Unity Is Strength

Champakvan forest was quiet and peaceful. The animals and birds lived happily. They shared and helped each other in times of need.

A few days ago, a group of hunters came inside the forest and started hunting birds and animals, using guns. The animals were scared and cried over the loss of their friends. The fear of being hunted down troubled them the most.

They all decided to go and meet the king of the forest, Shersingh. King Shersingh heard them patiently and said, “I too am worried about your safety. But these hunters are armed with guns. Even I am afraid of guns. We will have to find a way to fight these hunters,” said Shersingh.

Honey hippo who was listening quietly said, “Your Majesty, I have a plan that can drive the hunters away from the forest.”

“What is you plan Honey?” asked Shersingh “Your Majesty, we must all stand together and fight these hunters. We must show – Unity is Strength,’’ said Honey.

“But even if we stand united, we can’t fight them. They have guns to shoot us,” said Lamboo giraffe.

“I know. We must plan cleverly before we act. My thick skin makes it difficult for the bullet difficult to pierce through it. I will go towards the hunters and distract them by walking towards them and the rest of you can attack from behind,” said Honey.

“If I get hurt, Dr Damru needs to be there to quickly remove the bullet from my body,” said Honey.

“You are putting your life at risk. Let us hope we don’t fail you,” said king Shersingh.

As planned, the next day, the crow took up the duty of a spy. He found out the camping spot of the hunters and passed the message to king Shersingh. All the animals hid in different places as planned by Honey.

Lamboo giraffe hid behind a tree, Fatty elephant hid behind a cluster of tall trees and Jumpy hid behind the bunch of bushy leaves. Cheeku rabbit took cover inside a bush. His Majesty, King Shersingh concealed himself behind a big mound.

The hunters were walking with guns in their hands. They looked alert and ready to shoot at the slightest sound.

As planned, Honey came before the hunters, then turned back and started running in the direction of his friend’s hiding places.

The hunters chased Honey, but Honey quickly gave them an escape and hid between the tall grasses.

One of the hunters reached the mound, where king Shersingh was hiding. As he climbed onto the mound to take a better look, his gaze fell on Shersingh. A chill ran down his spine. He dropped the gun and fell down rolling over the mound. The hunter managed to run away. Seeing the plight of the hunter, King Shersingh could not control his laughter.

The other hunters too were shaken when they saw their friend running. Taking charge of the situation, all the animals came out of their hiding places and attacked the hunters. In the chaos that followed, the hunters dropped their guns and ran away. The animals chased them out of the forest.

When the animals returned back to the forest, they saw the guns lying there on the ground. Jumpy collected all the guns and started imitating the hunters. He held a gun in his hands and by mistake pulled the trigger. The animals were in for a shock when they heard the sound of the gun shot. King Shersingh hid himself in a pit.

All the animals started laughing when they found out the reason behind the gun shot. Lamboo said, “We too have guns to fight now and need not be afraid of anyone.”

But Shersingh was lost in his thoughts. He thought about what could have happened if Jumpy had shot anyone.

He said, “We don’t need these guns that take the lives of others. I don’t want any of us to be killed by a gun shot. Let’s not create a situation where someone thinks they are more powerful because they have a gun. It’s better to dump them in the lake.”

Everyone agreed with Shersingh and they collected and threw the guns deep into the lake.

Trip To The Moon!

One day Baddy fox announced in Champakvan that he would like to take all the animals on a trip to the moon.

Everyone became very excited.

“Are you really taking us to the moon?” Damru donkey asked in amazement.

“Yes. All, but the big and heavy animals. Otherwise our rocket will not be able to take off from the ground.” Most animals started laughing at Baddy’s words.

“But where is your rocket?” Cheeku rabbit enquired. “And also, what would be the cost of taking us to the moon?”

“Our rocket is on an island not far from here. And for the cost, my motive is not business or to make money. I just want to give you the joy of going on the moon.
So you do not have to pay anything for the trip,” replied Baddy.

All the animals started shouting in joy.

“There seems to be something fishy here,” whispered Cheeku to Jumpy monkey.

“We have to be careful.”

Both went to king Shersingh and told him about Baddy’s trip to the moon.

“If Baddy wants to do this, then it is a very good thing. Why are you troubled by his offer?” asked Shersingh and told them to leave the matter.

Cheeku then said to Jumpy, “We will have to keep an eye on Baddy on our own.”

Meanwhile, in the forest there was a fierce competition among the animals to go to the moon. Most of the small animals had registered their names with Baddy.

“Please be ready for the trip tomorrow. I will take you on the motor boat, to the island. From there we will go on the rocket to the moon. If the weather remains favourable, then we will be able to go on the moon tomorrow itself,” said Baddy and all the animals became all the more excited.

“I will take my favorite dress with me,” said Titu butterfly excitedly.

“No, please don’t bring any clothes or anything else. You will have to wear space-suits to the moon that we will provide. And yes, one more thing, leave your money and jewellery back in your house,” Baddy said. “We will return in a week.”

All the animals waited impatiently for the evening.

In the evening Baddy came with a motor boat to take them.

“Cheeku, why are you not coming?” asked Baddy.

“Baddy, please go ahead. I have got some urgent work to finish. My friend Jumpy
will go with you,” said Cheeku with a smile.

As soon as the motorboat left, Cheeku rushed to King Shersingh.

“Sir, here is something very interesting,” said Cheeku opening his laptop. He started the search engine and typed Baddys’ name. Soon many web pages came on the screen. He selected one and clicked on it.

“This is Baddy,” said Cheeku. “But why has the police caught him?” King Shersingh spoke out.

“Because he and his companions had looted the animals of Sonavana. He was even sentenced to jail. But he tricked them and ran away. Now he has come here,” said Cheeku.

“What does this mean?” asked Shersingh.

“It means that Baddy and his friends are thieves. They promise to take the animals to planet Jupiter or to the moon, and take them away from their houses. Then at night his companion steals all valuables from the locked houses. As soon as Baddy is informed that all the valuables have been stolen, he escapes to another forest. And his companions join him there,” explained Cheeku.

“This is a big conspiracy!” exclaimed Shersingh. “Why didn’t you inform me earlier?” asked Shersingh who was visibly angry.

“I tried to warn you earlier sir, but you felt it was alright for Baddy to take the animals to the moon,” replied Cheeku.

“Now what shall we do?” asked Shersingh.

“Don’t worry sir. Nothing will happen. I have sent my friend Jumpy, with them. Tonight Baddy’s friends will try to steal from the houses of these animals. We can catch them red-handed. And with their help we can catch Baddy,” Cheeku explained.

“But we have to be very careful. If Baddy gets the wind of this, he may harm our citizens,” Cheeku continued.

“You need not worry. I am going to talk to Inspector Blacky Bear,” Shersingh assured Cheeku.

At night Inspector Blacky and his team spread out in the forest. They hid outside the houses of the people who had gone on the trip.

Suddenly some movement was seen outside Damru donkey’s house. Inspector Blacky gave the signal, and his team caught Laptu jackal from there and on questioning him they were able to catch all the others.

“But how do we catch Baddy? He is very cunning,” asked Shersingh who was really worried.

“We have a plan for that, too,” said Cheeku and whispered something in Shersingh’s ear.

Laptu jackal phoned Baddy, “Hello Baddy, we have collected all the treasure. Please come here quickly on your motorboat, so that we can get out of here immediately.”

“That’s perfect! I have mixed sleeping powder in the food of the animals. They are all sleeping soundly. I am coming on the motorboat. Meet me at the riverside,” Baddy said on the speakerphone, so that, Cheeku and Shersingh could hear whatever Baddy said.

In a few hours, Baddy was in police custody.

The next day when the animals woke up, they could not understand anything.

“Have we reached the moon?” asked Meeku rat looking around.

“No, you are not on the moon. You are in Champakvan. But Baddy who was taking you on a trip to the moon, is on a trip to jail,” said Cheeku. Shersingh and Inspector Bear started laughing. The other animals could not understand anything and they started looking at each others’ face.

Later when Shersingh told them what had happened, they all praised and thanked Cheeku.

Paralympics 2021!

Meeku mouse sharing the news from the Paralympic games with his friend Jumbo elephant and informing him on how well the Indian players performed there, glorifying the country’s name.

Jumbo: When did you come back to India? Didn’t you go to Tokyo to cover the Paralympic Games?

Meeku: Yes, my friend, I just returned today.

Jumbo: Welcome back! Now tell me something about your experience there.

Meeku: Oh Jumbo, it was an amazing experience. When I was informed that I would get to cover the Paralympics, I was so worried about covering it well.

Jumbo: Why?

Meeku: Because the Paralympics are different from the Olympic Games. People with physical or mental disabilities participate in this.

Jumbo: Well, then it must have been very interesting to see what kind of players compete with each other to win medals.

Meeku: Yes! from the opening ceremony to the ending ceremony, everything was excellent.

Jumbo: Really? Tell me more about it.

Meeku: The Paralympics started in a grand manner in Tokyo, and they also light the torch in the cauldron.

Jumbo: Similar to the Olympics, did Indian players participate there?

Meeku: Yes. Here too, India’s largest-ever sports team participated. Our contingent had 54 players participating in nine different sports, one of which was Suhas L Y, the DM of Noida, Uttar Pradesh.

Jumbo: Oh! Isn’t it amazing that a Government District Officer participated and represented our country! Did he win a medal or not?

Meeku: Be patient, my friend. It is getting late to go home now. Let’s meet tomorrow and I will tell you more about the games and the strong performances of our players.

The two then walked back towards their home smiling along the way!

Forgive And Forget!

Cheeku rabbit and Meeku mouse were playing cricket with their friends on the playground.

Meeku wasn’t paying attention to the game because he was busy talking to Jumpy monkey.

“Meeku, catch! It’s your turn to throw the ball,” said Cheeku, throwing the ball to him. The ball hit Meeku’s head as he didn’t hear Cheeku.

“Ouch! Cheeku, why did you hit me?” asked Meeku, angrily.

“Meeku, I didn’t mean to hurt you. I threw the ball for you to catch it. You weren’t paying attention so it’s not my fault,” said Cheeku.

“Who throws like this? Couldn’t you wait for me to look at you? You knew I was busy talking and still, you threw the ball at me!” shouted Meeku.

“Are you here to play or to talk?” asked Cheeku and they started arguing.

Cheeku pulled Meeku’s tail and Meeku pulled Cheeku’s ear.

Their friends somehow pulled them apart and stopped the fight. Angry, the two of them went home.

They did not talk to each other for several days. One evening, Cheeku went to the playground and saw Meeku sitting alone.

Cheeku picked a corner on the playground and sat there without talking to Meeku. Their other friends hadn’t come.

They both waited for some time for others to show up but no one did.

Bored, Meeku decided to leave the ground and go home. Just then, Cheeku asked, “Meeku, if you want, we can play.”

“You want to play with me?” Meeku replied, shocked.

“Why is that shocking? We used to play together before,” replied Cheeku.

“I thought you were angry with me because we fought,” said Meeku.

“Meeku, you were angry because I hit you with the ball,” said Cheeku.

“No. I know you didn’t hit me purposely and it was my fault too. I should have concentrated on the game. I was hurt that’s why I yelled at you. I am sorry,” apologised Meeku.

“Ah! It’s alright! How foolish of us to not talk to each other for so many days,” said Cheeku.

“Let’s forget what happened in the past! We are friends again and that’s what matters,” said Meeku, smiling.

“Yes. We should try not to fight and if we do, then we should forgive each other,” said Cheeku.

And they both started playing together again.

Soon, their friends came and saw the two playing, just like before. “We purposely didn’t show up as we wanted you two to forgive each other today as it is World Forgiveness Day. Your friendship is so strong. You should not let any small fight break it,” said Jumbo elephant.

Saying this, Jumbo lifted Cheeku and Meeku with his trunk and everyone cheered for them!

United We Stand

Putru owl lived in Champakvan forest. One night, he set out to look for food and saw a tent on the outskirts of the forest. A jeep was parked beside it.

“These weren’t here before!” muttered Putru. Before sunrise, he woke everyone and told them about the jeep and the tent.

Blacky bear had interacted with humans before when he was in a circus and had then escaped to the forest. He quietly went to the tent and peeked inside to see guns, axes and a few men sleeping inside. He immediately understood why they had come.

“They are here to cut down trees of the forest,” said Blacky.

Everyone was shocked. If the trees were cut down, there would be no forest for them to live in.

“You used to say that humans are clever creatures. Do they not know that cutting down trees will bring harm to them as well? Trees make up the forests, give us our homes, and bring rainfall. Trees hold the soil together and also clean the air,” said Cheeku rabbit.

“That’s not all. Trees provide food, medicines and many other things,” said Jumpy monkey.

“But today, humans are being short-sighted. They want to cut down the trees for wood to make homes, furniture and paper,” said Blacky.

“We won’t let them cut the trees!” said Jumbo elephant, angrily. “But they have guns. They can kill us!” said Blacky.

“We must be brave but careful. Let us make a plan to save our forest,” said Jumpy.

“Yes, we must do something quickly! Once they wake up, they may start cutting the trees!” said Jumbo.

Meanwhile, Cheeku had come up with a plan. “If we take those guns and axes, the humans will not be able to bring any harm to us or to the trees,” voiced Cheeku.

They all agreed with his plan and started acting accordingly. Meeku called the mice family to use their razor-sharp teeth to make holes in the tent. Jumpy and Monty entered the tent through the holes and took the guns and the axes, and gave them to Blacky who was standing outside.

Jumbo picked the axes and guns with his trunk and dropped them into the river. “Our trees are safe now. We must scare the humans so that they don’t come here again,” said Cheeku.

All the animals surrounded the tent and started making scary noises. The men sleeping inside woke up with a start.

“Animals have surrounded us. Quick, get the guns!” shouted their chief.

“But there are no guns here! Did we leave them in the jeep?” asked another. “I brought them inside the tent myself!” said the third.

“The axes are gone too! What’s going on?” said their chief.

Jumbo pulled the tent from the ground and now the frightened men were surrounded by animals.

Upon receiving a signal from Jumpy, all the animals started moving towards them.

The men didn’t wait anymore. They ran into their jeep and drove away, promising never to return to the forest.

Blacky said, “We stood with each other bravely and defeated those who were stronger than us. We prevented our forest from getting destroyed. I am proud of us all.”

“If anyone ever comes back here with bad intentions, we will drive them away again, together,” said Jumpy.

All the animals then celebrated their victory that day.

Fear Of Coronavirus!

All the animals of Champakvan were scared of at the speed with which the corona pandemic was spreading.

One morning, when Meeku mouse went to the market to buy some vegetables, he saw that everyone in the market was following social distancing while shopping and that they all wore masks.

Meeku always bought his vegetables from Blacky bear’s shop. He stood in the queue like everybody else. When it was his turn he handed over the list and his bag to Blacky and said, “Blacky, here is my list, please weigh the vegetables for me.”

“Right away,” said Blacky.

Blacky was weighing the vegetables when suddenly Meeku coughed.

Blacky stopped immediately and asked, “Meeku, you are coughing! Are you sure you’re not infected by coronavirus?”

“No, I am absolutely fine. Something just irritated my throat and so I coughed,” said Meeku, embarrassed as everyone was looking at him accusingly.

“How is that possible? I am sure it is coronavirus and you are hiding it. I cannot give you vegetables. You go to the hospital immediately and get yourself checked,” said Blacky, rudely.

Jumpy monkey and Damru donkey who were buying vegetables from the next shop moved away quickly. “Run, Meeku is infected by coronavirus. We will get infected too if we stay here,” Jumpy screamed.

“Yes, you are right. It is not safe to stay here,” shouted Damru, trotting away.

Soon, the entire market knew about Meeku coughing and all the shopkeepers started shutting their shops and ran.

Meeku was not able to understand what was happening around him. He tried to stop everybody. “Don’t run away from me, please stay,” he pleaded. “Could they be right, am I really infected?” he thought to himself. He became very upset and sat there and started to cry.

Dola deer was also visiting the market at the same time to buy vegetables. When she heard the noise and saw Jumpy, Damru and Blacky running away, she stopped them and asked, “Why are you all running? What is the problem?”

“Dola, Meeku is infected with coronavirus and if we stay here we will get infected too,” said Jumpy, out of breath.

“If you want to save yourselves you better run too,” Damru added.

Dola tried to calm them and asked, “First you all stop running and tell me who told you that Meeku has coronavirus?”

“I saw Meeku coughing,” said Blacky.
“Yes, we also saw him coughing,” Jumpy and Damru said in a chorus.

“Coughing does not necessarily mean that one is infected by coronavirus and treating Meeku like this based on your suspicion is not right after all he is also a member of our family,” Dola explained.

“Dola, we don’t know all that but we are very scared that we may get infected too,” said Jumpy fearfully.

Dola consoled him and said, “Don’t be scared, Jumpy. Only a doctor can say if Meeku is infected or not. Let us take him to the hospital.”

They all agreed with Dola and took Meeku to the hospital.

Doctor Jumbo elephant screened them all as they reached the hospital. He asked them to sit on the chairs placed at a distance and asked them, “What is it? Why do you all look so scared?”

“Doctor, Meeku has been infected with coronavirus. Please admit him in your hospital,” said Jumpy.

“But how do you know that he has been infected?” asked Doctor Jumbo.

“Meeku was coughing that’s how we know,” Jumpy replied.

Dola then explained the situation to Doctor Jumbo, “Actually Doctor, everybody doubts that Meeku was coughing because he is infected and that is why we have brought him here to know for sure.”

“You did the right thing by bringing him here. Let me check for his symptoms,” and Doctor Jumbo took Meeku inside for a check-up.

After taking a swab test and a full examination Doctor Jumbo came out and said, “The swab test report will take a few days to come. But I have physically examined Meeku and he is not infected by coronavirus. There is no need to hospitalise him.”

“Then why was he coughing? I have heard that Corona patients cough,” asked Blacky.

“Coughing alone does not mean that one is infected. High fever, breathlessness, headaches, diarrhoea, loss of taste and smell are some of the other symptoms of this disease. Meeku always uses a mask and he regularly sanitizes his hands. Also, he has not been in contact with any corona patients in the last few days. He does not have any symptoms,” said the doctor.

“Why was Meeku coughing then?” Damru wanted to know.

“Meeku drank cold water before leaving for the market as it was really hot and he had ice cream last night and that’s why he was coughing. I have given him medicines for his sore throat,” he explained.

Jumpy, Blacky and Damru were all embarrassed after finding out the truth from the doctor.

They all apologised to Meeku, “We accused you without any reason and took you to be a coronavirus patient. We ran away from you and treated you badly, please forgive us.”

Jumpy turned to Dola and said, “Had it not been for you we would have never got him to the hospital and known the truth.”

“Don’t be scared of coronavirus, just be alert. It can happen to anybody but a little precaution can prevent us from this disease. Wearing a mask while going out, washing our hands regularly, maintaining social distancing, covering our nose and mouth while coughing or sneezing are some of the things that can prevent us from this disease. Also, contact a doctor in a nearby hospital if you notice any symptoms. Most importantly, do not treat a coronavirus patient badly, try to help them instead,” advised Doctor Jumbo.

Meeku thanked doctor Jumbo and said, “I am thankful to you for giving us so much information about coronavirus. For a moment even I was scared but now I am no longer scared.” He also thanked Dola for her help.

Cheeku’s Reformation!

In Nilgiri forest all the animals lived together. All the kids of the jungle went to the forest school to study. Jumbo elephant was the teacher and the students enjoyed learning from him.

But Cheeku rabbit was very lazy. Neither did he like to study, nor did he like to go to school. He only wanted to roam around and to eat carrots the entire day. He would postpone doing both his homework as well as housewash.

The thought of sitting to study made him giddy and whenever his mother would ask him to study, he would make some excuse and get away from there.

His parents were very worried about Cheeku’s dislike for studying. Although Cheeku had reached Class VII, he could not read or write well. He managed to scrape through the exams by copying or looking into his classmates’ notebooks.

His classmates made fun of him. But it did not bother Cheeku.

After his final exams, Cheeku decided to visit his maternal uncle for the holidays. He urged his parents that no matter what happens he would go to uncle’s house this year.

Festival season was fast approaching and Cheeku’s father had a lot of work at office, so he could not go to drop Cheeku. His mother also could not accompany him as his grandmother was unwell.

Cheeku decided to go alone and asked his parents for permission.

His parents allowed him to go alone and Cheeku’s mom accompanied him to the bus-stand. On reaching the bus-stand, Cheeku noticed that there were many buses stationed. His uncle lived in Kajrivan. Since he could not read well he had to ask the people standing there which bus went to Kajrivan for the journey.

Everyone was busy and could not believe that Cheeku could not read. He was ashamed. “You are quite a grown-up boy and yet you can’t even read what is written on the bus? Hasn’t your school taught you anything?”, mouthed Baddy Fox.

Meeku mouse who was at the bus-stand to see off a relative, felt sorry for Cheeku and said, “There, that bus is going to Kajrivan.”

Cheeku thanked Meeku and quickly got on the bus.

As soon as the bus started and was on the road, Blacky bear, the ticket conductor, came to Cheeku and asked him kindly, “Yes son, where do you want to go?”
Cheeku replied, “Please may I get a ticket for Kajrivan.” He handed Blacky his purse and said, “Please take the money for the ticket from here and give me back the rest.”

Blacky stared at Cheeku and said politely, “Son, this bus is not going to Kajrivan; it is coming from Kajrivan and is going to Haritvan via Champakvan. You have boarded the wrong bus.” Then he added, “Also, you should not hand over all your money to anyone. A thief or a cheat would take it and run away. Don’t you know how to read and to count?”

Cheeku became red with shame. He felt bad that he had not paid attention at school and could not read and write. Had he learnt reading, writing and counting, he would not have to face the situation he was in today. No one would have laughed at him.

He felt like crying. Also he was worried because he had boarded the wrong bus and feared that the conductor would be rude to him.

He told Blacky bear that it was true he did not know how to read and write well. He promised that he will do so now.

Blacky felt sorry for Cheeku and asked the driver to stop the bus. Then he stopped the bus that was going to Kajrivan and asked Cheeku to board it.
Cheeku thanked him and when he reached his uncle’s house he told his uncle about what had happened.

Cheeku’s uncle, Shersingh was a teacher. He explained to Cheeku, “Son, to be able to progress in life, studies is necessary. It makes us independent. In current times, one has to be not just literate but also educated. So work hard and study well.

At the start of the new session, Cheeku started working hard in school. He was no longer lazy. Soon he not only surprised his parents but also his teacher and his classmates with his performance in school. He started scoring well in all his tests and no one teased him anymore by calling him lazy or illiterate.

Senior Citizen Award!

Pihu pigeon was everyone’s favourite in Champakvan for her kindness and manners.

She was adventurous and flying off to faraway places to experience things and new lessons. She loved watching trees, hills, rivers and fields while flying. Her dream was to fly like an eagle above the clouds!

Pihu was friends with Mittu maina who lived in the village near the forest, at a farmer’s house. She would visit Mittu with sweet fruits. Once in a while, Mittu would visit Pihu in Champakvan with corns and wheat grains from her house. Mittu understood human language very well and thus, Pihu was able to learn a lot about human lives as well.

One day when Pihu came to Mittu’s house, she saw her relaxing on the branch of the golden shower tree at the courtyard of the farmer’s house. Pihu sat near Mittu and gave her some fruits. At a distance, she could see a small gathering of villagers. They were discussing something very seriously but happily.

Pihu was curious to know and learn new topics. Mittu knew her friend’s habit. So, she took Pihu to the old mango tree under which the meeting was taking place. Pihu requested Mittu to listen carefully and translate it into bird’s language.

Pihu and Mittu sat quietly on a big branch of the mango tree listening.

Pihu could not understand anything, yet she enjoyed the actions and reactions of the villagers. Finally, there was a huge applause and the crowd dispersed.
Now, it was Mittu’s turn to explain to Pihu.

“The villagers were discussing about celebrating World Senior Citizens Day,” said Mittu.

“When is that?” asked Pihu.

“Hey Pihu, please don’t interrupt. I may forget all the points,” warned Mittu and continued – “I heard about it for the first time. World Senior Citizens Day is celebrated on 21st August every year. The idea of celebrating this day is to raise awareness about the factors and issues affecting older people and also to study issues that affect their lives. Elderly people, these days, are abused in many ways and hence activists have come up with assistance to protect and shelter the elderly.”

Pihu got excited and asked Mittu – “Why were a few people clapping and cheering at the end of the meeting?”

“Your observation power is really praiseworthy,” appreciated Mittu.

“It is also a day to recognize and appreciate the contributions that older people make to the society. Hence, the Village Head has approved the proposal of honouring such important personalities during the celebration,” Mittu stopped her talk and took a long breath.

“This is really wonderful. We must always respect, support and love our elders. I am lucky to have visited you today or else I would have never learned about it,” said Pihu.

Mittu and Pihu flew back to the golden shower tree. Both of them enjoyed swinging to the waves of the cool breeze. Red dragonflies and yellow butterflies were fluttering around the wheat fields. Sapna, the farmer’s little daughter came out of the house and called Mittu with strawberries in her hand. Mittu asked Pihu to join her to eat the delicious strawberries. Sapna greeted Pihu as well. After a while, Pihu left for Champakvan happily. Her mind was full of thoughts and plans.

Pihu shared the information about Senior Citizens Day with her parents and beloved friends Pyaree peacock, Princy parrot, Sweety siskin and Chinju cuckoo. Pihu too wanted to celebrate the day in Champakvan for the first time by giving a surprise to the older animals and birds. Pihu’s parents loved the idea.

Pihu took up the responsibility of inviting all the birds and animals for the occasion. The big banyan tree near the waterfalls was selected for the venue. Pihu requested Princy parrot to accompany her. Pyaree peacock and Sweety siskin took up the responsibility of arranging food and gifts.

Finally, the Senior Citizens Day was here. All the animals and birds were clueless as to why they were invited. While the birds sat on the branches of the trees, the animals sat under the trees and a few on the black rocks near the waterfalls. There were little monkeys and squirrels who played around joyously.

As soon as Raja Gabru lion came with his minister Jambu elephant, the function began. Chinju cuckoo welcomed all with a melodious hymn.

Pihu told the crowd about the significance of the day and the purpose of the celebration. All were quite surprised on hearing about Senior Citizens Day. There was a big round of applause when Pihu announced about honouring the elderly and old members.

Chinju cuckoo invited the very old Mottu monkey, Bittu bear and Cheeru crow on the stage. Pihu read out the contributions made to Champakvan. Regardless of age and other health issues, Mottu, Bittu and Cheeru had worked hard for the betterment of the inhabitants and the development of Champakvan.

Pyaree peacock and Sweety siskin requested Raja Gabru to present the awards to the honourable guests. All the animals and birds clapped for the guests of honour.

Raja Gabru appreciated the organizing committee for their initiative and goodwill. He presented a bouquet to the little pretty Pihu who had introduced the idea of celebrating Senior Citizens Day in Champakvan. Everybody enjoyed delicious food and chatted happily.

Suddenly, Pihu heard the flaps of her dearest friend Mittu main a. “Well done, Pihu” appreciated Mittu. Pihu and her friends welcomed Mittu to join their celebrations

Champakvan’s Flag

King Shersingh was relaxing in his den while watching a program on television. The program was about historical events that happened in India and the history of the Indian flag. Suddenly the thought that flashed across Shersingh’s mind was that Champakvan too should have its own flag.

He immediately called his chief advisor, Jumbo elephant who came quickly, worried why Shersingh was calling him urgently. When Shersingh shared his idea about Champakvan having its own national flag, Jumbo relaxed and became excited about the idea as well.

They both discussed, that the next day Shersingh will make an announcement in Champakvan about the idea of adopting a Champakvan flag and invite designs for the flag, with the reasoning behind the design. The winner would be announced a week before the Champakvan National Day and would receive a certificate and prize during Champakvan National day celebrations.

The next day, Shersingh made the announcement on TV and radio. All the animals of Champakvan were excited about designing the flag. Rangeela peacock, Kitty squirrel, Gini giraffe, Meeku mouse, Fishy fox and many others became busy thinking about the design for the flag.

In every nook and corner of the forest, the only topic one could hear was about flag designing. Finally, the day came and all the participants submitted their designs of the flag. The collected designs were displayed so that all the animals could see the flag ideas.

Shersingh along with Jumbo and other ministers started reviewing the designs of flags submitted by everyone. They found many creative work like Rangeela’s design that showed the rainbow as a national flag with each colour meaning something, Gini’s design had a flame as a symbol of illumination. Most of the ministers were impressed with Fishy’s design in which she had put king Shersingh’s photo in the center of a red colour triangle in the flag.

Shersingh asked Jumbo what he thought about Fishy’s design. Jumbo was puzzled at the direct question but said that in his opinion, Fishy’s design was not ethical. Shersingh and all the ministers were surprised by Jumbo’s answer. Shersingh again asked Jumbo to explain.

Jumbo said, “Your majesty, I do not agree with Fishy’s flag design because it is person-specific. It only shows the strength of Champakvan as its King. A flag should be used to represent the place and its people. It should talk about shared values, history and moral standing of the people in the kingdom.”

Jumbo then moved to the simple design made by Meeku that had a tree on a white background. The white represented light, goodness, innocence, purity, and the tree symbolized the generations of a family. A tree sprouts from a seed, grows and branches out, sees how far it can go, and then creates a new fruit that gives life to the next generation. Tree is a symbol of growth and strength. So I would suggest that we should select Meeku’s design for Champakvan’s flag,” said Jumbo.

Shersingh liked Jumbo’s reasoning and they all declared that Meeku’s flag design would be officially adopted as the flag of Champakvan. It would be hoisted on the upcoming Champakvan day celebrations.

All the animals congratulated Meeku for creating a wonderful and thoughtful flag for the forest and Shersingh and Jumbo for selecting such a flag.

Will guessing work?

Champakvan Public School was one of the prestigious schools of Champakvan. All the parents wanted their children to study there as it had many good teachers and facilities. Toto turtle too was a student of the school. Though he moved slowly, his brain was fast and he was a sharp and bright student. He usually stood first in his class.

Baddy fox studied in the same class as Toto. Baddy never paid attention to his studies. He would ask others for answers during exams. He spent a lot of his time and energy learning new ways to cheat. He had been punished a number of times for cheating in his exams but he did not mend his ways.

A few days before their half-yearly exams, their teacher Jumbo elephant explained, “The question paper in your half-yearly exams shall carry all objective type questions so you must all prepare accordingly. Each question shall have four answers and you have to choose the correct answer. And remember do not even think about cheating. If anyone is caught cheating he or she will be thrown out of the school,” warned Jumbo.

The children were happy with the multiple-choice paper, as then they wouldn’t have to write long answers. 

All were well prepared for their exams except for Baddy fox. He was nervous as he had not studied for the exams and became worried as the days passed.

Soon, it was the day of the first exam. 

Baddy started sweating as soon as he saw the question paper. He did not know what to do. The question paper had four answers to each question and the students were supposed to write the correct answer in their answer sheet. 

Baddy didn’t know the answers to any of the questions. He started guessing the answers and writing them in his answer sheets. He did the same for each question.

While the other students were writing their answers after carefully thinking about each question, Baddy chose the only way he knew and guessed all the answers.

Some of the students skipped the questions they found difficult and went back to solving them after writing the answers they knew.

After the exams, all the students were excited to know their marks. 

On the day of the result, the students started guessing who would score how much, all in fun.

The results were announced and Toto stood first in his class. All the children clapped and congratulated him.

Baddy’s result surprised everyone including Jumbo Sir. 

Baddy had cleared the exams with good marks. Guessing worked for him. Baddy jumped as he soon as heard he had score 75%. He had scored good marks for the first time and felt very proud of himself.

After school, Baddy teased his friends and said, “You all worked so hard and I cleared the exam without studying. You all should learn something from me.”

His constant boasting annoyed others but they kept quiet. Baddy now stopped studying completely. He started wasting his time even more. The half-yearly results had made him arrogant.

Time slipped and soon it was time for the yearly exams. Baddy had wasted all his time in teasing the others and was now stressed as he had not studied at all.

This paper was very different than the multiple-choice paper. It had questions in which one had to write short and long answers. As soon as Baddy saw the question paper, his mouth dried. He could guess no more. He sat through his exams without writing anything as guessing was of no use this time.

A few days later, the results were announced and the students saw their marks on the notice board. Baddy had failed in his exams. Now, the others made fun of him.

But when Toto saw him crying, he went up to Baddy and soothed him. “Baddy, guessing does not work all the time. There are no shortcuts to success. We can achieve success only if we work hard. Guessing helped you once but it does not work every time. If you study every day, you won’t have to depend on guessing and you will not fail.”

Baddy understood what Toto was saying. “You are right, Toto. From today, I will also work hard and pay attention to my studies. I promise not to take the shortcut.”

Baddy and Toto became friends and Toto started helping Baddy every day with his studies. Baddy was no longer nervous about exams.

Greeting Card

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

Shanno cat was employed as the caretaker of the orphanage.

King Shersingh visited the orphanage once a month.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Yes!” said the kids and nodded.

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

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

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

Meeku brought the card and presented it to Shersingh.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Mystery of the WATERMELONS

In the forest of Champakvan, Jumpy, the monkey sold watermelons every summer. His watermelons were bright red, juicy and sweet, but for some reason, things looked bleak this summer.

Not only did he not have as big a yield as last year, his watermelons didn’t taste as nice as they did last year.

Jumpy’s friend, Cheeku, the rabbit munched on a watermelon and said, “Your watermelons this year aren’t quite as nice as the ones you had last year.”

“You’re right,” said Jumpy. “It’s giving me sleepless nights. If my watermelons are going to taste like this, nobody is going to come to my shop. I’ll barely be able to make any money.”

Right next to Jumpy’s store, Baddy, the fox had opened his store. He had opened it only a few days after Jumpy had opened his for the season and had placed red, juicy watermelons on display.

The mere sight of these watermelons made all the animals’ mouths water and they all lined up in front of Baddy’s store for some.

The Proud Watermelon

“Your watermelons are so tasty, Baddy,” said Meenu, the cow.

“Thank you, Meenu. I had them imported from another forest. That’s why they taste so good,” said Baddy.

Even Kamli, the camel couldn’t help but praise Baddy’s watermelons. “Juicy watermelons like these are just what the doctor ordered for this heat. I have never tasted such nice watermelons in my life.”

Soon, all the praise led to lots of customers for Baddy. His watermelons were the perfect treat for the hot, sunny days and his business was doing very well. Sadly, this was eating into Jumpy’s business and only Jumpy’s friends came to his shop.

The next day, Cheeku came to Jumpy’s shop. “Why don’t you try importing your watermelons like Baddy?” he asked Jumpy.

“That sounds like a very good idea. If I keep trying to sell these watermelons, I’ll never be able to make any money at all. I’ll go ask Baddy where he gets his watermelons from tomorrow,” said Jumpy.

The next morning, Jumpy asked Baddy where he bought his watermelons. “No way am I going to tell you,” said Baddy immediately. “If I did, you’ll take away all my customers.”

Jumpy was disappointed that Baddy didn’t want to help, but he was determined to find out where the watermelons came from. So, Jumpy started keeping a close eye on Baddy.

A few days later, Jumpy came running to Cheeku’s house. When Jumpy told Cheeku what he had seen, Cheeku was left speechless.

The next day, Cheeku and Jumpy went to Baddy’s shop. They ordered two watermelons and started eating them. As they enjoyed the watermelons, Jumbo, the elephant came to meet them.

“It’s so hot, Jumbo. Would you mind spraying us with some water from your trunk?” asked Cheeku.

Jumbo put his trunk in a bucket of water and sprayed all the water on Baddy’s shop. As soon as the water splashed on the watermelons, they began to lose their colour. Red colour began to flow down to the ground and all the watermelons looked pretty bad.

“What is the meaning of this? Are you trying to sabotage me?” asked Baddy.

“This is us exposing you to the forest as a cheater!” said Cheeku.

Turning to Meenu, Cheeku said, “If you don’t mind, Ma’am, could you please sample some of Baddy’s watermelons?”

Meenu took one bite and spat it out. “These watermelons taste terrible,” she said.

“Exactly,” said Cheeku. “He’s been injecting the watermelons with red colour and sugar syrup. He’s been cheating you all.”

“That’s a lie! I’m being framed,” cried Baddy.

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“Then how do you explain what I saw? I followed you home last night. After closing your shop, you went straight to Blacky, the bear’s shop and bought some sugar and red colouring. Then late at night, when no one else was around, you came back to your shop and one by one injected all the watermelons with sugar syrup and red colouring. I’ve been observing you for a few days. To teach you a lesson and let the other animals know that you’ve been cheating them, I came up with this plan with Cheeku and Jumbo,” said Jumpy.

Now that everybody was aware of his plan, Baddy decided to make a run for it. But, he wasn’t fast enough and the crowd was too thick for him to make his way out. Jumbo picked him up with his trunk brought him back to the shop.

Baddy was trembling in fear. “Please forgive me. I only did it because my crop of watermelons had come out badly this year. I just wanted to make them taste juicy. I promise to never do this again,” said Baddy.

It seemed like Baddy had learnt his lesson. Jumpy asked Jumbo to let Baddy go. Baddy apologised to all the animals and ran away from the forest.

Clever Cheeku

Champakvan was going through a massive heatwave. The sun beat down upon the earth, making it terribly hot. It felt as if the animals were living in a furnace. As a result, all the animals spent most of the day indoors and only ventured out in the evenings. The evenings were no cool dip in the pond either. The ground was still as hot as before, but the shade under the trees made life a little better.

Over the years, the summers were getting worse. This year was the hottest, and every evening, all the animals would plan for the next day.

Meeku, the mouse stepped out to stock up supplies for the next day. As he was walking around, looking for some food, he saw that his friend Cheeku, the rabbit was digging a hole.

Meeku found this to be very strange. While the rest of the forest was looking for supplies to last them the next day, Cheeku seemed to be wasting his time digging. After some debate, Meeku decided to go over to Cheeku and find out what he was doing.

Saving Rainwater

“What are you doing, Cheeku?” asked Meeku.

“Digging a hole of course,” said Cheeku.

“I can see that, but what are you digging?”

“A lake,” said Cheeku, continuing to dig.

“You’re joking right?” asked Meeku. “The entire forest is reeling under the heat of the summer and instead of gathering supplies for tomorrow, you’re digging a hole? Why are you doing such a silly thing?” Meeku burst into laughter.

“It is not silly. I’m very serious about digging a lake,” said Cheeku. Meeku stopped laughing

“What’s the matter, Cheeku? What’s wrong with our lake?” asked Meeku.

“Our lake is fine for now, but do you realise that every year, just after the summer, we face a severe water shortage? I’m digging this lake so that there will be enough water for all of us,” said Cheeku.

“I don’t understand one thing though,” said Meeku. “How do you intend to fill this lake up?” “With rainwater of course. Every year when it rains, we let so much water go to waste. In fact, my plan is to dig a pit near my house and send all the water from the drains of my terrace to this pit,” said Cheeku.

“What for?” asked Meeku.

“This will raise the water table and recharge the groundwater instead of letting all the rainwater flow away back to the ocean. Imagine if we saved all that water, we’d never have to worry about going thirsty ever again,” said Cheeku.

“Hmm, you make a good point. But do you really think you’ll be able to finish digging before the rains start?” asked Meeku.

More from Champak: Where Are The Rains?

“No, I don’t think so, but if you work hard now, you can reap the rewards later,” said Cheeku.

Meeku was deeply moved by Cheeku’s actions. After gathering all his supplies for the next day, Meeku came to Cheeku and said, “I would like to help you with your cause. You seem to be doing something great and I want to be a part of it.”

Cheeku was very happy to see that Meeku was also interested and together they began to dig.

Blacky, the bear and Jumpy, the monkey, who were passing by, stopped when they saw Cheeku and Meeku hard at work. “What are you guys doing?” they asked.

When Meeku and Cheeku explained, Blacky and Jumpy wanted to help too. Each grabbed a pickaxe and helped loosen the soil for Meeku and Cheeku to dig. Jumbo, the elephant joined in as well and started digging. Soon, the word spread across the forest and animals joined in from far and wide. Even the King of the jungle, Shersingh, the lion was there.

Seeing all the animals working together, Shersingh said, “Looks like next year we’ll have enough water to last us more than a year. All the rainwater will no longer go to waste.”

However, Jumpy had something to say, “Cheeku has started a good thing, but this is only to save water. What will we do about the heat that rises every day? We won’t be able to escape this heat just by digging.” All animals started thinking the same.

Teetu, the butterfly chimed in, “We can plant more and more trees, and this will bring down the heat. We should get started now.”

Cheeku then said excitedly, “Yes! This is a good idea. Before today, all we did was talk about bringing change, but from now on we will dig for water and also plant trees sincerely. This will help reduce the heat.”

After listening to him, all the animals became excited as they had got the solutions to all their problems. All of them started working enthusiastically towards these solutions.

Dr Jeru Giraffe

Dr Jeru Giraffe practised medicine at Champakvan. He was a surgeon and would perform complicated surgeries. Animals would come from faraway places to be treated by Dr Jeru. But, as talented as he was, Dr Jeru was also absent-minded.

One morning, Jumbo, the elephant came in for an appendix operation. He was taken to the operation theatre for surgery before being shifted to the ward. It was only at lunch that one of the doctors asked Dr Jeru what happened to his ring.

Dr Jeru realized that the ring he always wore on his finger was missing. He searched his office, his bag and even his pockets before realizing that he had left it inside Jumbo while he was operating. Jumbo was rushed back to the OT and the ring was retrieved. Fortunately, Jumbo was still under anaesthesia and didn’t remember a thing.

The Greatest Treasure

If you thought that was the end of that story, Jumbo was back in a couple of days with a stomach ache. Dr Jeru was worried that he might have left something else behind. He took an X-ray and realized that he had left the scissors he used to cut the stitches inside him.

Jumbo was rushed to the OT once again and the scissors were quickly removed. Jumbo was shifted back to the ward. He sat in his bed and wondered how much the hospital bills were going to come up to when his phone started ringing.

Jumbo reached into his pocket and pulled it out to answer, but his phone wasn’t ringing. Yet, he could hear the sound of ringing phone loud and clear. Jumbo decided that he was just tired and turned in for the night.

Unfortunately, Jumbo woke up every five minutes to the sound of a ringing phone. It was only at two in the morning that Jumbo finally fell asleep. But three hours later, he woke up to the sound of an alarm.

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The lack of sleep and the ringing alarm had driven Jumbo crazy and Jumbo ran along the corridors waking everybody up. Dr Jeru calmed him down and Jumbo explained what was happening. Dr Jeru slapped his forehead.

“Jumbo, I think we’ll have to take you in for another operation,” said Dr Jeru. “I think it’s my phone that’s been ringing. I may have left it inside you.”

Jumbo was prepped once again and as he was about to be given anaesthesia, he said, “Doctor, maybe you shouldn’t put stitches this time.”

“Why do you say that?” Dr Jeru asked.

“Every time you stitch me up, you have to open me up again. It’s painful. I was hoping you could install a zipper instead,” said Jumbo.

Dr Jeru laughed and apologised to Jumbo for all the trouble. “This time I’ll be extra careful,” he said. “Also, because I’ve caused you a lot of trouble, I promise not to charge you for your stay here.”

Jumbo was relieved and as he fell asleep because of the anaesthesia, there was a big smile on his face.

Baddy Steals The Show!

Hurray! Our experiment is successful!” cheered Blacky, the bear and Jumbo, the elephant as they saw their car floating mid-air.

On hearing their excited shouts, Baddy, the fox came into the garage where the two were working to see what was happening.

“Blacky and Jumbo, is your experiment over? Why do you both look so happy?” asked Baddy.

“Yes! We have successfully built a solar hover car,” said Jumbo excitedly. He then pressed a button on the remote and the car started to rise from the ground.

“Wow! This is incredible!” exclaimed Baddy.

“Day after tomorrow, we shall exhibit it before the entire jungle,” said Jumbo.

“We will become famous and everyone will refer to us as the inventors of this impressive solar hover car,” said Blacky happily.

The Night Ghost

“But we must thank you, Baddy, for letting us work in your garage. Thank you so much!” said Jumbo.

“Yes, Baddy too is responsible for the invention of this solar hover car,” pitched in Blacky.

“I am more than happy to have helped you both. I am happy for your success,” said Baddy.

The three then locked the garage and went home.

The next morning, NEWS when Blacky and Jumbo switched on the television, they saw Baddy all over the news and that everybody was praising him for his new creation—the solar hover car!

“What’s this, Jumbo?” asked Blacky shocked.

“I have no idea. I am quite surprised myself,” replied Jumbo.

Both of them hurried to Baddy’s house where a lot of reporters had already gathered and were waiting to interview Baddy.

“How does your invention work, Baddy?” asked one reporter.

“My latest invention is a car that can be driven with the help of sunlight. But the best part is that it is not to be driven on the road like other ordinary cars; it actually flies! It is a solar hover car,” said a boastful Baddy.

“Fly? Could you demonstrate?” asked the reporter.

“I would have given you a demo but it is very cloudy right now, so it will not work,” said Baddy.

“Does that mean we will not be able to use this car at night?” asked the reporter. “You will be able to operate it in the night but it needs to be charged for which you will need sunlight. Right now, it is not fully charged and so I cannot demonstrate how to use it,” answered Baddy.

“Did anybody else help you build it?” asked another reporter.

“Yes, Blacky and Jumbo helped me. One of them got me tea and the other got me snacks while I was working on the car,” said Baddy with a laugh.

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All the reporters started laughing too.

“Liar! We built this solar car!” interrupted Blacky and Jumbo angrily.

“What? Why are you both lying? Now that my experiment is successful, you want credit for it?” asked Baddy.

“No, we are telling the truth. This is our invention and we worked very hard on it,” said Blacky angrily.

“If both of you built this car, why didn’t you inform us earlier and how come Baddy knows all about it?” questioned one of the reporters.

Blacky and Jumbo tried their best to convince the reporters but nobody was ready to believe them. Baddy then announced that he would demonstrate the car’s flying capabilities the next day at 11 a.m., following which everyone dispersed. Blacky and Jumbo went home disappointed.

The following morning, Baddy had parked the car in the garden so that it would be charged by the time everyone arrived. When it was 11, he stepped outside to see people already waiting for him.

“I know that all of you have been eagerly waiting to see this car hover in the air. You shall witness it now,” announced Baddy as he sat in the car.

He switched it on but it didn’t start. Baddy tried again and this time, the car slowly started floating in the air. There were loud gasps of surprise from the crowd. And then some started to clap.

Carried away by the applause, Baddy failed to notice that the car was rising fast. Suddenly, he realised what was happening and tried to slow it down but he couldn’t do it. He tried everything but the car just kept rising and rising.

Baddy panicked and started yelling for help. By then, the car had already risen so high that nobody could hear his cry for help. Everyone assumed he was waving his hands because he was excited. As the car flew higher, it became difficult for Baddy to breathe and he eventually fainted.

When Baddy finally woke up, he realised he was lying on his bed at home and noticed the reporters gathered around him.

“How did I get here?” asked Baddy.

“Your car was out of control. We didn’t know what to do when we didn’t see you for a long time. Your car had risen so high that we couldn’t even see you. That’s when Blacky and Jumbo arrived and they brought the car down with the help of a remote,” explained a reporter.

“Yes, and they brought you down in time, otherwise it would have been fatal for you,” said Dr Drake, the deer who was called in to check on Baddy.

“They’re waiting for you outside now,” he informed.

Baddy immediately rushed outside to apologise to Blacky and Jumbo.

“I am sorry. I lied about the invention. It was yours and I wanted to take all the credit for it,” said Baddy regretting his behaviour.

On hearing his confession, everyone who was gathered there became angry with Baddy and started yelling at him.

“Please, stop! We have forgiven Baddy. We request you to forgive him too,” said Jumbo to all the reporters present there.

Baddy apologised to everybody and assured them that he will never try to steal the credit for someone else’s hard work.

The Night Ghost

It was quite late in the night when Jumbo, the elephant was walking home along a deserted stretch of road. Suddenly, a strange-looking object appeared before him.

“I am the Night Ghost!” it proclaimed. “Give me whatever you possess.”

“I am not scared of you. You are so puny, said Jumbo waving his trunk at the ghost.

“Puny? You think I am puny?” asked the ghost enraged. It miraculously began to grow bigger and bigger.

“Do I look puny now?” asked the ghost.

Jumbo fainted in shock on seeing the ghost grow bigger. After some time, when he regained consciousness, he noticed that all his belongings were gone. He was now very scared. He quickly rushed home and fell sick immediately.

On hearing about his condition, his friends came to visit him.

The Ghost of Penupuram

“What’s wrong, Jumbo? Are you feeling unwell?” asked Jumpy, the monkey.

Jumbo narrated the entire incident.

“How is it possible? Ghosts aren’t real,” said Meeku, the mouse.

“I thought so too but ever since my encounter with the Night Ghost, I have started to believe in them,” said Jumbo.

“I think you must have been hallucinating. How is it possible for something to just grow bigger in a matter of seconds?” asked Meeku curiously.

“Yes! That’s why I know for sure that what I saw was indeed a ghost,” insisted Jumbo.

“I don’t believe you,” said Jumpy.

Nobody believed Jumbo. But when the other inhabitants of the forest started having similar experiences, everyone began to fear the Night Ghost. No one dared to venture out alone at night, especially on the road where the ghost was usually seen.

One day, Cheeku, the rabbit fell ill. He asked his friends to take him to the hospital, but they were too scared of the Night Ghost. They had to take the deserted road to reach the hospital which they were afraid to do so at night. Instead, they took Cheeku to the hospital the following morning.

There, Dr Pintu, the giraffe checked Cheeku and prescribed some medicines. He said, “I am glad that you got him here on time. If you had been slightly late, it would have been difficult for me to save him.” Everyone was relieved.

Cheeku was in the hospital for a week. During that time, he resolved to get rid of the so called Night Ghost as soon as he got home.

After a week, Cheeku felt better and was back home. That night, he decided to walk down the deserted road hoping to meet the Night Ghost. And as expected, the ghost appeared before him.

“I am the Night Ghost! Hand over all your belongings,” it said.

“Only owls and bats fly around at night. So are you the ghost of one?” asked Cheeku.

This angered the ghost. “Don’t try to act funny or else I will have to teach you a lesson!” it threatened and started changing its shape.

Instead of getting scared by its growing size, Cheeku calmly took out a bottle.

“What’s this? Going to trap me in that little bottle, are you? I am no Genie. I am a ghost!” it howled.

“No! This is magic powder. See what it does,” so saying, Cheeku blew the magic powder into the ghost’s eyes.

“Ow! My eyes! They are burning! What was that powder?” cried the ghost.

“It was chilli powder. Show yourself and I will give you water,” said Cheeku waving a bottle of water in front of the ghost.

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“Ok! Ok!” exclaimed the ghost and immediately removed the costume. And out emerged Baddy.

“Now give me the water!” he said and grabbed the bottle from Cheeku and washed his eyes.

He then tried to escape but Cheeku caught hold of him and produced him before everyone. Cheeku asked Baddy to confess and he did. He told everyone about his plan to dress up as a ghost and steal everyone’s belongings.

“But how did Baddy become bigger than me?” Jumbo asked.

“When Baddy was hiding inside the big black robe, he also kept a balloon hidden along with him. Whenever he wanted to appear to be growing bigger, he would loosen the string of the balloon and it would float upwards lifting the robe along with it,” explained Cheeku. “So that is why it looked as if it was becoming bigger right in front of your eyes, and you were all convinced that it was a ghost.”

“You are right, Cheeku. We shouldn’t have blindly believed it. If I ever come across another ghost, I’ll lift it with my trunk and toss it away,” said Jumbo waving his trunk about much to everyone’s amusement.

The Greatest Treasure

One day, Baddy, the fox was walking down the forest trail, lost in thought.

“Where are you off to so early in the morning, Baddy?” asked Cheeku, the rabbit who was on his morning walk.

“I’m glad I ran into you, Cheeku,” said Baddy.

“Why? Were you looking for me?” asked Cheeku.

“I wasn’t exactly looking for you, Cheeku. I’m actually looking for a well,” said Baddy.

“You’re looking for a well? Why? Are you thirsty?” asked Cheeku.

“No, no, let me explain,” said Baddy. “I had a dream last night that there’s a well somewhere in the forest and it’s all dried up. I’m looking for that well.”

Cheeku gave Baddy a confused look. Baddy further explained, “In my dream, the dried-up well is filled with treasures. I need to find that well and dig out all the treasure. With it, I’ll become the richest animal in the forest.”

Things made sense to Cheeku now and he said, “Baddy, I hate to break it to you, but I don’t think there’s any treasure or even a dried-up well in Champakvan. It was just a dream. So instead of running around the forest looking for some treasure, why don’t you join me? We’ll run together. It’ll be good for your health.”

Baddy said he’d rather continue his search for the well and walked away, and Cheeku went back to his morning walk.

Baddy spent some time wandering around Champakvan, until he saw a well. Baddy ran to the well and peered inside. It seemed to be dry.

“I’ve found it! I’m rich! I’m rich!” he shouted and danced. “Now I’ll climb into the well and search for that treasure!” he said and peered inside once again.

The well was deep, but its walls had rocks jutting out in different places. “I can use these rocks as footholds and climb down,” Baddy said to himself and began to climb down.

The well was deeper than he thought and it became dark very fast. Baddy almost made out of the well but one of the steps gave away and he fell into the well.

At the bottom, there were rocks and stones and Baddy was badly bruised. But he was so keen on finding the treasure that he paid no attention to his injuries and began digging the ground. All he found were stones and rocks.

Baddy looked at the walls of the well, and just then he saw a big black snake come out of one of the holes in the wall.

“Oh no! A snake!” he shouted and began to tremble with fear.

Fortunately for him, the snake was good-natured and meant no harm to him.

“Don’t worry, I won’t hurt you,” said the snake reassuringly. “What are you doing here in this well?”

Baddy told the snake about his dream and that he was looking for the buried treasure.

“Hmm…you seem to believe in superstitions,” said the snake.

“You’re so keen on finding the treasure that you’re not bothered by how difficult or dangerous the situation might be. Well, let me spare you the effort of digging and tell you that there is no buried treasure here.”

Baddy felt dejected. He decided to head back out of the well, but he realised that he didn’t know how he was going to do that.

Baddy scratched his head, looking for a solution. Even after thinking for several minutes, Baddy had no idea of how to get out of the well. He sat down and started to cry.

The snake said, “Why don’t you shout for help. Maybe someone will hear you and help you out.”

When Baddy called for help, Meeku who was passing by heard his cries. He put his hand out and asked Baddy to grab on.

“Give me your hand and I’ll pull you out!” Meeku said.

But Baddy refused to put his hand out. Meeku didn’t know what to do. He called Jumbo.

Jumbo offered to help and said Baddy, “Here! Give me your hand and I’ll pull you out with my trunk.” But Baddy refused again.

“I think he’s gone crazy,” Meeku whispered to Jumbo. “He called for help, and when we offer it, he refuses!”

Meeku saw Cheeku going home and he called out to him. He told Cheeku everything.

Cheeku realised what was happening and told the others what to do.

Cheeku said, “Baddy has always taken. He doesn’t know how to give. Ask him to take your trunk, Jumbo and you’ll be able to pull him out easily.”

Jumbo told him, “Here you go, Baddy! Take my trunk. I’ll pull you out.”

Baddy didn’t refuse this time. After Baddy was rescued, Cheeku told him, “Baddy, Do you know what the biggest treasure is? It is friendship. We’ll always help you out, Baddy, and we know no treasure can replace our friendship.”

Baddy realised his mistake and apologised to others. He realised there is no bigger wealth than friendship. He was changed and began to help others and was not greedy anymore.

Cotton Football

Meeku, the mouse came back Champakvan after spending his summer vacations in the city. He rushed to the ground to play with his friends in the evening.

“Look what I got from the city!” he said to his friends pointing at his football.

“Oh wow! Let’s play now,” Jumbo, the elephant said. “Let’s make two teams first. Without two teams, we can’t play,” Meeku said and they immediately formed two teams.

“Tarry, pass me the ball,” Meeku said to Tarry, the frog.

Tarry passed the ball to Meeku who quickly converted the pass into a goal.

“Hurray! I scored!” Meeku shouted excitedly.

“Good job, Meeku!” Tarry congratulated his friend.

Stay Put Timbu!

The match continued heatedly. Jumbo ran to score but Meeku stopped him. In the process, both of them fell on the ground. Jumbo thought Meeku would get squashed by his weight, he tried to fall on the other side. The football came under Jumbo and burst and seeing this, Meeku was in tears.

“I didn’t have a choice, Meeku. If I had not diverted my fall, you would have been squashed. But don’t worry. I will go to the city and fix your football in a day or two,” Jumbo consoled Meeku.

“I am sad because today is the first time I scored a goal. I would have definitely become the player of the week. Now, we will not be able to play anymore,” a dejected Meeku said.

“Don’t worry about it Meeku. If you play well the next time, you will be the player of the match,” Tarry said.

“But the match was fun. Now, what do we do?” Cheeku, the rabbit asked.

“Should we play with a coconut?” Baddy, the fox suggested.

“Baddy, that sounds like an idea to send us to the hospital. How can we play football with a coconut? If it falls on our head, we will surely get injured.” Tarry told Baddy.

“Let’s use a pumpkin instead?” Jumpy, the monkey then suggested.

“Jumpy, first of all, the shape of a pumpkin is not proper for playing football and even if we do play football with it, it will soon be a squish squash football.” Jumbo laughed.

“We need something made out of cotton,” Damru, the donkey then suggested.

More from Champak: No Place to Play

“Fine, Damru, but where do we find a football made out of cotton?” Baddy said and everyone started laughing at Damru.

When everyone started making fun of him, Damru started crying.

Just then, a weaver bird was sitting on the tree and overhearing this conversation between friends. She came to Damru and said, “Hey, why are you making so much noise here? My children are sleeping. You will wake them up.”

“Sorry, dear. Damru here is crying. He gave us an idea, which sounded quite funny. So everybody laughed at him,” Jumbo said.

“What idea?” the weaver bird asked.

“Our football burst. We were thinking of what to do. Damru said that we could make a football out of cotton,” Jumbo explained the sequence of events.

“Why not? That may be possible,” the weaver bird said looking at them.

“But how?” everyone asked.

“Go get some cotton. I will make a football for you,” said the weaver bird.

Meeku got some cotton and the weaver bird started filling the busted football with cotton. Then, she stitched the end that had burst and gave the football back to them.

“Here, your football is ready. It will not bounce so much but you can still play with it and entertain yourselves,” the weaver bird said.

“Oh wow!” Jumbo exclaimed.

Everyone was very excited and impressed with the weaver bird. All of them thanked her.

“Don’t make fun of others without thinking about it. Doing so hurts their feelings,” said the weaver bird.

“You’re right. We promise we will not do so in future,” said Tarry and all of them hugged Damru.

“Okay, I’ll take your leave now. But don’t make any more noise. My children will wake up,” the weaver bird said and flew back to her nest.

“Let’s re-start our match. I was playing well today,” Meeku told the rest of the team. They all went back to their game.


It was hot in Champakvan. Summer had taken a toll on all animals. Meeku, the mouse wasn’t feeling well due to this sweltering heat. Inside the small hole he lived in, he felt suffocated. Outside, he found the hot wind difficult to deal with. He would often try to save himself from this heat but would get no respite.

One day, he was lazing under the shade of a tree. The heat was too for him to handle. There was no wind and sweat kept dripping from every corner of his body. Around that he noticed Jumbo, the elephant walking carefree by the river. Jumbo came stood next to Meeku.

Meeku Saves the Day

“Hey Jumbo, you don’t look tired. Aren’t you feeling hot?” Meeku asked him.

Jumbo said, “Meeku, it is indeed hot but I am not as dirty and lazy as you are. I keep taking baths in the river, which keeps my body cool. Here, come and feel my fat skin, it is cold.”

Meeku, obviously, was not as tall as Jumbo and was not able to reach up to his back. So, Jumbo picked him up by his trunk and placed him on his back. He realised that Jumbo’s skin was cold.

After a while, when Jumbo was resting under the tree, Meeku jumped off his back. He thought about whispering something into Jumbo’s ear. But just at that moment, Jumbo flapped his fan-like large ears vigorously, which gave Meeku a whiff of fresh air. He instantly felt as if he was transported to the streets of Nainital.

More from Champak: Cheeku and Meeku are Walking into the Forest.

He was happy at the thought of using Jumbo’s ears to get rid of the afternoon heat. But then again, he did not want Jumbo to know about it. He was scared that if Jumbo found out, he would stop flapping his ears.

However, Meeku realised that Jumbo usually flaps his ears when a fly buzzes near his ear.

He thought to himself that it would be brilliant if flies constantly kept buzzing around Jumbo’s ears. Then, he would be able to enjoy the fresh air he got from the flapping of Jumbo’s ears all the time.

He came up with an idea. He knew that there was another tree somewhere close by with a beehive. He went to the beehive and got a couple of drops of honey from the queen bee and quietly put it on Jumbo’s ear.

The honey made all the bees buzz near Jumbo’s ears and he started flapping his ears so that the bees would fly off. That is exactly what Meeku wanted. The more Jumbo flapped his ears, the better it was for Meeku, as he was able to enjoy loads of fresh air. In this way, his afternoon was well spent.

Since then, every afternoon, Meeku would be on the lookout for Jumbo and Jumbo would always be found taking his afternoon nap somewhere below a tree. Meeku would quietly put some honey on Jumbo’s ears and Jumbo would start flapping his ears. Thus, Meeku’s “fan” saved him from the dreadful summer.

Happy Holi!

Champakvan looked colourful as it was celebrating the festival of Holi. Dumpy the Donkey, Jumbo the Elephant, Jumpy the Monkey, Vicky the Deer, Blacky the Bear and Freddy the Giraffe were happily playing Holi with each other. They were spraying water using colourful pichkaris and rubbing colours on each other’s face. The entire place looked cheerful.

After a short while, Barney the Hyena, Baddy the Fox and Spotty the Cheetah arrived. This trio was very mischievous.

“Holi celebrations with just the gulaal? This is indeed a very dull festival,” said Barney the Hyena.

“True,” said Baddy the Fox. “This is so boring Holi should be played like this.” he said and caught hold of Vicky the Deer. He stained Vicky’s face with black colour.

Vicky angrily asked, “What have you done, Baddy? What have you applied on my face? I am feeling a burning and itching sensation.” He started scratching his face.


Baddy, Barney and Spotty burst out laughing. They said, “Well, this is the real fun. Now all of you get your face painted black. Then let’s go to the main road. There, we’ll stain the faces of every passerby.”

“We shall not do that. You have spoilt our celebrations. We were playing with gulaal. It is an eco-friendly colour. It doesn’t harm anyone. Your kind of Holi is disgusting. What is the point in painting someone’s face black? It makes them look awful. Look how troubled Vicky is. He will have to put in so much effort to get the colour off his face. A lot of water will be wasted,” said Dumpy. “I was always for celebrating Holi without the use of water but friends insisted so I agreed.

Getting this gulaal off our face will not use a large amount of water.”

“Vicky will have a tough time washing the colour off his face. It is not good to use muck, soil, dung, coal tar and other itchy substances to play Holi. We would appreciate it if the three of you went away from here,” added Jumbo. “We wanted to play Holi with you as well. Now, I am not in the mood. It is better that you go away before I lose my temper.”

Barney said, “Jumbo, you seem to be really upset. According to us, this is the actual fun of Holi. If you so wish, we shall go from here.” He added, “Baddy, Spotty, let’s go.”

“Sure,” said Spotty. He splashed some muck onto Freddy’s face before leaving.

Dumpy and Jumbo could not tolerate this anymore. They did not let them go. Jumbo caught hold of Spotty.


He held him in his trunk and started twirling him around. Dumpy, on the other hand started kicking Barney continuously.



Baddy the Fox tried to escape. Freddy the Giraffe caught hold of him. Jumpy the Monkey and Blacky the Bear started hitting Baddy. Vicky also joined the gang. He began poking Baddy with his long, sharp horns.


Some other animals of Champakvan saw this. They thought that the kids were enjoying the festival. They thought that Spotty was enjoying being twirled in Jumbo’s trunk. They were happy for the kids. The animals also saw Dumpy kicking Barney. They assumed that it was a new way of celebrating Holi. After a few minutes, they heard Spotty, Baddy and Barney’s cries for help. That was when they realised that these three were being beaten up by the others. They rushed to help them. They asked the kids as to why they were beating the trio.

Dumpy narrated the entire incident to the other animals. He added, “We are aware that Champakvan is facing an acute shortage of water this year. If we waste water playing Holi, we shall face worse problems in the near future. I tried explaining the same to Barney, Baddy and Spotty. These three didn’t listen. They kept applying muck on our faces. Thus, we had to teach them a lesson.

The oldest Lion of Champakvan, Leonard heard this. He angrily said, “True. They deserve this punishment. These three have cut down many trees in order to light a fire for Holi. They have also destroyed some huts. They are indeed wicked. All of you should hit them a little more.”

“Sorry, Grandpa,” replied Spotty, Baddy and Barney. “Please forgive us. We shall not repeat this mistake.” All three of them kneeled down. They started begging for forgiveness.

“Alright!” Leonard said. “We forgive you. Do not repeat such mischief again. It is a festive occasion. We must celebrate it with love and happiness. We must make friends and not enemies. Now patch up with Jumbo, Dumpy, Vicky, Blacky and Freddy.” Baddy, Spotty and Barney were still nervous about extending a hand of friendship towards the other kids. Dumpy and Jumbo came forward. They gave them a warm hug.


Everyone felt happy with this gesture from Dumpy and Jumbo. All the animals then proceeded towards Leonard’s house. They played Holi with each other till the evening. It was a colourful Holi using dry colours; with a feeling of love and brotherhood. It was indeed a memorable Holi celebration at Champakvan.


“Hi, Jumpy. Could you give me a kilo of gulab jamuns please?” Dina deer asked Jumpy monkey, who owned a sweet shop in Champakvan.

“Right away!” said Jumpy and turned around to get some. He was shocked to find the tray of gulab jamuns almost empty!

Earlier during the day, when Jumpy had packed some gulab jamuns for a customer, the tray was full. Jumpy was perplexed.

“This is strange. Where did the gulab jamuns go?” Jumpy thought to himself.

“What happened, Jumpy? Something seems to be bothering you,” said Dina.

“Yes, Dina. For the last two days, my gulab jamuns have been mysteriously disappearing,” said Jumpy.

“Am sure while you were away, a few naughty kids would have stolen it. There’s no mystery to it,” said Dina.

“No. For the last two days, I have not stepped out for even a minute. That’s why I am puzzled. I have a feeling that it’s the working of a ghost,” said Jumpy nervously.

Dina got scared at the mention of the word “ghost”. She ran away hastily.

Jumpy mentioned about a ghost stealing his gulab jamuns to other customers as well and the news spread like wildfire through the forest. Everyone became convinced that it was indeed a ghost that was stealing the gulab jamuns. Out of fear, they all stopped going to Jumpy’s shop.

Jumpy was sad. Not only was there a ghost visiting his shop, his business was also getting affected. He discussed the situation with his friend Meeku mouse.

After Jumpy narrated the entire incident, Meeku said, “Don’t be silly, Jumpy. There’s no ghost! You are just imagining things.”

This annoyed Jumpy. “If there’s no ghost, then are my gulab jamuns magically disappearing into thin air?” he fumed.


“Calm down, Jumpy. Getting angry won’t solve your problem. We need to look at all possibilities,” said Meeku. He thought for a while and said, “Tomorrow, I will come along with you to the shop and try to find out about the missing gulab jamuns.”

“Sorry, I got angry, Meeku. I am frustrated. Please help me solve this problem, or else I will have to shut my shop,” said Jumpy.

Next day, Meeku and Jumpy went to the shop. The two ended up sitting idly the entire day as only two customers turned up. Yet, by the end of the day, they found that the gulab jamuns had disappeared.

“That’s it! I’ve had enough. I can’t run a business with a ghost trying to ruin it. I am going to sell this shop,” said Jumpy.

“Don’t do that, Jumpy. It is not a ghost; ghosts don’t exist. Just give me a day’s time and I will solve your problem,” said Meeku.

Jumpy agreed. The next day, the two of them went to the shop again. But this time, instead of sitting by the counter, Meeku hid behind the shelf from where he could see the tray of gulab jamuns.

Around afternoon, when Jumpy was falling asleep at his counter, Meeku saw a trunk enter the window and grab a few gulab jamuns. Meeku smiled. He now knew who the “ghost” was.


Later, Meeku woke Jumpy up to tell him about the “ghost” and shared an idea with him.

Jumpy laughed and said, “This will teach him a lesson.”

The following afternoon, Jumpy dozed off at his counter as usual, while Meeku hid behind the shelf. Just as they had anticipated, the trunk came in through the window and grabbed the gulab jamuns. Within a few seconds…

Acchhooo! Acchhooo!

Jumpy and Meeku rushed outside. There, they saw Jumbo elephant sneezing violently. His face was red and his eyes were watering. “Thanks to the pepper you added in the gulab jamuns, your ghost has been caught red-handed,” said Meeku.


“You mean red-trunked?” joked Jumpy.

Hearing the loud sneezes, other animals gathered too. Meeku and Jumpy felt sorry for Jumbo. They gave him some water and sweets. After Jumbo recovered from the bout of sneezes, he grinned at his friends sheepishly.

“I am sorry. I was advised by the doctor to not have too many sweets. Since Jumpy knows about it, I knew he wouldn’t let me have any. And how much ever I try, I can’t keep off my favourite gulab jamuns from Jumpy’s shop—they are so delicious,” explained Jumbo

Everyone had a good laugh.

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.


The Sugarcane Ghost

Jumbo elephant loved eating sugarcane. He had planted the sweetest sugarcane plants in his farm and enjoyed sharing sugarcane and its juice with all his neighbours and guests.

One day when Jumbo went to the farm, he was shocked to see sugarcane stalks fallen on the ground. He looked around carefully, but found no sign of anyone entering and walking around the farm.

Next morning, some more of the sugarcane stalks were on the ground. Every night someone entered the farm and broke some of the stalks.

Jumbo started putting a big lock on the door of his farm and the boundary wall around his farm was very high. It was not possible for anyone to jump over and come inside but each morning Jumbo saw that sugarcane stalks were broken.

This troubled Jumbo a lot. On many nights he kept awake and guarded the house, but he did not see anyone going towards his farm. In the morning he found the sugarcane stalks broken and on the ground.

One day, poor Jumbo mentioned this to his friend Jumpy monkey. Jumpy said, “This seems to be the work of a ghost.”

“Why will a ghost break the sugarcane?” Jumbo said, not believing Jumpy.


“If a ghost is not breaking the plants, then is the wind breaking them?” Jumpy replied.

“You have stayed awake the whole night and guarded the stalks. You saw no one come or go, and still the stalks were broken in the morning. This clearly means that it is the work of ghosts, because no one can see them if they do not wish to be seen,” Jumpy continued.

On hearing this, Jumbo got frightened. He started getting afraid to go in the direction of his farm even during the day.

One day Cheeku rabbit came to visit him. Jumbo always offered Cheeku sugarcane juice, but that day he did not do so.

Cheeku found this unusual and asked his friend, “What is the matter Jumbo? You look troubled today. I am also missing the sweet sugarcane juice that you always offer.”

“Don’t mention sugarcane,” Jumbo said, looking sad.

“Why?” asked Cheeku. “You were always so proud of the sugarcane you grew.”

“Ghosts have invaded my sugarcane farm.

Every night they come and break many of my sugarcane stalks. I have stopped going to the farm out of fear,” Jumbo explained to Cheeku.

“Jumbo, you are so intelligent. Why do you still you talk like this? There are no ghosts. They are only exist in our minds and stories,” Cheeku tried to explain.

“If there are no ghosts, then who is breaking my sugarcane?” asked Jumbo.

When Cheeku heard the details, his face became serious. He did not believe in ghosts. “But who is breaking them without being seen?” Cheeku thought to himself and decided to find out.

After thinking for a while Cheeku said, “I am going to spend the night in your farm today and try to find out who breaks the sugarcane.”

“Oh no, I cannot put your life in danger,” said Jumbo who was worried.

Cheeku pleaded to Jumbo and at night he hid behind a tree in the farm.




Around midnight, he heard a faint sound. He could not see anyone. Soon, one of the stalks fell. And after some time another one. Cheeku too started feeling afraid. He was sure there were no spirits and ghosts, but something was there. He tiptoed towards the sound. When he reached close to the spot, he heard the sound of someone chewing something.

Then, he noticed Meeku rat chewing at the base of a sugarcane stalk.

“So you are the sugarcane ghost!” said Cheeku angrily.

When Meeku heard Cheeku’s voice, he tried to run away but Cheeku sprang and caught him. He thundered, “Tell me quickly! Why have you been breaking Jumbo’s sugarcane?”

“I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you. First leave me,” said Meeku, panting.

“Very smart. If I leave you, you will run away,” said Cheeku. Then relaxing his hold slightly, Cheeku said, “Come, tell me now. Why are you doing this?”

“I was living here happily with my family. Then one day Jumbo trampled and broke my house with his huge and heavy feet. I have been breaking his sugarcane to take revenge for that,” said Meeku with a long sigh.

“When did I break your house?” asked Jumbo as he reached the scene on hearing the noise.

“You had come here to take sugarcane to give juice to your guests,” said Meeku. He was frightened and sure that Jumbo would trample on him and break his bones.

But instead of being angry, Jumbo said sorrowfully, “My friend, I must have trampled your house by mistake. I am very sorry and beg your pardon.”

“You called me ‘friend’!” said Meeku, surprised. He could not believe that such a huge elephant was asking for forgiveness and not punishing him.

“Yes, we all are friends. We should live together with love and not take revenge on one another,” said Jumbo. Then after thinking for a while he said, “I will make a hole in the soil with my long and strong teeth. You can make your house in the hole and live happily again.”

“Thank you Jumbo but we have already made a new house,” Meeku said.

“Oh it is nice to hear that!” said Jumbo.

“But what I have done was not right. I should be punished for it,” said Meeku. Seeing Jumbo’s nobility, he felt very sorry for his act.

“Yes, you should get the punishment,” Jumbo closed his eyes for a while and then said, “Your punishment is to taste all the plants in this garden and tell me which one is the sweetest.”

Then Jumbo added, “Cheeku has found the sugarcane ghost. I want to reward him with the juice of the sweetest plant.”


On hearing this, Meeku went in the farm joyfully. After some time his voice was heard, “Dear Jumbo, this plant is the sweetest.”

Jumbo quickly went and got that stalk. He squeezed the juice and offered it to both his friends. All felt very happy.


The God in the Mirror

Cheeku rabbit was very happy today, as he was carrying a plate of puja offerings and in it, there were two Rs. 500 notes as well.

Meeku mouse saw him and asked, “Where are you going with the puja plate and money?”

“My wish has been fulfilled. I have been cured now. The Baba had promised that he would solve everyone’s troubles. For something like this, I would not hesitate to offer the Baba even Rs. 5000. I was saved in the nick of time from dying. Nothing can be greater than that,” explained Cheeku and continued walking towards the temple.

Baddy fox had come to Champakvan in the guise of a new Baba a few days ago.

Baba claimed to solve the problems of people and in return, they would offer him money and sweets. Baba’s ashram was always very crowded. Some people would come to get their wishes fulfilled and some to make an offering after their wishes were granted.

“God did not listen to me. I’ve failed this time too. What should I do now?” cried Jumpy monkey, standing next to Cheeku.

“You need to work harder. When the right time comes, your problem will be solved,” said Baba while hitting Jumpy on his head with the holy broom. Saying this Baba turned to the next person. As Cheeku came out after giving his offerings, Damru donkey, came to him shouting “Jai ho! Jai ho!”

“What happened Damru? You look very happy,” asked Cheeku.

“I saw God! I found God! I saw the miracle of God,” said Damru dancing with joy and moved ahead.

Everyone was surprised to hear this.

The news that Damru saw God spread like fire in the jungle.

“How is that possible? What does God look like?” everyone was curious to know. Everyone headed to Damru’s house in a group. “If Damru can see God, then why can’t we?” some of the animals thought.

“Damru, will you not make us see God too?” asked Teetu butterfly pleadingly.

“Why not! Anyone can see God. Let me show you now,” said Damru as he put a hand in his pocket and gave a mirror to Teetu.

“You can see God in this,” said Damru.

“But this is a mirror. I can only see my own face in this. Where is God in this?” said Teetu.

Cheeku too peeked into the mirror and saw his own face instead of God.


Damru went near Cheeku so his reflection too appeared in the mirror. Damru jumped up and said, “See! See! There are two Gods now.”

“Silly! These are our own faces,” said Cheeku angrily.

“How do you know these are our own faces?” said Damru.

Everybody laughed when they heard Damru say this.


Jumpy shook his head and said, “Damru there is a scientific reason behind seeing our faces in the mirror. It happens due to the reflection of light and we can see our face in the mirror. This is not called seeing God.”

“If you understand all this then why do you go and bow down in front of the Baba?” asked Damru angrily.

Everyone was surprised to know the relationship between devotion to Baba and the reflection in the mirror.

Damru took a deep breath and said, “Friends! There was a time when people did not know about mirrors.”

“Yes,” said Cheeku in agreement.

“They did not understand that light reflection makes us see our face in the mirror. But today we know about this. Science has helped us. But why do we still believe in things like miracles by Baba?”

“For occurrences where there is a reason, we do not think of them as a miracle of God. But for things which we don’t know a scientific reason, we think them to be miracles of God,” said Damru. “Everyone runs to the Babas and temples and they trap you.

We make offerings to them saying that God should fulfil our wish. The work gets done through a scientific reason but people will think the work has been done through the miracle of a Baba. If their work does not get completed, people will think it is not time yet. Baba will get the work done when the time is right.” Listening to Damru, everybody was shocked.

It was the truth. Work or no work, everyone was running to the Baba, but why? Truly, what good can a Baba do, except being a crook.

“We should stop this foolishness,” said Meeku immediately.


“Damru is right. Thank you for making us see the truth about Babas, Damru. From today onwards, nobody will go to the Baba, and follow them blindly,” said Cheeku, loudly.

All the animals agreed and then returned to their homes.


Blood Donation Camp

Jumbo, the elephant walked out merrily one morning. While on his way, Leelu, the kangaroo met him and asked, “What is the matter Dadu? You seem very happy. Where are you going?”

“I am going to the grounds for the camp,” told Jumbo.

“Which camp?”

“Blood donation camp,” said Jumbo, as he walked away.

“Blood donation camp!” Leelu was excited. “I will go and see for myself whether Jumbo Dadu is really donating blood or not?” Leelu skipped and hopped towards the grounds. Damru, the donkey saw her on the way and asked, “Leelu, where are you going early in the morning?”

“I am going to the blood donation camp. You can come along if you want.” As soon as he heard this, Damru joined Leelu.

When Jumpy, the monkey saw them, he inquired, “Where are both of you going this morning?”

“We are going to the blood donation camp.” Damru shared. Jumpy laughed and asked, “Are you going to take blood or give it?” Damru’s face fell.

Jumpy spread the news to his friends. Some laughed, while others made fun. When Blacky, the bear heard it, he became serious and said in anger, “When this small lanky Damru can donate blood, why can’t we?”

“Blacky is right.” Geetu, the rhinoceros said. “We should go there too,” said Geetu and both of them walked to the camp. There was a big crowd outside. All the animals, whether small, fat, thin or lean were standing in a queue.

Leelu and Damru soon got a chance to enter. Blacky and Geetu were upset about seeing them go in.

“Big animals like us are standing out, while that tiny Damru is inside.” The two charged in elbowing aside others in the queue. Inside they saw Damru and Leelu talking to Mili, a member of the camp.

“Can we donate blood too?” asked Damru.

“Yes, why not! If all tests are clear you can easily donate blood. By giving blood you maintain good health. You will also come to know how healthy your body is,” Mili explained.

“There is no problem in donating blood?” questioned a scared Damru.

“There is no need to worry if your body is healthy. Besides we take blood from a healthy person only. Blood is not taken from a weak body. We take only one unit of blood which is produced again in two days. There is no discomfort to the donor,” Mili said with a smile.

“Can the donated blood be given to anyone?” Damru inquired.

“Yes! Only to them whose blood group matches the donor,” Mili replied. “Blood group?” he asked.

“Yes. Blood also has groups. They are of four types.” Mili explained.

“I think I have heard about them. Perhaps there are four groups. ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘AB’ and ‘O”, “Damru said thoughtfully.

Mili smiled and glanced at the place where the blood tests were being conducted. A few people were waiting there. She looked at her watch and said, “Come I will show you. You are right. There are four types of groups-A’, ‘B’, AB’ and ‘O’. ‘AB’ is the only blood group which accepts blood from any group, but can give blood only to someone with “AB”. Therefore, it is called the universal acceptor.

“Like our Jumbo Dada who eats everyone’s lunch, but does not give anyone,” Leelu said and all three laughed.

Mili continued, “O’blood group is just the opposite of AB’. It can give blood to anyone, but cannot accept blood from any group. A patient with ‘O’blood group needs blood from ‘O’only.”

“Then this blood group must be very useful. It can help anyone.” They said.

“Yes! That is why it is called the ‘Universal Donor’. No special condition is required for other groups. ‘A’ blood group can take blood from ‘O’or ‘A’ and give to ‘A’ and AB”. Similarly ‘B’ blood group can take from ‘B’ or ‘O’ blood group and be given to ‘B’ or ‘AB’. Therefore the blood group is checked first. Once the blood is collected, it is stored safely and can be used anytime. Now I am taking your blood sample for the test. Do not be afraid,” said Mili and brought the needle near Damru’s finger.

As soon as she did this Blacky, immediately rushed and said, “I will donate blood first, then this tiny one.”

“Okay brother you can get it done first,” said Damru as he stepped aside.

Mili took Blacky’s blood sample. It was sent for testing

First Kanny, the tortoise put the blood sample in a liquid. Within minutes the blood went down, formed a ball and rose up.blood-donation-camp

She said, “If this comes up in the form of a ball, then the hemoglobin is alright, and if it stays at the bottom then it is less.”

Then she performed three more tests, and then said, “Everything is fine. Get your Blood Pressure checked”.

“Why do I have to check that? It must be alright too. Don’t you see how healthy and strong I am?” murmured Blacky. Then he got his BP checked.

“Your blood pressure is very high therefore you cannot donate blood. Only those who have normal blood pressure can donate blood. It should be 120-90,” Sikku, the fox, a worker at the camp explained to Blacky.

Blacky was staring at her in astonishment. He could not believe that someone as healthy and strong as he could not donate blood. He went and sat in a corner crestfallen. By now Damru’s blood sample was taken and the tests were conducted.blood-donation-camp

“Everything is normal,” informed Mili and asked for the BP checkup.

Sikku checked and said, “Your blood pressure is normal 120-90. You can donate blood.”

“What if the pressure was low?” Damru asked.

“It would be an issue, as pressure too high or low is not good,” Sikku explained.

“Then there is no problem if I donate blood.”

“No! No! There is no problem. You are absolutely healthy. Go ahead,” said Sikku.

Damru went eagerly towards the bed. Blacky was watching all this with a downcast face.

“Blacky why are you sad? Damru is absolutely fit though he is thin. If you are fat doesn’t mean you are healthy,”  said Mili.

Geetu saw Blacky’s fallen face and said, “Forget it! Instead of growing fat, we should look after our health. We should become healthy and strong like Damru. Look he is donating blood. We came here for the sake of our pride, but he had come to help the needy. We should also think similarly.”

Blacky looked at Damru. He went up to Damru and said, “Friend you are doing a very noble thing. We should all come forward to do this without fear. Please forgive me. I tried to trouble you for no rhyme or reason.”blood-donation-camp

Blacky said this and went out of the camp. Damru heaved a sigh of relief. He was happy for doing a good deed, as well as for bringing about a change in Blacky’s thinking.

Colourful Confusion

It was a sunny day Meeku mouse stepped out of his house with his eye-catching colourful umbrella.

“Wow! Meeku, your umbrella is beautiful! Where did you get it from?” asked Blacky bear, looking at Meeku’s umbrella.

“I bought it in the city,” said Meeku proudly.

“Meeku, you should have bought one for me too! You know I love umbrellas,” said Jumpy monkey from the tree.

“I would have surely bought one for you, but the shop had only one in this variety,” replied Meeku.

“That’s okay, Meeku. The next time when you go to the city, please get me an umbrella just like this one,” requested Jumpy.

“Certainly! Next time I go to the city, I will definitely get you one,” reassured Meeku.

That day on, whenever Jumpy saw Meeku, he always asked about the umbrella.

“Did you go to the city?” asked Jumpy.

“Jumpy, this is the fifth time in four days that you are asking me this question! I have not had an opportunity to go to the city yet. If I had gone, wouldn’t I have got you the umbrella?” said Meeku with irritation.


Jumpy was offended. “Meeku, do you think that I can’t get one myself? I don’t need your help anymore!” said Jumpy angrily and walked away.

Jumpy was not seen in the jungle for the next two days.

On the third day, Blacky spotted Jumpy leaving his house.

“Jumpy! Where were the last two days? Do you know what’s been going on in the jungle?” asked Blacky.

“What happened?” asked Jumpy.

“Meeku’s umbrella has been missing since the last three days; looks like someone has stolen it,” said Blacky.

“Oh no! Who could it have been?” wondered Jumpy.

“Now tell me, where were you the last couple of days?” asked Blacky.

“I had gone to the city,” replied Jumpy.

“The city? Then you must have surely bought the umbrella! Do show it to me!” said Blacky.

“Surely, Blacky, but at I have some urgent work now. I will show it to you later,” said Jumpy hurriedly.

“Okay. I will come back later then,” said Blacky.

That afternoon, it was quite hot, so Jumpy went out carrying his umbrella. He met Jumbo, Blacky and Meeku along the way.

“Hi Jumpy! That’s a nice umbrella; it’s not as colourful as Meeku’s though. I thought you wanted one just like that,” said Jumbo elephant.

“I know, but the shopkeeper didn’t have one. He only had this black umbrella, so I thought since I had gone all the way to buy one, I might as well buy this,” explained Jumpy.

As they were talking, Titu butterfly flew over them carrying a bucket full of water.

“Careful, Titu! The water may spill over my umbrella!” said Jumpy nervously.

“But Jumpy, it’s an umbrella and it is supposed to be waterproof!” said Jumbo.

That’s when Jumpy realised he had blurted out.

“Yes, of course, but mine’s special and it’s new. I don’t want to wear it out so soon. Anyway, I have to go home now,” said Jumpy hurriedly.

Jumbo felt that Jumpy was behaving oddly. And as Jumpy turned to leave, Jumbo spotted some black paint on his tail. Jumbo realised what was going on. He got some water from Titu and sprayed it on Jumpy’s umbrella. To everyone’s surprise, the black colour was washed away, revealing a colourful umbrella. Jumpy was embarrassed.

“Hey! That looks exactly like my rainbow umbrella!” said a shocked Meeku.

“Yes, but it is not yours! I bought it from the city today,” said Jumpy holding on to his umbrella tight.

“Then why did you paint it black?” asked Meeku suspiciously.

“That is because as soon as I got to know that Meeku’s umbrella was missing, I thought everyone would assume that I was the one who stole it as my umbrella looks exactly like his,” explained Jumpy.

“In that case, prove that this is your umbrella. You must have the receipt as proof of purchase,” said Meeku.

“Actually, I was so excited that finally I was able to buy the umbrella that I forgot to collect the receipt,” replied Jumpy.

Meeku was not convinced. “You don’t have the receipt and you changed the colour of the umbrella—these clearly prove that you have stolen my umbrella!” shouted Meeku.

“No, I did not. Believe me!” said Jumpy.

As they were arguing, they heard someone call out to Meeku: “There you are, Meeku! I have been looking everywhere for you!”

Meeku turned around to see Cheeku rabbit walking towards them holding Meeku’s umbrella.

“Cheeku, is that my umbrella? Where did you find it?” asked Meeku surprised.

“Yes, it is. When I came over to your house two days ago, it was very hot, so you lent me your umbrella to carry back home with me. After that I had to go out of town urgently, so I couldn’t return it to you earlier,” replied Cheeku.

“Oh yes! I had completely forgotten about this,” said Meeku. He then apologised to Jumpy. “Please forgive me. I didn’t trust you and assumed you had stolen my umbrella,” said Meeku ashamed.

“That’s okay, Meeku. I now realise how my behaviour could have raised suspicion. I shouldn’t have tried to hide the truth,” said Jumpy.

“Both of you have learnt your lesson. Now, I have learnt mine—never step out without an umbrella in this heat!” said Jumbo, sweating profusely. Everyone laughed and gathered under the two colourful umbrellas.