much as possible and run this shop of happiness forever.” 

Aunt Ruby smiled and gave Vicky extra chocolates for his good work.

Modern India

We live in a modern, progressive and independent India. But who was the first Indian who laid the foundation to this modern nation where people are allowed to talk freely? Undoubtedly, it was Raja Ram Mohan Roy.

Ram Mohan was born on May 22, 1772, in the Hooghly district of Bengal. His father, Ramakant Roy, was a wealthy landlord and his mother, Tarini Devi, was a religious woman.

When Ram Mohan was born, the condition of the country was miserable. People in India practised several evil acts like the purdah system where women had to cover themselves from head to toe or be hidden behind high walls and curtains outdoors and even inside their homes; Sati—a practice where widows had to jump in the funeral pyre of their dead husbands; child marriage, an act where children below the age of 18 were married; and female infanticide where newborn female babies were killed. These social evils were practised throughout the country.

Many people in the country were not educated and believed in superstitions, which made the society unsafe, especially for women who had to do what they were told. There was no hope of improvement.

But just when all hope was lost, Ram Mohan came forward and took the responsibility to reform the society. But his path was not easy. He faced constant resistance everywhere, be it at home or outside.

He, too, was a victim of child marriage. He was first married when he was 9 years old. His first wife passed away at a very young age and soon his second marriage was held at the age of 10. He had two sons—Radhaprasad and Ramaprasad. His third marriage was with Uma Devi in the late 1820s.

At the age of just 14, he wanted to become a monk. But his mother opposed his decision and he let go of his ambition.

Soon, he travelled to Patna to study Arabic and Persian languages.

In Kashi (now known as Varanasi), he learned Sanskrit from the pundits and also studied the Vedas and the Upanishads— ancient Sanskrit literature that taught him to believe in the truth and accept nothing but the truth. The Vedas taught him that idol worship is unnecessary as God doesn’t have a body and is pure and cannot be created by man.

These lessons had a great impact on Ram Mohan and he began to question idol worship and several religious rituals.

This led to a life-changing incident in his life. His father was a devoted idol worshipper while Ram Mohan wasn’t. One day, a debate broke out between him and his father about idol worship.

Ram Mohan said, “Father, why do you worship idols? You should only believe in god. The idols are created by man and worshipping them is meaningless!”

His father was deeply offended and said, “Where did you learn such nonsense? Idol worship is a means to reach God.”

“Father, why not worship him directly? What’s the need for a medium for that?” asked Ram Mohan.

The argument enraged his father and Ram Mohan left his house.

In 1803, when his father passed away, he began opposing idol worship and rituals openly.

He supported monotheism as described in the Vedas. Monotheism means all gods are one and only have different names.

He deeply believed in it and wrote a book in Persian called Tuhfat-ul-Muwahidin or The Gift of Monotheism.

In 1805, he met John Digby, a British officer who taught him English. This helped him understand the lifestyle and practices of people in English-speaking countries.

From 1809 to 1814, Ram Mohan lived in Rangpur city (now in Bangladesh). While earning for his family, he met people of all religions. He understood that to fight social evils, he would not get any support from society. So, he kept increasing his knowledge and experiences.

In 1814, Ram Mohan moved to Kolkata. In 1815, he founded the Atmiya Sabha—an organisation that invited people to share their ideas.

In 1817, he founded the Hindu College in Kolkata to promote modern education and English language. He wanted the number of literate people to increase as only then would they question the society and its evil practices. He believed that educated people will think rationally.

Ram Mohan’s work against the practices of the society was not welcomed by many and he had to face several challenges but he never lost courage and kept fighting and spreading awareness.

To reach the masses with his teachings, in 1821, he launched a Bengali newspaper Samvad Kaumudi and a Persian newspaper Mirat-ul-Akhbar in 1822.

In these newspapers, he wrote about the evils prevailing in the society like Sati, child marriage, purdah system and many others. His writings encouraged people to think about reforming the society.

People were forced to think:

“Why do we get children married when they are supposed to play at that age?”

“Why do we burn women alive on the funeral pyre?”

“What is the need for keeping women behind the purdah and separating them in society?”

“Why can’t we let widows have a new life of dignity by getting them remarried?”

The exact answers to such questions could be found in the writings of Ram Mohan. This marked the beginning of a reformed society.

In 1828, he founded the Brahmo Samaj and continued to fight for various social reforms through this organisation.

He achieved success in some parts of the country.

But Ram Mohan’s biggest success was the abolition of Sati. The practice of burning the wife alive on the husband’s funeral pyre was carried out for hundreds of years. It was a terrible practice where the woman was forcibly burned.

Ram Mohan took the battle of Sati from India to England. Due to his efforts, the British government banned Sati on December 4, 1829.

In 1831, the Mughal Emperor Akbar II gave the title of ‘Raja’ to Ram Mohan Roy.

He died on September 27, 1833, in Bristol, England. In his honour, the British government named a pedestrian path in Bristol as ‘Raja Ram Mohan Walk’.

Rabindranath Tagore, a famous poet, described him as the Father and Maker of Modern India.

The Ghost of Penupuram

Nikhil and Neelu could meet their cousins Alekhya and Anirudh only once a year at their family home during the winter vacations. They would really look forward to meeting them!

Nikhil’s family would come down from Mumbai and Alekhya’s would arrive
from Hyderabad. They would meet every winter in Penupuram, a village deep in the interiors of Andhra Pradesh.

The holidays were a glorious period of about twenty days for the kids. There were no studies, no homework, no special classes, no assignments. They would just eat, sleep, and play in their grandfather’s mango orchard. In the evenings, they would listen to the stories narrated by Tatagaru (Grandpa) while munching on snacks made by Bamma (Grandma).

One evening Tatagaru said, “Children, today I am going to tell you the story of the ghost of Penupuram.”

“That’s awesome Tatagaru,” the children said together.

“This happened in the 1970s,” said Tatagaru.

“Oh Tatagaru, we were not even born then,” said Anirudh.

“Even your parents were not born, children,” said Tatagaru, laughing.

“My dad was born in 1978,” said Nikhil proudly.

”And my father was born in 1979,” said Alekhya, not wanting to be left behind.

“Okay. Keep quiet now and let Tatagaru start his story,” Neelu said impatiently.

“Well children, I was about fifteen years then. In those days we did not have buses or taxis to go to the nearest town. We either had to go on a bullock cart or a bicycle.

One night my father fell ill. My mother was very worried. My brother and sister had gone to a nearby village to attend a wedding. I was unwell, so I could not go.

Mother started crying. It was ten o’clock at night. All our neighbours had gone to sleep. The nearest town, Tenali, was about an hour away, on a bicycle.

With a severe cold, I decided to cycle to Tenali, to get our family doctor.

My mother went to my friend Bheem’s house to request him to give me company because I was not well.

Bheem was a very close friend of mine, who lived two houses away. He would boast about fighting robbers single-handedly, killing venomous snakes, controlling bulls and many other feats which many people would not even think about doing. I had a feeling that he was a big braggart but I could never prove that he had not done what he said.

My mother believed all his stories, so maybe that’s why she wanted him to accompany me on the dark country road.

Bheem came over to my house. He had been awake but did not seem very eager to give me company on the pitch-dark road. When he saw my father struggling to breathe, without saying anything, he agreed to ride the cycle and I sat behind him.

We started out on our journey. There were no street lights. Bheem started showing off again.

“Nothing scares me. I can fight any wild animal,” said Bheem. But as we rode along, his confidence seemed to fade. We were talking and joking to prove to each other that we were not afraid, but in reality, we were very trembling with fear.

Halfway through, we reached a dried up well. Bheem told me that people had strange experiences like hearing the sound of payal and dancing steps. He declared loudly that he was not afraid of ghosts but suddenly became quiet.

I also started feeling a little uneasy because suddenly we heard a tinkling sound. It was not the sound of payal which would also be scary in such a place. It was the loud sound of ghungroos! The sound was now coming closer to us.
Bheem stopped the cycle.

“Wha… what happened?” I asked nervously.

“I don’t know. The cycle is not moving… and I can’t see anything,” said Bheem. He was shaking like a leaf. I could feel his body rattling. We left the bicycle and ran. The tinkling sound followed us.”

Neelu moved closer to Tatagaru. She grabbed Tatagaru’s hand was getting scared. Anirudh started teasing her.

“It is only a story, silly,” said Anirudh.

“But it happened to Tatagaru and his friend,” said Neelu, clinging on to Tatagaru’s arm.

Grandfather did not smile but continued.Children fiction

“We ran at lightning speed. We were running blindly on the dark road. Suddenly Bheem screamed, “Aaaaaaaaargh … Someone pushed me aaaaaaaaagh!” I was so scared I did not know what to do. We kept running in the general direction of the town. And then, something hit me on my back. I scream­ the loudest I had done in my life, and fell forward. The sound of bells was still coming from behind us. After that we don’t remember what happened to us.

When we opened our eyes, we were in Dr. Rao’s house. A lady was massaging our foreheads and backs. Somebody offered us hot milk. We drank without any hesitation.


After a few minutes, the doctor said “Yes, young men. Now tell me the entire story.”

We narrated the entire story. We were still feeling very nervous. The doctor asked Bheem, “So young man, whose ghost was it?”

“I do not know sir, but people say it is the ghost of a young woman who died recently,” said Bheem.

“Look here,” the doctor said. “I have been living here for the past 45 years and I have not seen any ghosts. As far as I know, no young woman has died. I am a doctor so I should know.”

“Then those bells?” I asked, still nervous.

Dr. Rao took us to the verandah. “There is your ghost,” he said pointing to a playful bull-calf tied to a tree. He was covered with bells and beads and was grazing on some dry grass which Dr. Rao’s servants had put for him.children fiction

Dr. Rao continued ”At about eleven o’clock, I heard some sounds. I came out and saw the two of you lying on my doorstep talking that a ghost was chasing you and wanted to kill you. So, we got you inside and you know the rest of the story,” he said smiling.

Dr. Rao said, “Boys, there are no such things as ghosts and ghouls. People just imagine them. All such experiences can be explained. This poor calf was probably separated from its herd. Tomorrow we will know who his owner is.

Actually, this is not the first time that cattle is lost in that area. When these animals see human beings, they run behind them.”

More From Champak: The Sugarcane Ghost

Dr. Rao drove us back in his jeep. On the way, we found our bicycle. One of its tyres got punctured. We now understood why it had stopped last night! Dr. Rao helped us put it in the jeep.

My father soon became better. The doctor said it was just an allergy. Mother thanked him with tears in her eyes. The doctor was an old family friend. He asked us not to worry. But a great change came over Bheem. From that day onwards, he never talked about his brave adventures.”

Tataguru took a deep breath as he finished the story.

“Oh Tatagaru, what a great story!” clapped the children.

The Gift

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Jay’s April Fool’s Surprise

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


The Minister of Laughs

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

“What happened to the king?”

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

“What will become of our kingdom?”

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

Damru’s face fell.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Milo’s Adventure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Great idea, Milo!” said Kiki.

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

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

“This is perfect!” exclaimed Milo.

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


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

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

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

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

“Kiki! Kiki!” shouted Milo.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

The two had a hearty laugh.

Unique Colours

Whitey Rabbit was very proud of his skin. It was as soft as silk and as white as snow. He took good care of it and always tried to keep it clean. He was even more careful now that the festival of Holi was approaching. Whitey Rabbit still shuddered when he recalled the terrible experience he had just the year before.

Whitey Rabbit had been watching his friends playing Holi. They had been throwing colours and water on each other. It was then when Gappu Elephant had suddenly turned around and thrown a bucketful of blackcoloured water on Whitey. Whitey Rabbit had screamed. His delicate, white skin had turned black because of the colour in the water. He had scrubbed himself with soap many times and used countless buckets of water. But the black colour just wouldn’t go. Whitey Rabbit learnt that Gappu Elephant had mixed a dye meant to darken clothes and not a regular Holi colour in the water. It had taken three whole months for the colour to come off. Whitey Rabbit had started dreading Holi after that.

The day before Holi, Whitey Rabbit went up to his friends. “Please don’t think I’m a spoilsport,” he said. “But I won’t be playing Holi with you this year.”

“Why not?” Whitey Rabbit’s best friend Catty Cat asked, surprised.

“Don’t you remember what happened last year, Catty?” Whitey Rabbit said with tears in his eyes. “Thanks to Gappu Elephant, I ended up looking like a ghost for three whole months! I had turned as black as coal. Everyone made fun of me for months and called me names!”

“But Gappu Elephant had drenched Bunty Monkey with the same coloured-water too,” Toto Parrot remarked. “And Bunty had managed to look clean in just a day! You mustn’t have used soap or washed yourself properly, Whitey.”

“I had!” Whitey Rabbit said firmly. “I had used several bars of soap and plenty of water too!”

“Bunty Monkey had applied mustard oil on his body before he came out to play!” Meenu Starling explained. “It had formed a coating on his skin. That’s why he could wash the colour off so easily.”

“Whitey, why don’t you apply mustard oil on your body this time?” Toto Parrot suggested. “You will be able to play Holi with us without spoiling your skin.”

“No!” Whitey Rabbit shouted and shuddered. “I will never ever apply mustard oil on my beautiful white skin. It will only make my fur oily and my body stink!”

“Then how will you protect yourself from the colours of Holi, Whitey?” Meenu Starling asked, seeming very concerned. “We all know that Gappu Elephant is hoping to put more coloured water on you this year.’

“I’ll hide somewhere on Holi day and come out only when it’s safe,” Whitey Rabbit said.

“Don’t be silly!” Toto Parrot said. “Gappu Elephant will surely find you. You won’t be able to hide from him for very long.”

Whitey Rabbit shuddered. The thought of his precious skin turning black again scared him to no end.

“Don’t worry, Whitey,” Catty Cat said reassuringly. “You needn’t be afraid of Gappu Elephant or anyone else on Holi day. I have an idea that will surely help.”


And so, Holi day finally arrived. All the animals in the forest were having a good time. They were playing with colours and throwing buckets of water and water balloons at each other. Some of them were even squirting water out from water pistols. Nobody was left out.

Happy Hippo was singing Holi songs that were completely out of tune, and some of the animals were dancing too. There was joy and laughter everywhere.

Gappu Elephant was part of the celebrations too. And even though he was enjoying the singing and dancing, his eyes were quietly scanning the forest. He was looking for Whitey Rabbit. And just like the year before, Gappu Elephant had a bucketful of black coloured water ready to pour on him.

When Catty Cat saw Gappu Elephant looking around so carefully, he understood what his intentions were.

Catty Cat slowly sneaked up to where Gappu Elephant was.

“Gappu,” he whispered. “I have brought some special colour for you to put on Whitey. I know how you have been waiting to colour him.”

Gappu Elephant’s eyes grew wide. “Special colour?” he said, curiously. “Show it to me please!”

“I’ll need to use your bucket for that, Gappu,” Catty Cat said, taking Gappu Elephant’s bucket away. He then threw the black-coloured water out and filled it with some tap water. Catty Cat then pulled two bottles out of his pocket.


“Here it is, Gappu!” Catty Cat said, pointing to the white solutions in the bottles. He then poured the solutions into the water which turned a dark pink.

“This is a nice dark colour to put on Whitey!” Gappu Elephant said gleefully.

Gappu Elephant then grabbed the bucket. He soon found Whitey Rabbit hiding behind a bush. Gappu Elephant quickly turned the bucket over and poured each and every drop of the dark pink-coloured water on Whitey Rabbit

“Please don’t do that!” Whitey Rabbit begged. “Please! You’ll ruin my skin!”

But Gappu Elephant simply laughed and ran away.

Whitey Rabbit found that he had turned a dark pink.

He was coloured right from head to toe. No one else bothered to put any more colour on him after that.

At noon, all the animals went to the lake to wash up. The sun was shining in the sky and the animals’ bodies began drying in the warmth of the sunlight.

Whitey Rabbit found something strange happening to the colour on his body. It was fading away on its own. And by the time he reached the lake, he found that there wasn’t a trace of the dark pink colour left on him.

Gappu Elephant couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw that Whitey Rabbit was his clean, white self already. “How did Whitey clean himself so quickly?” he wondered. “He must have applied some mustard oil before coming out to play.”

Catty Cat whispered to Whitey Rabbit, “That wasn’t any ordinary colour. It was a special colour made of two white solutions. Magicians often use it for their magic shows. It evaporates on its own when it dries!”

Whitey Rabbit smiled and thanked his friend. “That was a wonderful idea you had, Catty!” he said gratefully. “I played Holi without spoiling my skin. Thanks to you. You really are a true friend!”

Catty Cat smiled. Happy Hippo then began singing a song that was completely out of tune again.

All the animals burst out laughing and then went to eat the special Holi feast.

Real Freedom

Anisa the Butterfly was in an elated mood. She was enjoying the pleasant weather and flying through the park.

Suddenly, a bumble bee appeared in front of Anisa. Anisa got afraid, and changed her way. She turned around and saw that some more bumble bees were following her.

She tried to fly faster, however the bumble bees reached her.

Two of them blocked her way. “Why are they following me? What do they want from me? Have I ever done any wrong to them that they are here to take revenge?” Millions of such thoughts started crossing her mind.

She remembered her friends complaining of the troubles caused to them by those bumble bees. They were suffering because of the harm caused by the bumble bees. She slowed down as the bumble bees approached her.

The bumble bees surrounded Anisa. She was startled and couldn’t speak a word. One of the bumble bees went ahead and caught hold of her wing. Anisa found it difficult to move. All she did was look at the bees with helpless eyes and wonder what they were going to do with her. She looked around but there was no one who could rescue her. The bumble bees made fun of Anisa and laughed at her. Anisa was on the verge of crying.

After troubling Anisa by surrounding her and blocking her path for a while, the bumble bees flew away.

Anisa breathed a sigh of relief. She was no more in danger, however she kept thinking about the incident over and over again. She also kept brooding over the fact that the other butterflies were facing the same situation daily.

She thought, “Why is it that we do not have the freedom to be safe like others? Why can’t we fly wherever we want without anyone harassing us? Is this what the society is made for?

Why can’t our society think of taking appropriate steps to curb these practices?”

Anisa was weeping inconsolably. She had intended to enjoy the pleasant climate but ended up spoiling her day instead.

There was a tiny rose plant who had witnessed the entire episode. He looked at Anisa and called out to her, “Why are you weeping? Come here. Sit on the rose petal.”

Anisa sat on one of the petals. She immediately fluttered her wings and got up from there.


“Why did you get up?” asked the plant.

“These thorns hurt me,” replied Anisa.

The plant smiled and asked, “How are my flowers?”

“Very beautiful! Very soft! Very delicate!” replied Anisa.

The plant said, “So when these delicate flowers can protect themselves, then why can’t you?”

“What do you mean?” asked Anisa.

“You have to change with circumstances,” replied the plant, “These buds were as delicate as you are. They too were troubled by others. They learnt to defend themselves with the thorns. One should change according to the need of the hour. You are delicate, beautiful and soft, but you should become strong when someone tries to take advantage of your innocence.

You will have to fight your battle alone. Don’t depend on others to come to your rescue every time. Be strong and courageous. You cannot live a helpless and a dependent life. The wind changes its direction, the climate keeps changing, time too changes continuously. Similarly, you have to adapt to changing circumstances. Have strength and courage to fight the injustice. And that will enable you to experience real freedom.”

Anisa realised that she had to help herself and find solutions to her problems.


She said to the plant, “Thank you, friend. You have shown me the right path. I have no complaints against anyone now.”

Anisa said this and flew high in the air with happiness and cheer. Her flight indicated that she was confident enough to defend herself and had no worries. She was indeed free!



And They Became Friends

Rohan and Meera were close friends. One day when Meera saw Rohan sitting on the school ground looking glum, she asked what was bothering him.

“I am upset with the behaviour of Shashi and his friends. They are always troubling other children. Today they tore Gautam’s diary. I saw everything yet I could not do anything about it,” Rohan said sadly.

“Oh! So, this is the reason. You know they cannot be reformed. Why are you spoiling your mood by thinking about them?” said Meera trying to cheer him up.

Rohan agreed with her and quickly changed the subject to exam preparation.

The next day, the Principal circulated a notice to all the classes, announcing that students, who write a good essay on “Our Camp”, will be appointed as volunteers at the summer camp. Three students had to be selected from each class

All the children were very excited and quickly got down to writing the essay. However, Shashi as usual wanted to make trouble and he started disturbing other students and would not let anyone write their essay.

“If you keep troubling us like this I will complain against you to the principal. He is very strict and he will expel you from the camp,” Rohan said.

Shashi stared angrily at Rohan and reluctantly sat down in his seat.

Meanwhile Meera had gone to the washroom and when she returned she saw that the paper on which she had been writing her essay was not on her desk.

“Where is my essay?” Meera screamed. She looked for it everywhere. Hearing the commotion, their teacher entered the classroom.’


“Sir, Shashi has stolen Meera’s essay,” said Sonia. And all students joined her in blaming Shashi as he was the one who was always making trouble.

The teacher angrily said, “Shashi! I have been hearing complaints against you for a long time. Stealing is not a good behaviour. As a result, I am expelling you from the camp.”

To everyone’s surprise, Rohan came to Shashi’s defense.

“Sir, Shashi has not stolen Meera’s essay.

I was watching Shashi all the time so that he does not trouble’s anyone and so, I can say that Shashi did not steal the essay,” Rohan explained.

The teacher announced that he would check everyone’s bag to solve the mystery of the missing essay. Each student was asked to step out of the classroom for the search to begin.

While the teacher was saying this, Sonia quietly tore Meera’s essay and put pieces of paper in Shashi’s bag.

During the search, as suspected, the essay papers were found in Shashi’s bag. He was called inside to explain them.

Now tell us, Shashi, do you still say that you did not steal the essay? These were found in your bag,” the teacher said showing Shashi the torn pieces.

Once again Rohan defended Shashi. “Sir, I have proof that Shashi is not the thief but Sonia is,” said Rohan.

“Sir! These are the bits of paper of the essay, that I found in Sonia’s bag. Sonia stole the essay and tore them inside her bag.”

“Then at the right moment Sonia shoved these bits of paper into Shashi’s bag. She did it so that Shashi would get caught and she would not be suspected,” continued Rohan.


“If Shashi had stolen the paper, how are same bits of it in Sonia’s bag,” asked Rohan showing the bits of the essay in Sonia’s bag.

Sonia was asked to explain herself to everyone.

Sonia then said that she was jealous of Meera and stealing her essay was the only way to stop Meera from volunteering for the camp. Since Shashi had a reputation for being the troublemaker it was easier to put the blame on him.

The teacher expelled Sonia from the camp. Shashi thanked Rohan for his support and promised that from now onwards he would mend his ways. After some time, Rohan and Shashi became good friends. •


The Aliens Are Coming!

What was that?” asked Squiggy, the squirrel startled.

“What? Where?” asked Danny, the deer, looking around.

“There!” said Squiggy, pointing to the sky. “It flew over the tree to the other side.”

“I didn’t see anything,” said Danny, still confused. “What did you see?”

“I don’t know. It looked like a plane but there was no sound,” said Squiggy.

Danny came to the conclusion that it must have been an alien spaceship. He immediately told his friends about it and the news spread like wildfire across the forest. Even the news channels started reporting it.

“Did you really see an alien spaceship?” asked King Tammy, the tiger.

“I did see something fly past but it was unlike anything I had seen before. So, I am not sure what exactly it was,” said Squiggy, thinking hard.

“Did it make a sound?” asked Minister Monty, the monkey.

“No, it did not,” replied Squiggy.

“Hmmm…then Danny must be right. They are aliens!” declared Monty. “If aliens have come to the forest, we must welcome them. I’ve heard that they are very powerful.”

“You are right, Monty. Even I’ve read that their technology is several years ahead of ours. Let’s organise a grand welcome party for them,” said Tammy.

The entire forest prepared for the welcome party. A large open spot was chosen where balloons and banners were put up. Then, all the animals waited patiently for the aliens to show up.

Three days had passed and there was still no sign of the aliens or their spaceships.

“I don’t think the aliens are going to come,” said Tammy disappointed.

“Perhaps Squiggy lied about seeing the aliens,” said Monty.

“I think so too. Squiggy made a fool of us!” said Tammy angrily. “Bring him to me!”

Squiggy went up to Tammy and said, “I did not lie, Your Highness. I really saw something, but I did tell you that I am not sure what it was,” said Squiggy scared.

The aliens are coming

“We trusted you and made so many arrangements, and now we look like fools! It was an utter waste of our time. You will be punished for it,” roared Tammy.

“But…but…,” Squiggy tried to explain but Tammy wouldn’t listen.

“I give you a day’s time to find out what it really was or get ready to face your punishment,” said Tammy, before walking away.

“This is my fault!” thought Danny, realising what he had done. “If I had not spread the news, my friend would not have got into trouble,” he regretted.

Danny too began looking for the spaceship. He came across a clearing where he finally found the aliens!

That evening , Tammy  was taking a walk, when  all of a sudden, he saw something fly swiftly over his head.

“The aliens are here!” he screamed in joy.

Hearing  the commotion, the other animals  of the forest quickly  gathered around.

“I just saw the alien spaceship! It flew over my head,”  said Tammy excitedly.

“Squiggy was speaking the truth”,  said Monty.

“Yes.  There’s no need  to punish him now,”  said Tammy, waiting  for the aliens to show up again.

Suddenly, a small helicopter  flew over  Tammy’s head and landed before him. Everyone was puzzled.

The aliens are coming

“That’s not alien spaceship, Your Highness,” said Danny, making his way through the crowd. “While looking for the alien spaceship, I found a few kids playing with their remote-controlled toy airplanes and helicopters close to where  Squiggy and I were talking the other day. Squiggy must have seen one of these toys and got confused.”

The realisation downed Tammy. “So the aliens were actually living among us,” he said smiling. He then turned to Squiggy and said, “Please forgive me for accusing of you lying. I should have verified the rumour instead of trusting  it blindly.”

“You are right, Your Highness. This is a lesson for all of us,” said Monty.

All the animals agreed.



Go to the Jungle, Sam

Dr. Fancy and Mac were headed to the jungle in the African savannah. Sam, the lion, was sitting quietly with them in their jeep.

Dr. Fancy caressed Sam’s head affectionately and said, “Sam, lions are supposed to live in jungles, not in human homes. You should also learn to enjoy living in the jungle.”

Sam hung his head low. Dr. Fancy again said in a loving tone, “I understand, Sam. You must be thinking how will you live alone without us, isn’t it? Sam, you have grown up now. You can certainly live on your own. You don’t need to be scared. All the lions of the jungle are just like you. The only difference would be that they would be ahead of you in certain things. But then, even you are a lion! So don’t be frightened.”

Dr. Fancy’s words could do nothing to soothe Sam’s fears. He turned his face in the other direction and sat quietly.

Some years ago, Dr. Fancy and Mac had brought Sam home. He was just a cub then. He had lost his mother and looked very vulnerable.

Dr. Fancy and Mac had raised him in their home, but when Sam grew up; they realized his need to live in a jungle. So they decided to take him to his real home in the African jungle.

Sam was now a pet lion. He had grown very close to Dr. Fancy in all these years. Naturally, he was upset at their decision.

Soon they reached the jungle. It was time to leave Sam there.

“Sam, don’t be scared. We will stay with you until you get comfortable here. So Sam, go on. See what the jungle is like. After all, this is going to be your home,” Dr. Fancy kissed him tenderly.

Sam walked on. He had tears in his eyes, but what could he do? He couldn’t disobey Dr. Fancy. Also, he was curious to see the jungle.

He had just gone a little further when he saw some wild buffaloes. Sam became stiff upon seeing them.

When the wild buffaloes saw him scared, they saw this as a chance to dominate him. When they moved towards him, Sam ran back and hid behind Dr. Fancy.

“Sam, they are just wild buffaloes. You got terrified of them!” Dr. Fancy realized now that he had deprived a lion of his actual wild nature. Dr. Fancy prepared himself and trained Sam to fight them.

Sam was ready now. He walked towards the jungle again. This time he met a pack of wolves. Sam stopped in his tracks, but then he remembered Dr. Fancy’s words, “You are a lion, Sam.” Sam walked ahead with confidence. All the wolves got intimidated and ran away.


Sam had gained some self-assurance by now. He kept wandering in the jungle through the day, but he hadn’t met any lions till then.

Later that day, Sam came running to Dr. Fancy around midnight. Dr. Fancy didn’t notice it until he switched on the torch that Sam was badly wounded.

“Oh, his condition proves that he has met other lions. They have attacked him savagely,” Mac said.

Dr. Fancy felt disappointed. Sam had not been able to fight and this fear had led him to come back to them.

It was a question of Sam’s life. He couldn’t do anything without Dr. Fancy.

Dr. Fancy began giving him intense training from the next day. Sam would enter the jungle every day, but would come back injured.

After a few days, Sam didn’t return at night. That entire night the jungle reverberated with the roars of lions. Dr. Fancy got very worried about Sam.

With the breaking of the dawn, Dr. Fancy and Mac set out to find Sam. What they saw lit their faces up.


It was Sam, who had injured four lions. Sam had woken up to his nature. Now he was ready to be a part of the jungle. Sam strengthened this belief and Dr. Fancy was happy now.

Sam had made a place for himself in the jungle now. All the lions were afraid of him. He was treated as the king of the jungle.

Seeing this Dr. Fancy and Mac were happy. They gathered their stuff and moved towards their vehicle. Right then, they saw Sam running towards them.

“Hey Sam! What are you doing here? Have you come to bid us goodbye?” Dr. Fancy and Mac became very emotional. “There is no danger to you now. I am happy that you will be able to become the king of the jungle.

I was worried about your safety, but now that fear is gone. You are very brave. Go, and be happy in the jungle.”

Dr. Fancy patted Sam’s cheek, but Sam had tears in his eyes. He climbed up the vehicle, as if saying, “You wanted me to be brave, and I did that. Now take me back. I can’t live without you.”

Dr. Fancy read Sam’s feelings from his eyes and hugged him tightly while sobbing himself.

“How will I live without you, Sam? What a fool was I that I thought that you were coming to us out of fear, but you were coming for us and even now you are pleading so much. But Sam, your future is in the jungle. Please understand.”

Dr. Fancy caressed Sam. Mac switched on the ignition, but Sam didn’t get down.


Dr. Fancy insisted on waiting for a few hours and then the vehicle sped towards the city. Sam was still sitting in the rear seat.

The Front-Bencher

One morning, during the early 1900s, in pre-independent India, two brothers were getting ready to go to school. They lived in the city of Cuttack, Orissa, along with their large family.

“Brother, it’s time to go to school. Let’s leave now,” said Subhas to his elder brother, Sharad.

“What’s the hurry? There’s still time,” responded Sharad casually.

“You don’t understand. I want to go to school early today because I want to sit on the first bench. I always end up sitting behind. I think it’s because I reach late,” explained Subhas.

“In that case, let’s leave right away!” said Sharad. The brothers left for school at once.

Subhas reached school earlier than usual and quickly occupied the front bench, which was still vacant. After a while, a British boy came to class and asked him to vacate the seat.

“I won’t get up from here. I came early today and was the first to sit here,” said Subhas.

The boy complained to the teacher who in turn asked Subhas to vacate the front bench. The teacher told Subhas that he was not allowed to sit there. Subhas felt dejected and moved to another bench at the back of the class.


That evening, on their way back home, Subhas asked his brother, “Why aren’t we allowed to sit on the front benches?”

Sharad did not know how to explain to his little brother that under the British rule, this is how Indian students were treated in a missionary school.

Though Subhas was a bright student and scored the highest marks in his class, the scholarship was awarded to a British student. This again left Subhas heartbroken.

“We shouldn’t study in this school anymore. If they discriminate amongst students this way, is it a school worth studying in?” Subhas asked his brother.

Again, Sharad had no reply.

After a few years, Subhas passed the matriculation examinations with a good score and secured an admission into the Presidency College in Kolkata. His father, Janki Das who was a wellknown lawyer, and his mother, Prabhavati were overjoyed. They were certain that Subhas would make them proud.

One day, Subhas returned home from college quite upset.

“What’s the matter, Subhas? You look gloomy today,” said his mother, sensing something amiss.

“They expelled me from college,” said Subhas sadly.

“But why? You were specially invited to study in that college by the principal himself. Why would he do that?” asked his mother shocked.

“One of our professors, Mr. Otten holds discriminatory views about our country. So, when he said something disrespectful about India, and insulted some Indian students, I protested. And in the spur of the moment, I raised my hand, too. Therefore, they expelled me,” explained Subhas.


His mother was apprehensive for a moment, but then she smiled.

“Subhas, how could you have sat quietly and listened to insults against your own country? With regards to college decorum and discipline, what you did was wrong. But when seen from the point of view of upholding the respect of your country, you did the right thing. The notion of freedom runs in your veins. I am proud of you, son,” said his mother.

“Thank you, mother,” said Subhas, who felt much better now.

His mother hugged him and said, “Our country won’t be under the British rule for long because of people like you who stand up for their country.”

That boy grew up to be Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, one of the most prominent freedom fighters of our country.


Subhas Chandra Bose set up the Azad Hind Fauj, an army he raised with the help of the German government to wage war against Britain. He was also the first person to address Mahatma Gandhi as the Father of the Nation in a speech delivered on 6 July 1944, through the Azad Hind Radio from Singapore.

His slogan, “Give me blood, and I shall give you freedom” went a long way in uniting the citizens of India against the British rule.

The Boastful Parrot

Piku was a handsome parrot. But he took too much pride in his beauty. Whenever he met the other animals in the forest, he would only talk about himself.

One day when he was looking at his feathers and admiring himself, he heard a beautiful voice coming from near the lake. Piku wondered to whom the voice belonged. Unable to contain his curiosity, he flew towards the lake to find out.

There, he saw a beautiful swan with feathers as white as milk and a beak that glistened in the sun. She was singing and dancing in the lake. She noticed Piku looking at her.

“Hello, there!” said the swan sweetly. “My name is Sofi and I’ve just arrived in your forest.”

“Hi, Sofi. I am Piku. Welcome to our forest,” said Piku warmly.

Just when he was about to talk about his beauty, Sofi said, “Look at my feathers, Piku. Don’t you think they are shiny and soft? And my neck—it’s slender and curvy. You may not have seen any creature as beautiful as I am!”

Piku was irritated. “How much she talks about herself!” he thought to himself.

He listened to her talk more about herself, and then finally said, “Sofi, I must go now. I’m pleased to have met you. Hope we meet again. Bye!”

On his way back home, Piku met Mittu, the squirrel. “There’s a new guest in our forest. But do stay away from her,” said Piku.

“Who is this new guest? And why are you asking me to stay away from her?” asked Mittu curiously.

“Her name is Sofi. She’s a swan. All she talks about are her feathers, neck, eyes and how beautiful she is! I don’t like her at all,” said Piku.

“Ha ha! I am used to that, Piku. You do the same with me,” said Mittu.

“Whether you accept it or not, that’s what you do. Ask anyone,” said Mittu, walking away.

Piku then met Bhola, the bear. “Stay away from Sofi, the swan!” Piku warned him.


“But why? What has she done?” asked Bhola.

“She’ll bore you to sleep by constantly talking about how beautiful she is,” said Piku.

“Just like you! Now, do you realise how we feel when you keep boasting about yourself?” asked Bhola.

Suddenly, he heard Sofi’s voice again. It seemed like she was coming this way. Piku quickly left, not wanting another conversation with her.

Later, Piku sat down on a tree and pondered over what Mittu and Bholu told him. “Do I really talk about myself that much?” he wondered aloud. “They must be mistaken. It is Sofi who keeps talking about herself. I’ve never seen anyone so vain!”

Kalu, the elephant, who happened to walk by, heard Piku talking to himself. “Are you boasting about your good looks again?” Kalu asked Piku.


“No, I was talking about Sofi, the swan. She irritates others by talking only about herself,” replied Piku.

“But that is what you do as well, and we get irritated with you. But we don’t tell you about it because you are a good friend and we didn’t want to hurt your feelings,” said Kalu.

Piku finally realised his mistake. “I am sorry. I didn’t realise how vain I was being until today. I am going to change that about myself, and hopefully make Sofi understand this as well,” he said. “And next time, do tell me if I do something wrong. Don’t keep it from me just because I am your friend.”

“Don’t worry, Piku. I am sure we won’t have anything to complain about hereafter,” said Kalu with a smile.



A Trip To America

Baddy fox was cunning when it came to work. He often found new plans to cheat others.

While living in Champakvan, Baddy had borrowed money from almost everybody in the forest, but when it came to giving back the money, he always managed to escape by giving them some excuse.

One morning, Baddy went to Jumbo elephant’s house and saw him brushing his teeth outside the house.

“Jumbo, can you give me Rs. 1000 as a loan? I will give you back Rs. 2000 after a week’s time,” said Baddy.

Hearing Baddy, Jumbo was shocked. He spit out the water he was gargling with. Jumbo looked at Baddy from top to bottom and asked, “Baddy, are you sleepwalking? How can you double the money in a week?”

“Jumbo, I have an offer from a big company that can help me double my money. You are my best friend so I came to you. If you are not interested, I can ask someone else,” said Baddy.

“No, no. Wait for me here. I’ll get the money from inside,” said Jumbo and gave Baddy the money.

“Jumbo, come to my home after a week and take your money,” said Baddy keeping the money inside his pocket.

After a week when Jumbo went to Baddy’s house, he saw that the house was locked.

There was a huge crowd outside Baddy’s house, and all of them were saying that Baddy had taken money from them. Baddy had borrowed from many, telling them that he will double their money in a week and they had come to take their money back.

Seeing everyone, Jumbo shook his head and said, “Wow! Baddy has cheated all of us.”

Cheeku rabbit was weeping as he said, “Baddy has run away with my hard-earned money. I will not leave him if I find him.”

Meeku mouse asked them to calm down, “Friends, the mistake is ours. We should have thought before giving him the money. And how did we ever think that money could be doubled in a week’s time? Our eyes were covered with greed and because of that, we fell for his lies.”

A few days passed on like this.

One day in the forest, a foreigner fox came. He wore black spectacles, a hat and a T-shirt. Everyone stared at him.

“Hello, my friend. My name is Meeku. Are you new to this forest?” asked Meeku.

“Yes, I have come from America and my name is Bobby,” said the fox.

“What brings you to Champakvan?” asked Jumbo curiously.

“Next week there is a huge dance competition in America, and I’m on the lookout for good dancers. Whoever wants to participate in the competition can come and give their name, and whoever wins will get a chance to go to America,” said Bobby.

Everyone was surprised to hear Bobby.

“But, why have you come to our small forest? You will get really good dancers in the city,” said Jumpy.

“I have heard so much about Champakvan and so I thought I should hold the competition here and not in the city,” replied Bobby.

“I am so fat; can I participate in this competition?” asked Jumbo.

“Anybody who can dance can participate in the competition. Also, I am here for this. I will take you to America and teach you. Just come tomorrow and give your name,” said Bobby.

Bobby was staying at the Champakvan Grand Hotel.

The next day there was a long queue outside the hotel as everyone wanted to go to America.


Jumbo, Meeku and Cheeku stood first in the line.

Bobby gave them a form and said, “Fill this form, please read the information about the competition in this paper.”

“Do we need to pay any fees?” asked Jumbo.

“No need, I will take all of you free of cost. I will spend for all expenses; I have just come to search for a good dancer. I have the money and don’t need to collect any fees,” said Bobby.

“If everybody thought like you, it would be so good,” said Meeku.

Cheeku asked, “I know that for going abroad we need a passport and visa, and we don’t have anything. How will we be able to go?”

“Leave everything to me. I will take care of all the formalities. I have contacts at the embassy,” Bobby reassured them.

24 people filled and gave their forms.

After checking the form Bobby said, “Everybody’s form is correct. Tomorrow evening, all of you come with your luggage and we will all go abroad in my private plane,” said Bobby.

The next morning, there was a huge crowd in the hotel. Meeku and Jumbo were very excited and they both came to the hotel early by scooter.


“Bobby why are you so upset? Has the private plane come?” asked Meeku.

“There was a problem in the plane on the way from America,” said Bobby in a worried voice.

“What problem?” asked Jumbo feeling scared.

“My private plane has developed a technical problem, and it will take one week for it to be repaired,” said Bobby.

“So we can’t go to America?” asked Meeku with a grumpy face.

“We have to book ticket for another flight, and each ticket costs Rs. 40,000 each,” said Bobby.

“Rs. 40,000!” Jumbo was shocked.

“Yes, Rs. 40,000. But don’t worry. After reaching America I shall return your money immediately. If you give me the money by tomorrow morning, I will book the evening flight for America. Anyway, the competition will begin in a couple of days. If we get late today, then we won’t get a chance to participate in the competition,” said Bobby.

“We will not get a chance to go to America again. We must give the money to Bobby and book our tickets. We will get our money back once we reach America,” said Meeku.

“Yes, Meeku is right. This golden opportunity will not back come again,” said Jumbo.

Cheeku stopped them. He warned them, “Too much greed is not good. How can we believe Bobby and give him money?”

Meeku got angry and said, “Cheeku it’s not right to doubt Bobby, I have full faith in him. He is very rich and he will not cheat us. If you don’t want to go then don’t come. I will definitely go to America for a trip.”

Next day all the animals got their money and Bobby collected it. He said, “Now nobody can stop you from going to America. I will buy the tickets and we will leave in the evening.”

All of them decided to wait for him.

“He should have come by now,” said Meeku, looking at his watch.

Just then Cheeku reached and said, “It’s waste of time to wait for Bobby. He is not going to come.”

“How can you say that?” asked Meeku.

“If Bobby was coming back then he should not have left the hotel and gone. He has cheated everyone,” said Cheeku.

“So has Bobby disappeared with our money?” asked Jumbo, sadly.

Everybody started crying. Cheeku told everybody, “There is no use of regretting your actions. I had warned you. But you were all crazy about going to America.”

“Cheeku, we realise that we made a big mistake. We don’t want to go to America but just want our Rs. 40,000 back,” said a teary-eyed Jumbo.

“If you promise me that that you won’t make this mistake again then I will help you,” said Cheeku.

“We promise you that we will not repeat this mistake,” said everybody in same tune.


Cheeku signalled towards the back of the hotel and they saw King Shersingh Lion came out with Bobby. He was handcuffed.

When Shersingh removed Bobby’s spectacles and the hat, all the animals were startled.

“Hey this is Baddy,” said Jumbo.

“Yes, this is Baddy. He fooled everyone by calling himself Bobby. He was going to cheat you of your money and run away. Cheeku told me everything at the right time. There is no dance competition in America. And all his stories were fake. Here, this is the money that you gave Baddy,” said Shersingh.


Cheeku continued, “Baddy was going to rob us of all our money. He made us greedy with the thoughts of going to America free of cost so that we would believe him. He also made up a false story that the plane had gone for repair to get the money from you all. When Baddy asked for Rs. 40,000 I got a doubt, then I went to the police station and gave the inspector all the information about Baddy.”

Shersingh returned everybody’s money. All of them thanked Cheeku, and promised to never let greed affect the way they looked at things.



Alfred had two mobile phones. He had put a SIM card of a different network in each mobile phone. One day, while Alfred was browsing in a shop, he came across a mobile phone that had a unique feature.

“This mobile phone lets the owner insert two SIM cards in it simultaneously,” the shopkeeper told Alfred.

“It would be better if I buy this mobile phone,” Alfred thought. “It will simultaneously hold my two SIM cards and save me the trouble of carrying two mobile phones. My other phones have become quite old anyway.”

He bought the new mobile phone the next day itself. Alfred’s new mobile phone worked very well for a few days, but then something very strange happened.

The two SIM cards that Alfred had inserted in the new phone began fighting with each other.

“Alfred uses me more often to make calls,” one of the SIM cards boasted. “You are in here just for namesake. You are always lying in a corner.”

The other SIM card grew furious. It didn’t like being spoken to in such an insulting manner.

“Don’t act smart,” the other SIM card shouted. “All the incoming calls are made to me. I am far more useful to Alfred than you are!”

“You are cheap and everybody knows that cheap things are not durable,” the first SIM card said and sniggered.

“Why should one buy expensive things when the inexpensive ones can provide the same convenience for much less, huh?” the second SIM card said, not wanting to be left behind.

The battery inside the phone had been silently witnessing the SIM cards’ fight for a long time. It couldn’t hold itself back anymore.

“Calm down now,” it said. “You both are arguing pointlessly.”


“You ugly, black battery…who asked you to interfere with us? Did anyone ask for your advice?” both the SIM cards said, forgetting about their fight and starting a new one with the battery.

“What do you think I am? You both can’t utter a word without me,” the battery said, blowing its own trumpet. “Don’t you know that the mobile phone won’t work unless it has battery power? So, technically speaking, I am your boss!”

The intensity of the fight increased, and soon the entire handset began trembling because of the commotion inside it. Before the handset could say anything, there was a phone call and Alfred picked up the mobile phone and answered it.

But he couldn’t hear the caller at the other end clearly, because there were too many odd sounds coming from the handset. “There is something wrong with this mobile phone,” Alfred said and immediately took the mobile phone back to the shop. He asked the shopkeeper to repair it but the shopkeeper returned it to Alfred saying that it seemed perfectly all right.

The fight hadn’t stopped as yet. The charger too joined the battle, and argued with the SIM cards and the battery. “Stop thinking of yourselves as superior,” the charger said proudly. “If I don’t charge the battery, none of you will have any existence at all. You should be thankful to me for keeping you in working condition!”

The battery had no answer to the charger’s claim. “Hey! Have you all have forgotten me?” the handset said, trying to prove how important he was too. “You all are fixed inside me. I am your true boss! You all are, after all, my parts.”

The squabble was escalating. And in the bargain, all the parts had completely forgotten that they needed to get back to work. Alfred was very disturbed. He found that his mobile phone wasn’t working, and he was missing out on making and receiving important calls.

He took the mobile phone and the charger back to the shopkeeper again and banged them on his counter angrily.

“Refund my money. This mobile phone is completely useless. There is definitely something wrong with it,” he shouted. “There are strange sounds coming from it.”

The shopkeeper took the mobile phone and charger back from Alfred and told him that he would check them. He then requested Alfred to come back after a day.

Just as Alfred walked out of the shop, a man entered with his mobile phone and charger.

Now, this man had accidentally overcharged the battery of his phone. It had damaged the mobile phone and made it irreparable.

“Your mobile phone and charger are of no use to anyone anymore,” the shopkeeper said loudly, after examining the faulty mobile phone. “They are only worth throwing in the dustbin now.”

The shopkeeper’s words gave the parts of Alfred’s mobile phone a big jolt. The SIM cards got worried. The battery was terrified. The handset and the charger felt quite nervous. “What if this happens to us?” one of the SIM cards said. “What if the shopkeeper tells Alfred we must be thrown away?”

“We won’t let that happen,” the other SIM card said.

“We will never let this kind of situation come upon us!” “We will forget about our fight and work together as a team!” the battery said.

“I agree!” added the charger.

“So do I,” said the handset.

And so, the SIM cards, the battery, the charger and the handset decided that they would forget about their petty squabble and live and work together in harmony.

“Your mobile phone is working now,” the shopkeeper told Alfred when he returned to the shop the next day. “Please pay me two hundred rupees for servicing the parts.”

The SIM cards, the battery, the handset and the charger knew that there was nothing wrong with them, and that the shopkeeper hadn’t serviced them at all. They felt very ashamed that their owner Alfred, who took such good care of them, had to pay the shopkeeper, just because they had quarrelled.

They apologised to each other and made a pact never to fight again.

“We will live and work in harmony from now on,” they promised.

The result of this pact was that the mobile phone worked very well. Alfred was very satisfied. “This mobile phone is better than the ones I owned before,” he told his friends “I am really happy with it!”

When the SIM card, the battery, the charger and the handset heard Alfred, they looked at each other and smiled. They were glad that they had decided to work and live together in harmony.



Rockstar Guitar

Rockstar Guitar was ready to rock the show. His friends – Stylo Sitar, Bingo Violin and Perky Trumpet were practicing along with him. The concert hall was packed to capacity and the rival group was unusually eager to start the show.

Rockstar Guitar thought, “They seem to be overconfident. I wonder why? We are equal competitors after all. Not less in any manner.” The stage was set. The compere for the show, Chintu Rabbit announced, “And now, for the grand show of the evening, the musical concert- a grand contest between two musical troupes Rockstar Guitar and his band and The Tableturners. Let’s give them all a big hand.”rockstar-guitar

The applause for the start of the show was heartening. The curtains drew apart and there was Rockstar Guitar and his band assembled on stage. Rockstar Guitar introduced himself and his group members. He started his music and singing. He strummed and sang along, “Ra, ra, rume, za, za, zoom,” and the audience enjoyed every bit of it.

Bingo Violin accompanied his singing and music with its beautiful notes. The song went on and on… ‘Ra, ra, rume, za, za, zoom, Let’s all just dance to rock and roll, Ra, ra, rume, za, za, zoom Let’s all just dance with twists and turns,

Ra, ra, rume, za, za, zoom. Yay, yay, yay, ra, za, zoom, Ra, ra, rume, za, za, zoom…’

In the middle of the song, Stylo Sitar tried its music but found itself stuck and no notes came forth from it. It looked at Rockstar Guitar with pleading eyes and Rockstar Guitar understood the situation at once. Rockstar Guitar thought, “Stylo Sitar is in trouble. I should save this situation.”

To save his band member, Rockstar Guitar began playing the musical notes of Stylo Sitar himself. Stylo Sitar was swaying happily and stylishly with a smile on his face and everyone thought that the music was coming from Stylo Sitar, whilst actually Rockstar Guitar was playing Stylo Sitar’s music. Perky Trumpet rendered itself wholly into the beat of the song. No one could make out the faux pas and the band rocked the evening.

The rival group, The Tableturners, was dismayed. “We were here to turn the tables on the other group. How did the tables turn back on us?” they thought disappointedly. Striko Cymbal, which had been given the task of tampering with Stylo Sitar in Rockstar Guitar’s band, was beaten in anger by their group head, Dumroo Drum. “Couldn’t you do this one job properly?” bellowed Dumroo Drum.


“I really did cut Stylo Sitar’s strings,” Striko Cymbal pleaded, but to no avail. The other members of The Tableturners, Gabla Tabla and Trummy Trumpet started quarrelling among themselves backstage, for not having “fixed” the other group.

They all came to blows with every instrument blaming each other. The harmony in the group was lost. When they heard the thunderous applause from the audience for Rockstar Guitar’s band, they became jealous. There were butterflies in their stomach. Now it was their turn to perform.

Rockstar Guitar and his band humbly bowed before the audience and went backstage to their room. Stylo Sitar thanked its group head, Rockstar Guitar for having saved the day with his mind blowing music and presence of mind.


The Tableturners came on stage and started their music and singing. But it was evident that something was missing. The initial excitement to perform well was lost with their plot going haywire. The team spirit was lackluster and nowhere did it have the feel and depth associated with great music.

Moreover, the infighting amongst themselves had tired them out even before the performance. Striko Cymbal couldn’t make any music properly and Trummy Trumpet had an upset tummy. Instead of a sizzling performance, their performance fizzled out. The audience did clap but halfheartedly.

By this time, it was obvious who would win.

The Tableturners realized that they had spent more time in trying to tamper the other group’s performance. This had resulted in their plan backfiring and the tables being turned on them instead. They could have instead utilized the time to build up their practice. They decided that henceforth they would not waste their time in useless pursuits and would build a good band with sincere practice and dedication. Rockstar Guitar and his band stole the show and won the contest. The audience was ecstatically singing “Ra, ra, rume, za, za, zoom.” A good team led by a good leader always wins.

The Tableturner had learnt a lesson. They resolved to play fair and worked hard at becoming good musicians. Last heard, The Tableturners had even changed their group name to The Headturners.


King of the Muck

Cheeku was a naughty rabbit. He lived in Champakvan. He played the whole day. He spent the day eating juicy, red carrots. He had become round and chubby. Whenever Baddy the fox saw him, he felt tempted to eat Cheeku.

However, Cheeku knew that Baddy wanted to eat him. Therefore, he stayed away from him. Cheeku spent most of his time hiding in the bushes or playing.

One day, Cheeku was sitting near a mucky pond. He was happily enjoying carrots when he saw Baddy coming towards him. He did not have enough time to escape. So he thought of an alternate plan.

He entered the mucky pond. He covered himself with muck. He applied dirt to his entire body and face. His entire body, except his eyes, was muddy. He looked like a brown lump with red eyes. Instead of running away, he sat in a corner of the mucky pond.

Just then Baddy arrived. He felt that Cheeku was around. He searched for Cheeku in the bushes. However he couldn’t find him. He did not have the slightest idea that Cheeku was hiding in the pond.

Cheeku thought that Baddy would go away as he had not found him in the bushes. However, Baddy came towards the pond. He was thirsty. He wanted to quench his thirst. Cheeku got scared knowing that if Baddy found him, he would definitely kill him.


Cheeku was a smart fellow. He never gave up easily. He started thinking about what he should do next.

He shouted at Baddy, “You strange animal! Who are you? How dare you come near my pond to drink water? Don’t you know who I am?”

Baddy gazed around. He realised that the sound was coming from a small creature that was half sunk inside the pond. Its eyes were a dangerous red in color. He was stunned to see such a weird creature talking to him.

No one had ever spoken to him in such a manner.

Baddy replied in a nervous tone, “Sir, I have come to drink water from this pond. I was totally unaware that you own this pond. I have never seen you before. May I please drink water from your pond?”

“No,” said Cheeku. He added, “You can drink water from my pond on one condition.”

Baddy was very thirsty. He couldn’t wait to go elsewhere to drink water. He said, “What is the condition, Sir?”

Cheeku said, “I don’t know who you are, but let me introduce myself. I am the King of Muck.”

Baddy became nervous when he heard the word ‘King’. He had seen the Lion who is the king of the jungle. However, he had never heard of the King of Muck. He was surprised to meet another king. He thought that a Lion staying in muck is known as the King of Muck’.

Baddy was deep in thought.

Suddenly Cheeku shouted, “Listen to me carefully. I ate a big fat rabbit a while ago. However, I am not satisfied with it. I did not like its taste.”

Baddy was now very frightened. He was sure that this king had eaten Cheeku since he was around a while ago. He was surprised that he did not like the taste of a rabbit.

He said, “Sir. Rabbits are very tasty. How come you did not like its taste?”

Cheeku replied, “My brother, who stays in the jungle, had come to meet me yesterday. He brought a few pieces of fox’s meat for me. That meat was so delicious. After eating that meat, I don’t like any other type of flesh.”

Hearing this, a chill ran down Baddy’s spine. He started shivering in fear. He thought that if the King of Muck realised that he was a Fox, then he would get killed. He started thinking of ways to escape from there.

“I want to eat a fox,” said Cheeku. “There might be foxes in this forest. You have to get me and my friends a few foxes. I want to treat my friends. They will arrive in a couple of minutes. You can drink water from my pond only after you get me some foxes.”


By now, Baddy was sweating and trembling. He thought that if the king’s friends came to the pond they might recognise him. Then, they would tear him apart and feast on him. He realised that it was thus best to run away from the pond at the earliest.

Baddy said, “Sir, there are a lot of foxes in this jungle. I shall quickly go and fetch a few for you and your friends. I will be right back with some delicious food for you.”

He began to walk away.

Cheeku said, “I am not in a hurry at all. Tell me your name before you leave.” Baddy replied, “I do not have that much time, Sir. First, let me get some foxes for you. Then, I will sit and chat with you.” Baddy ran away never to return. Cheeku laughed at Baddy’s foolishness. He walked to the nearest river. He washed his body and removed all the muck and dirt.

Cheeku now breathed a sigh of relief. He felt proud of his intellect as it helped him get to rid of Baddy.


A Walk in the Garden

One early morning, Tommy, the dog and his mother left their house for the garden. Tommy was very happy, as his mother was going to take him for a walk in the garden.

“Mother, I don’t want to eat mangoes. I want to drink mango juice,” said Tommy. On the way, they met Ganju, the hippo. He asked, “Where are you off to so early in the morning?”

Tommy replied happily, “We have to go the garden to collect mangoes. Mother is going to make mango juice for me.”

Mother started laughing. Ganju also smiled.

Stan, the snail was also walking along the path. Tommy teased him. Stan was frightened. He walked along leisurely but he increased his pace as Tommy was irritating him.

“Ha!Ha!” Tommy started laughing.

Mother was upset by Tommy’s behaviour. “You shouldn’t annoy him. Didn’t you see how frightened he was? It is wrong to upset anyone,” his mother explained to him. Tommy wagged his tail in reply.

They reached the garden. As they entered they saw Sentry, the butterfly. She was flying along with her friends. Tommy’s eyes gleamed.

He barked, “Bow, Bow.”

He ran behind the butterflies. The butterflies were playing hide-and-seek. However, seeing Tommy chasing them, they flew away.

“Tommy, don’t interfere in our game. Don’t irritate us. Let us play,” said Sentry.

Tommy smiled and said, “I like chasing butterflies.”A walk in the garden

“Tommy, leave the butterflies alone and come to me!” His mother’s voice could be heard from a distance.

Seeing him leave, the butterflies resumed their game. However, they kept a lookout for him.

His mother said, “Let the butterflies be! It’s not nice to irritate anyone. Then only will anyone respect you.”

There were many mango trees in the garden. Strong winds blew the previous night. Thus there were many mangoes lying on the ground. Mother picked some up and put them in her basket. Initially, Tommy helped her but he soon got distracted. He moved away and saw Rani, the cuckoo sitting on a branch of a mango tree singing, “Kuku… Kuku…”

Tommy barked, “Bow… Bow… Bow…”

The cuckoo got scared, flew away to sit on another branch of a faraway tree.

Mother scolded him. She said, “I told you not to irritate anyone?”

He felt ashamed.

Suddenly a ball fell right in front of him. He heard Gilly, the squirrel say, “Please give us our ball. We are playing cricket.”

At first, Tommy thought of irritating her but then he decided not to and threw the ball towards her.

“If you have time you can play with us,” said the squirrel.A walk in the garden

Tommy was very happy. He began to play with them. Seeing them play Rani also flew in, sat on a branch near them and began to sing.

The butterflies also flew around them. Seeing this Tommy became happy. He promised mother that he would never annoy anyone again.


It was the coldest day of winter. Throughout the day, the sun remained hidden behind a thick layer of fog. Icy-cold winter breeze whistled through the leaves of the trees. Most of the birds and animals had not come out of their homes.

Kalulu, the rabbit, lay inside his burrow, enjoying its warmth.

Suddenly, his ears stood erect.

“Kalulu! Kalulu,” a squeaky voice was calling out to him.

He came outside and saw Moro Goro, the squirrel.

“Kalulu,” said Moro Goro, “Wild Goat is dying. She wants to see you right away.”

At once, Kalulu hopped off towards the overhanging ledge. Wild Goat lived underneath the ledge.

The Best Mother’s Day Gift

Wild Goat was groaning. She was suffering. Her entire body was covered with deep cuts and gashes. Blood was oozing out of them. Her week-old kid was standing beside her.

Seeing the rabbit she tried to get up. She said, “Kalulu, I am hurt because of Fisi, the hyena. He wanted to grab my kid. After a big fight, I was able to drive him away at the cost of my life. Please save my kid from the hyena’s cruel…”

She died before completing her sentence. The kid was very small. He could not understand what was happening around him

Kalulu was worried. He always shared everyone’s troubles and tried to solve them. He looked at the unfortunate kid who was blinking at him with innocent eyes. As he was hungry, the little one began to search for his dead mother’s teats with his mouth.

Kalulu thought, “Something has to be done at the earliest. The kid was sure to die of hunger if it did not get its milk. With the hyena around, its life would never be free from danger.” Suddenly, he remembered Mother Bear. She lived in a Dark Cave on the mountain-slope. The other day, when Kalulu was passing by, he had stopped when he had heard a sound. It was Mother Bear, sobbing.

More From Champak: The Naughty Duckling

After stepping into the cave he had asked, “Why are you so sad?”

The mother bear had replied, “O Kalulu,” my heart is broken. This morning, when I had gone to the stream to drink water, hunters took away my two-day-old baby. I feel like killing myself. What’s there to live for?”

Kalulu had murmured a few words of sympathy and left.

Remembering this incident, he told the kid, “Follow me.” They proceeded towards Dark Cave.

As he stood by the mouth of the cave, he called out, “Mother Bear, I’ve brought something for you to live for. In this jungle, a mother has lost her baby and a baby has lost its mother. One mother is dead but another is alive.”

Mother Bear shook her huge body and stood on her hind legs. Swinging her forelimbs, she walked towards the mouth of the cave.bear-hug-supper

Kalulu stood aside. Mother Bear and the kid were face to face. She bent down and picked up the kid with her forelimbs. She hugged it. The kid lost no time in finding her teat and pressed it between its mouth.

Kalulu saw tears of joy in her eyes.

“Now I’m going to take care of the hyena,” said Kalulu.

He hopped away, leaving the mother and her kid to themselves.

Fisi was walking along a narrow path. He knew that he had badly wounded Wild Goat who was going to be his supper. Her kid would be the extra ‘sweet dish’ or dessert.

“You seem to be in a hurry.”

As he heard these words, the hyena stopped.

The voice had come from a nearby burrow. It was a familiar voice…Kalulu’s!

“At the moment, I am in no hurry to sharpen my teeth on you,” said the hyena with a cruel grin. “I’m going to enjoy a different supper.”

“Your supper has already moved from beneath the ledge,” said Kalulu. “Both, the mother goat and the kid, have taken shelter in Dark Cave. Yes, the mother is seriously wounded, yet she can still be dangerous. You’ve had the taste of her horns, I believe?”

“I’m so disappointed,” murmured the hyena.

“You don’t have to be,” said the rabbit. “I can give you a clever plan. It would help you to get your ‘supper’ without any difficulty.”

Fisi, in disbelief, questioned, “Aren’t you my old enemy? Haven’t I suffered at your hands several times? How can you be helpful?”

“Your problem is that you haven’t learnt to trust those who are your true friends,” said Kalulu. “I agree. We’ve been enemies in the past. Let’s forget the past and be friends forever. My plan, which I’m going to share with you, will be a proof of my friendship.”

“What’s it?” questioned the hyena.

The rabbit said, “My dear friend, listen to my words carefully. The main trouble with you is that your presence can be felt from a distance. You look ugly and are smelly. You need to use a bit of cunning to confuse your supper.”

“I don’t understand you?” growled Fisi, grinding his teeth.

“I have no doubt that you’re an idiot who can’t understand simple matters,” said Kalulu. “Your awful face alerts everyone. Why not use a trick? When you enter the cave, move backwards, with your tail facing the cave and your face in the opposite direction. By the time the mother goat and the kid recognise you, it would be too late for them…ha…ha…”

“What a wonderful trick!” exclaimed Fisi. “Kalulu, I’m so pleased with you that I’ll eat you last…ha…ha. It will be your reward for being helpful to me. This is how we hyenas return goodness.”

Meanwhile at the cave, Mother Bear hugged the kid. After a satisfying meal, the little one was fast asleep.

Some movement at the mouth of the cave startled her. She turned her face towards it.

“What is this? A hyena, with the tail in front!” She thought.bear-hug-supper

The next moment, the hyena howled in great pain.

“What a horrid monster is this? It is boring holes into my skin.”

He helplessly wriggled and kicked. However, he could not free himself from the horrible monster. Little did he know that in this world there are only a few things that are tighter than a bear-hug?

A few minutes later, the hyena lay outside the cave, half dead after tasting his ‘bear-hug’ supper.

Courageous Brother

Didi, Didi, look at what I have.” eight year old Rohit entered Sarita Didi’s room. He showed her a trophy that he held in his hands.

“Wow, this looks beautiful. Why have you got this shining trophy, Rohit?” Sarita asked her brother.

“Didi, at the scout camp, I was chosen as the best roller skater. They gave me a cheque for Rs. 500 and a trophy.”

“Congratulations, Rohit. I am proud of you,” said Sarita.

She had tears of happiness in her eyes.

Since childhood, Sarita had been affected by polio. She couldn’t walk. She had to use a wheelchair to move around.

Despite her condition, Sarita didn’t lose heart. She was good at painting. In fact, she had just completed a painting for a competition.

After he saw her painting Rohit said, “I am sure that your painting is going to win the first prize.”

Sarita replied, “It will get a prize only if you will submit it at the Town Hall by 5 O’clock today.”

“Didi, don’t worry. I will go and submit it immediately,” said Rohit.

He covered the painting with a newspaper and left.

He had walked a little farther distance, when he heard a voice shouting, “Thief… thief.”

Rohit saw a masked man holding a black bag in his hand. The man ran ahead of him.

An old man, who was limping behind him said, “Somebody catch him, this thief is stealing my bag.”

Rohit stopped to help the old man.

“Baba, has he taken off with your bag?” Rohit asked.

The old man replied, “Son, that bag has 5 lakhs rupees in it. I was going to deposit the money in the bank. I don’t know how he snatched the bag from my hands.”

The old man started crying.

Rohit was thinking. He wanted to help the old man. Just then, he noticed a boy of his age in the nearby park. He was practicing with his roller skates. Rohit ran towards him and requested him to lend him his skates for a while.

The boy agreed to do so. Rohit immediately put on the skates on his feet and borrowed the old man’s walking stick. He then skated in the direction that the thief’ had taken.courageous-brother

Skating at a high speed, Rohit followed the thief. Onlookers were surprised to see a small child chase a thief. They moved aside to give him way.

Even in his dreams, the thief could not have imagined that someone would catch him. As soon as Rohit reached close, he pushed the old man’s stick on the thief’s leg.


The thief fell flat on the road. The bag slipped out from his hands and fell at a distance.courageous-brother

Rohit quickly picked up the bag. He alerted a few passersby. A few people came running towards the thief. They tied him up with a rope so that he couldn’t flee.

Meanwhile, somebody had called the police. The police arrived shortly.

The police inspector said, “He is the most infamous criminal in the city. We have wanted to nab him for a while.”

He added, “Well done, son. You will be rewarded for your courage and presence of mind.”

Rohit was happy. After submitting the painting at the Town Hall, he returned home to his sister. He narrated the incident. Sarita hugged her courageous brother.

Story of Bread

Mayuri Peahen was a reporter at Jungle Times. When she reached her office, editor Jerry Pigeon told her, “The next edition of Jungle Times is a ‘food special. The magazine is going to be finalised tomorrow. Two pages are still empty. Prepare a nice article to fill them.”

Mayuri thought for a while. Unfortunately, no idea clicked in her mind. She couldn’t think of a topic to write on. Soon, it was lunchtime. She hadn’t brought a packed lunch. So, she left the office to get something to eat. She felt a sudden urge to eat bread.

She went to a bakery and asked for bread. The bakery owner Yaku Billy Goat asked, “Which type of bread you want, brown or white?”

“Bread has colours?” Mayuri questioned.

“Bread generally has two colours. However, there is a wide variety of bread,” replied Yaku. “Okay, what is the difference between white and brown bread?” Mayuri asked with curiosity.

“White bread is made from refined flour while brown bread is made using whole wheat,” explained Yaku. Mayuri thought, “This bakery owner knows a lot about bread. I can get a lot of information from him. Then I will be able to write an article on bread for the magazine.”

Mayuri said, “Uncle, I am a reporter at Jungle Times. Could you please give me more information about bread? I can use it to write an article.”

He replied, “Why not? Not only bread, I know a lot about every item sold in a bakery.”

“For the time being, please tell me about bread,” said Mayuri.

She took out her pen and diary. She started taking notes.

The bakery owner began, “Normally two types of bread are made and eaten. White bread is made from refined flour and brown bread is made from whole wheat flour.”

Mayuri interrupted him saying, “You have already told me this. Tell me, when was bread made for the first time?”

He said, “Most probably, bread was made for the first time at least twelve thousand years ago. Some historians say that some types of bread were made thirty thousand years ago.”

“Wow. Tell me more…” Mayuri prompted. He continued, “At that time, the dough was made from flour obtained from different grains. It was roasted on flat stones placed over the fire. In the 18th century, bread was made in the home and the hearth.”

She asked, “Is bread similar all over the world?”

He replied, “No, bread has different shapes and sizes.”

“Okay, tell me more,” said Mayuri.

He said, “In America, bread is often made from maize flour. In Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Malaysia, it is generally made from rice flour. Germany adds sesame seeds, pistachios and cashew nuts to its bread. Iran and Mongolia make thick, round bread.”

She asked, “Are there other kinds of bread apart from these?”

He continued, “Yes, Africa produces bread made in hot oil. China makes bread that is slightly sour in taste and is steamed.

Germany makes salted bread. Israel makes bread that is both sweet and sour in taste. In India, white and brown bread are consumed the most.”

“Is bread eaten in different ways, in different countries?” Mayuri asked.story-of-bread

“Seventy per cent of the countries of the world enjoy eating bread. Fifty per cent of the bread made is used to make sandwiches. Apart from this, it is also used in patties, burgers, hot dogs and as a cereal with vegetables,” Yaku replied.

She asked, “Is there any country that makes all types of bread?”

“Switzerland is a country where the bread of all countries are made and sold. Britain makes more than two hundred varieties of bread, all of which taste good.”

“This is my final question. Does bread have any nutrition?” asked Mayuri.

“Bread has protein, carbohydrates, calcium, iron and vitamins that are essential for the body. Bread made from refined flour doesn’t have fibre. It contains a lesser amount of vitamins and minerals. So, it is better to eat brown bread.”

Mayuri kept her pen and diary back in her bag. She thanked Yaku for giving her so much information about bread. She went back to the office. She began to write an article on bread.

King Potato

A tiny potato emerged out from the soil. It beamed with happiness.

It thought, “Wow, what a world! I have heard a lot about the world. Fortunately, I can now see it. I am going to have fun.”

While it was looking around, it spotted a green coloured round thing, clinging on to a climber. It asked, “Hey, who are you?”

“I am a young tomato.”

“You came out before me?” the potato questioned.

The tomato replied, “I have always been out since I was born.”

The little potato felt bad. However, it soon forgot everything. It was a jolly thing. It got back to its original fun-filled mood.

It thought, “I will see the entire world.”

While it was still thinking, it saw a long, green thing hanging from a straight standing plant.

“Who are you?” it asked.

“I am chilli.”

“You also came out before me!”

The chilli replied, “I have always been out, soaking in the sunlight, breathing in fresh air.”

The potato’s face fell. There were other plants in the garden, on which tiny fruits were swaying in happiness.

The potato asked the little pea, “Have you always been out as well?”

The pea was naughty. It sensed the potato’s restlessness.King Potato

It said, “Is this a question to ask? Not only I, but everyone out here hasn’t been buried under the ground. We breathe in fresh air. All of us sleep under the moonlit sky. We wake up with the golden rays of the sun. It’s fun swaying in the breeze.”

“Hmm, this means that I am the only one who has to stay underground. How unlucky we potatoes are! Look at the others. They are all so shiny and beautiful. They live in fresh air. I look so filthy and ugly! Nobody will even notice me.”

The potato felt sad. After talking to the other vegetables, it kept quiet.

A few days later, it was kept in a basket.

It was taken to the vegetable market. All the other vegetables also went along.

“Look, the king of vegetables has been kept near me!” the brinjal exclaimed excitedly.

The potato asked, “Where? Who is it? Please tell me.”

The potato was curious. The brinjal became silent for a while.

He asked the brinjal, “Why are you looking at me like that? Am I that ugly?”

With some hesitation, the brinjal replied, “You are the king, the king of vegetables.”

“Why are you making fun of me? I am an ugly vegetable, who lives underground. How can I be the king?” the potato questioned.

The brinjal replied, “You really are the king. You have all the qualities needed to be a king. Most vegetable preparations are made with you. When there is no other vegetable you alone are sufficient. People can have a satisfying meal by just eating you.”

The pumpkin was lying close by. It said, “You are healthy. How can you not be king? You have Carbohydrates, Vitamin C, Iron, Calcium, Phosphorus, Riboflavin, Carotene and Niacin.

You are enriched with so many nutrients. You are available in every season, every day. We may be here today but gone tomorrow. You are available throughout the year.”

The little potato was pleasantly surprised. It was finding it difficult to believe that it was the king of vegetables!

It thought, “Inner qualities and usefulness are more important than outer appearances. I might be ugly on the surface but my other qualities make me stand apart from others, so much so that I am their king!”King Potato

The little potato now understood its self-worth. It regretted its earlier thinking. It felt satisfied, not because it was the king, but because it knew the reason why it was the king.

Mittu, the pet dog

Deepti was very sad. She had lost Mittu, her pet dog. The previous evening, she had gone for her piano classes. She had taken Mittu with her. Mittu was playing in the garden of the piano teacher’s house. When the class was over, Deepti went to the garden to fetch Mittu. However, Mittu was nowhere to be found. She had yelled, cried and shouted out Mittu’s name at least a thousand times. Mittu never replied. She had walked home. She sadly told her Mom that Mittu was missing.

Mom reassured Deepti, “Don’t worry my dear, Mittu is very clever. He will soon come home. Now, eat your snacks and start on your homework.”

Deepti concentrated on her studies. After having dinner, she went to sleep.

A week passed. There was no sign of Mittu. Deepti’s Dad said, “We will soon buy a new puppy. You can play with him.”

Deepti missed playing with her dog. Every day, Mittu used to accompany Deepti up to the school bus. Her friends always played with Mittu. Whenever Deepti’s friends did not come to play with them, Mittu used to play hide and seek with Deepti. It was fun playing with Mittu. Mittu used to sleep under Deepti’s bed. Deepti felt that she could not love any other dog. She only wanted Mittu. Day by day, she became quieter and sadder.

One day, Deepti’s dad took her to an exhibition. He wanted her to enjoy herself. The exhibition was very big and had lots of games. Deepti’s dad got her a new teddy bear.

He said, “Deepti, now you can play with this teddy whenever you feel bored.”

Deepti said, “Thank you, daddy. This is only a toy. My Mittu was real.”

A little later, there was an announcement

“Welcome to the grand exhibition. Here comes our next item, “The Dog Show.’ See cute dogs perform different tricks, stunts and dances”.

Deepti told her Dad and Mom, “Please come with me. I want to see the dog show.”

They went to the centre of the exhibition ground. They took their seats and watched the show. Many dog owners proudly brought their dogs to the stage and ordered them to sit, jump and dance. The dogs obeyed their masters. As the shows went on, Deepti watched with great enthusiasm. Suddenly, she got up from her chair and jumped up and down.

She cried loudly, “Mittu, this is my Mittu.”

Hearing her cry, a cute dog jumped from the stage and started running towards her. It was her Mittu! Deepti was so happy that she cried and hugged Mittu. Mittu also licked Deepti. He showed his affection by barking happily. Deepti’s dad and mom were so relieved. Finally, they could see that their daughter was happy.

Meanwhile, someone from the stage came down and said, “Do you know Tommy? One day I saw him running in the middle of the road. There was a lot of traffic. I thought that this dog would get hurt. So, I took it with me.”

Deepti said, “Yes, it is my pet dog, Mittu. I lost him. Thank you for saving my dog’s life and taking care of him.”Mittu,-the-pet-dog

The gentleman said, “Oh, it is my pleasure. Mittu is very cute and smart. I had real fun with him. Anyway, since it is yours, you can now take him.”

Mittu barked loudly. He was also saying thank you to the gentleman. Deepti and Mittu happily walked away.