The Toilet Fund

Champakvan jungle was celebrating World Toilet Day on November 19. All the animals had gathered at King Shersingh’s palace.

“Today, we celebrate World Toilet Day to understand hygiene and sanitation. I wish everyone in our jungle constructs a toilet in their home so that no one has to do potty in the open,” announced their king.

“Pardon me, King Shersingh! But it is more fun emptying bowels in the open, rather than using a toilet,” said Jumbo elephant.

“We have to get over this thinking, Jumbo,” said Jumpy monkey. Defecating or doing potty in the open is not fun anymore. Our poop is the main source of water pollution. The problem becomes even more serious during monsoons, when all the poop gets washed down to the river, contaminating the water with harmful bacteria. This polluted water causes infectious diseases like cholera, diarrhoea, vomiting,” explained Jumpy.

“Jumpy is right! That’s why I want all of you to have at least one toilet in your home. We have created a fund to help you construct the toilets,” said King Shersingh. “From tomorrow, my cashier, Bandu jackal will give 25,000 each
to construct a toilet,” he added.

Bandu had been newly appointed as the cashier of Champakvan. When the king gave him the responsibility of distributing the funds for toilets, he was very pleased!

The next day, all the animals came over to collect the funds. Jumpy was first in the queue.

Bandu gave the money to Jumpy, who signed and counted the money. “Bandu, this is only 20,000 instead of 25,000 that King Shersing had announced,” said a surprised Jumpy.

“Oh yes, silly me! I forgot to tell you all that last, night King Shersingh called me and revised the toilet fund to 20,000. The remaining 5,000 will now be used to build public toilets in Champakvan, that can be used by animals and tourists. This way, our jungle will become cleaner,” said Bandu.

“This is a good thought, but we would like King Shersingh to say this to us. Please call him,” said Jumpy.

“I would have called him but he has gone to town for some urgent work. You can clarify with him once he’s back,” replied Bandu.

“No problem. Give us the money,” said everyone.

Jumpy stood quietly in one corner. He felt something was not right. At night, he went to Bandu’s house. There was a new motorbike parked at his gate. He tiptoed to the backyard and sneaked in through the window. He was taken aback at the sight. Bandu was sitting on his bed, counting money and keeping it in a bag.

“It is fun and easy to fool all the animals,” he laughed loudly and said.

Jumpy was angry and thought, “Bandu cheated us. I must inform King Shersingh about what he did. He should be back in the palace by now.”

As he passed from the backyard, he saw Bandu’s motorbike again. He thought of an idea. He pumped out all the petrol from the bike and left for the palace. He found the king’s car on his way and stopped the car and narrated everything to King Shersingh in one breath.

“I had told him to give 25,000 to everyone. How dare he to do that. Let’s go to his house,” fumed Shersingh.

When they reached Bandu’s home, it was locked from outside. “It appears that he has run away with all the money,” said King Shersingh. “He wouldn’t have reached too far as I drained all the petrol from his bike,” said Jumpy,

They went on the road to search for him, and at some distance, they found Bandu’s bike parked near the roadside, but Bandu was not there.

They knew he couldn’t have gone far. Jumpy looked behind the bushes and saw him crouching there. “I found him,” shouted Jumpy, snatching the bag of money from Bandu’s hands. King Shersingh’s bodyguards caught him.

“I trusted you and gave you this job and you cheated everyone,” King Shersingh roared walking towards Bandu.

“Please forgive me, King Shersingh,” Bandu begged.

“This is the rest of the money, sir,” Jumpy said handing over the bag of money to King Shersingh.

“Please give it to Minister Bholu and this is your reward for finding Bandu,” said King Shersingh handing over some money to Jumpy.

“No sir, I can’t take this money. We need to use this money to construct public toilets. That will be the best reward for me,” said Jumpy.

“I am very impressed, Jumpy! Champakvan needs citizens like you,” said King Shersingh and patted his back in appreciation.

True Friendship!

Jumpy monkey and Gingy squirrel were good friends. They stood by each other, no matter what.

But Kaalu jackal envied their friendship. He spread false rumours about them among other animals. However, his actions made no difference to Jumpy
and Gingy.

The animals of the jungle were well aware of Kaalu’s wicked and mischievous nature.

One day, Kaalu was standing outside Blacky bear’s sweets shop. Just then, Meeku mouse arrived, riding his favourite bicycle.

While parking, Meeku forgot to lock the bicycle as he was eager to purchase his favourite carrot halwa from Blacky’s shop. Blacky’s sold the best carrot halwa in the whole jungle. Many customers would go to his shop to buy it.

Kaalu saw Meeku carelessly park his bicycle. This was the chance he had been looking for. He saw the crowd at Blacky’s shop and knew Meeku would take time, which would be enough for him to steal the bicycle and flee.

But as Kaalu was about to ride away, Meeku turned around and saw him
steal it.

Meeku chased Kaalu, shouting, “Thief! Thief! My bicycle! Thief! Thief!” The other animals heard Meeku shout but because Kaalu rode fast, no one could get hold of him. Meeku, too, couldn’t catch him.

The animals surrounded Meeku. A few of them asked, “What was stolen? Did you get to see who was the thief?”

Meeku narrated the entire incident while sobbing bitterly. Jeetu cheetah, Jumbo elephant, Lambu giraffe, Sheru dog, Rattu rat and other animals assured Meeku that they will catch the thief.

Meeku had not seen the thief clearly so they didn’t know where to start. They
just followed the road and looked for the bicycle.

After riding for a while, Kaalu was tired. He saw a children’s park close by and thought he could take some rest. Suddenly, he realised that Jumpy and Gingy stayed near the park.

He saw Jumpy standing in one corner waiting for someone. He grabbed this opportunity and went to Jumpy with the stolen bicycle.

“Jumpy, I need to go to the toilet urgently. Can you please take care of my bike?” asked Kaalu and before Jumpy could respond, he handed the bike to him and went across the line of houses and hid behind the bushes.

Meanwhile, the crowd of animals chasing the thief reached the park. Seeing his bicycle standing there, Meeku screamed, “Here is my bicycle and this is the thief!”

Jumpy was shocked. The crowd of animals surrounded him. The sky above the park started to fill with noisy uproars. No one was paying attention to what he was trying to say. Everyone thought he was the thief! Hearing so much noise
in the park, Gingy came down from her treehouse.

Jeetu had grabbed Jumpy’s collar. He was about to hit him when Gingy cut through the crowd and reached the scene. Howling in a sharp voice, she said, “Stop! If anyone tries to touch my friend, there will be consequences.”

Hearing the sharp voice of Gingy and seeing her rage, Jeetu put his hand down and grunted, “Your friend, Jumpy, has stolen this bicycle. He deserves a beating and then we will hand him over to the police.”

“Jeetu uncle, you know Jumpy quite well. Do you think he can be the thief? I can say with certainty that Jumpy can’t be the thief. I believe in him. At least, give him a chance to explain,” said Gingy.

“She is right. We should give Jumpy a chance to explain. He has been trying to talk but we weren’t listening,” said Jumbo.

Jeetu released Jumpy from his grip and let him speak.

Jumpy narrated what had happened and pointed towards the bushes indicating that Kaalu had walked in that direction.

Kaalu was watching closely from behind the bushes. When Jumpy pointed in his direction, he tried to sneak without being caught. But the moment he moved, Jeetu grabbed him and dragged him out. Kaalu didn’t realise that Jeetu was quick.

Scared of the angry animals, Kaalu admitted to his mistake and apologised
to Meeku who immediately called the police.

Jumpy thanked Gingy for helping him.

“Jumpy, there is no need to thank me. I’m your friend and I will always help you in times of need,” cheered Gingy.

Filled with joy, Jumpy hugged Gingy and they went together for a ride around the forest

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.

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!

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

Toto’s Nest!

One day Toto, a tailor bird, thought of building a nest for herself. She flew around and found a garden on the banks of a river in Champakvan forest. She was delighted to see a variety of plants and trees and animals and birds in the garden.

Toto made introductions with the residents of the garden and thought, “This place is beautiful. I should make my nest here.”

Toto chose a large tree and started to build her nest on it.

She finished stitching half of her nest in no time.

Kallu crow who also stayed on the same tree saw her nest and thought, “Her nest is so artistic and mine looks shabby in front of hers. Anyone who sees our nests, will only praise hers.”

Kallu flew over to her and started to caw mockingly.

“Why are you cawing?” asked Toto.

“Why wouldn’t I?” replied Kallu. “You are working so hard to build a nest on a tree that is not safe at all!” he continued.

“Why do you say that the tree is not safe?” asked Toto.

“This tree is home to many predatory birds who keep coming here,” said Kallu.

“But your nest is here too?” she pointed.

“I too, am looking for a new tree to build my nest,” replied Kallu. This was enough to convince Toto and she left her unfinished nest and started looking for a new tree to build a nest on.

She looked around and saw a mango tree and started to weave a nest on it. While she was still stitching her nest Kutty cuckoo visited her and said mockingly, “O Toto, you are being so stupid!”

“Why do you say that?” asked Toto. 

“This river floods whenever it rains heavily and the nest will get washed away into the river when that happens,” Kutty explained. Toto looked at the rapid river flowing near the tree.

“Look, even I haven’t made my nest. I just hide among the leaves of the mango tree and spend my days here,” said Kutty.

The fear of getting carried away by the flood waters, Toto gave up her unfinished nest and started looking again for a new place.

She saw a cluster of shrubs nearby and decided to build her nest on a nice shrub. As she was weaving her nest, Jumpy monkey came and started looking at her nest in amazement. “What are you looking at?” asked Toto.

“I am observing how hard you are working to build your nest by bringing twigs over one by one and then weaving them into your nest. But, did you check whether the timing was auspicious to do so? You started building your nest at a time which is not lucky,” said Jumpy. His words scared Toto.

“I am a priest; I can tell you the right time to build your nest and can perform the necessary pujas too,” he offered.

Toto was swayed by Jumpy and she broke her nest in the fear of it being unlucky for her and requested, “Jumpy, please tell me the correct time to build my nest.”

Jumpy took out a thick book from his bag and picked out an auspicious time
for Toto and took his fees and left from there.

When the time was right, Toto performed the required rituals and then started to build her nest.

Cheeku rabbit, who stayed nearby, had been observing Toto since morning. He had seen her destroy her nest at Kallu and Kutty’s insistence. 

It was the third time when Toto had broken her nest in the shrubs after being fooled by Jumpy’s words. Cheeku felt sorry for her.

He went to her and said, “You have been trying to build a nest but you leave it unfinished because of what others say.”

Toto looked at Cheeku with tears in her eyes.

“You look tired. Come to my house for the night and take rest. Then start building your nest tomorrow morning,” offered Cheeku, kindly.

“But then the auspicious time for building the nest will be gone,” she said worriedly.

“All this is nonsense! Jumpy fooled you but that’s his business,” Cheeku explained.

Toto was exhausted after repeated attempts at building her nest and had no energy to build a new one. She was extremely hungry too.

She thanked Cheeku for his offer and went with him to his house. Cheeku served her food that she ate to her heart’s content.

“You are sincere and hard working. And you are skilled at making nests.” 

“But…?” asked the Toto looking at Cheeku questioningly.

“You don’t believe in yourself. Anyone who doesn’t have faith in themselves gets easily swayed by other people’s opinions. Not having self-belief makes us think that we cannot finish anything successfully. A person who believes in herself can do things even before starting a project,” explained Cheeku. 

He further added, “You listened to Kallu when he scared you of predatory birds, but the truth was that he was jealous of your beautiful nest. When Kutty told you that your nest will be destroyed by the floods, she said so because she too was jealous of your nest-building skills as she has never built a nest in her life. Later you got carried away by Jumpy’s words of superstition. If you had kept faith in yourself, your nest would have been ready by now and you wouldn’t have to
go through so much trouble.”

Toto understood what Cheeku was saying.

Next morning, she woke up early and built her nest with self-confidence. Her nest was ready in a hours and she hosted a party. 

She did not forget to invite Kallu crow, Kutty cuckoo and Jumpy monkey for the feast. After all, they too had made her realise her shortcomings!

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.

A Cyclone In Forest!

I need to speak to the King right away! I must meet him now,” said Cheeku rabbit to the King’s guards.

King Shersingh heard and called him in. “Cheeku, what’s the matter?” he asked.

“A cyclonic storm is gaining speed and will soon reach Champakvan. We should take precautions or we’ll end up in big trouble. Many homes will be destroyed,” said Cheeku in a hurry.

King Shersingh was worried. This was the first time a storm was approaching Champakvan forest.

“What will happen when this storm hits Champakvan?” asked King Shersingh as he wanted to know what they should be prepared for.

“The cyclonic storms are moving towards us and will hit Champakvan in 2 days. It will bring heavy rain and strong winds that will destroy trees, homes and may cause floods,” informed Cheeku.

“That’d be terrible! We should alert all the animals right away and build a shelter for them to stay till the storm calms down,” said King Shersingh.

And soon, the news about the approaching cyclonic storm spread through Champakvan. All the animals stocked up on food in their homes.

“What can we do, Cheeku?” asked Blacky bear.

“We have to stay alert. It’ll start raining before the storm arrives. There’ll be strong winds. We have to ensure all the animals have moved to the safe shelter before that. We must keep our mobiles fully charged. We have to move the animals who live in weak houses.”

“Why so, Cheeku?” asked Meeku mouse.

“Because weak houses might break due to strong winds. Not just that, electric poles can also fall during thunderstorms and cause more damage so the electricity supply to the entire forest will be cut until the storm passes. There may be floods, so we have to stay on higher grounds,” explained Cheeku.

“My house is in a bad shape,” said Jumbo elephant. “Where can I stay when it rains?”

“We have built shelters for the animals on the hill. Food has also been arranged. There’s enough space for everyone to move there,” said Cheeku.

“My house is on the mango tree. And the mango tree is very strong. Be it cyclone or thunderstorm, I’ll stay right there!” said Jumpy monkey with a grin.

“Jumpy, your house is closer to the sea. It’s important to keep ourselves safe. Come to the shelter with us,” said Cheeku.

But Jumpy did not listen.

Two days later, all the animals took shelter on the hill except Jumpy.

Soon, strong winds began to blow and it rained heavily. The animals were happy that they were safe. At the end of the day, the winds grew stronger and stronger.

Meanwhile, Jumpy was still in his house. When the storm hit the mango tree, he began shaking terribly.

“Oh, dear!” Jumpy trembled in fear.

He regretted his decision. He, too, should have gone to the shelter along with the other animals.

The strong winds uprooted the mango tree. Jumpy’s house collapsed. He managed to escape but there was a flood.

He took shelter on a strong tree as he was injured and couldn’t travel too far.

After some time, the storm was calm.

“Looks like the storm has passed. We can go back now. But we need to be careful. A lot of trees may have fallen on the way,” said Cheeku to all the animals.

“Be careful!” said King Shersingh. “If anyone needs help, my guards are around to help you.”

The animals returned home.

“Who knows what condition Jumpy is in?” said Cheeku. He was worried about him and set out in search of him.

“Cheeku, look! The mango tree has fallen down! The storm must have uprooted it,” said Roma sparrow.

“Jumpy’s house was on this tree! I hope he’s fine,” said Cheeku, anxiously.

All the animals started looking for him. Jumpy was lying on the branch of another tree. His head was bleeding. They rushed him to the hospital.

He was weak as he had not eaten anything the entire day and had hurt his head. The doctors gave him medicines and saved him.

“I’m sorry, Cheeku,” Jumpy apologised as soon as he woke up. “If I had listened to you, I wouldn’t have had to suffer like this.”

“Come on! You are fine now!” said Cheeku, patting his head.

Jumpy smiled and hugged him.

A Lesson Learnt

Cheeku rabbit, Meeku mouse and Jumpy monkey were having lunch in their classroom. 

“Wow Meeku! The kachoris you bought for lunch are tasty!” said Cheeku, munching on the piece.

“My mother cooked these. She packed enough for all of us,’’ said Meeku, delighted.

Just then Baddy fox passed that way. “What’s that aroma?” sniffed Baddy. He glanced in the direction of the trio. They quickly tried to hide their lunch boxes. But it was too late.

“Hey Meeku, don’t hide your lunch box. Kachoris are my favourite!” said the sly fox, quickly swooping into Meeku’s lunch box.

“Baddy! You cannot snatch someone’s lunch without asking first. It’s not good manners!” said Jumpy.

“Snatch?” mocked a shameless Baddy. “I would never use my strength against my dear friends.” 

He dipped his paw into Meeku’s lunch box again for another helping of kachoris.

The three friends felt helpless and angry.

Baddy was a greedy fox. Often, he helped himself to the lunch of others. Yet, no one had the courage to utter a word to him. 

Many of the students had complained about his behaviour to the school authorities. But he never tried to mend his ways. He was turning more troublesome by the day.

“Baddy’s behaviour is terrible. I find it rude!’’ said Cheeku. 

“Yes, we have had enough of his bad behaviour,” said Jumpy, agreeing with Cheeku.“But, what can we do?”

“Let’s teach him a lesson,” said Jumpy. 

He quickly gathered his friends around and whispered a plan.

The next day, they sat in class with their lunch boxes spread out in front. They waited for Baddy to walk into the trap. 

As soon as they spotted Baddy approaching, Cheeku began munching a paratha. “Jumpy, this paratha is very tasty!” said Cheeku, between mouthfuls. 

“Yes, this is the most delicious paratha I have tasted by far!” said Meeku as he licked his lips.

Hearing this, Baddy’s mouth started to water. He grabbed a paratha from Jumpy’s lunchbox. “Let me taste these delicious parathas too!” he said. 

He gobbled up the first paratha and then reached for the second. That’s when things went crazy. 

“Oh! It’s spicy! My tongue is on fire! Give me some water! Please!” begged Baddy. He had tears in his eyes. 

“Here, Baddy,’’ replied Meeku, handing him a water bottle.

Baddy gulped the water. Little did he know that it was laced with chilli powder.

Now Baddy was huffing and puffing. 

“What did you offer me?” said Baddy, panting heavily. “Someone please give me some water. My mouth is on fire!’’ 

“No, Baddy!” replied Cheeku, “You snatch our food without the least concern. Now, enjoy the fruits of your actions.’’ 

The rest of the class gathered around Cheeku and nodded in agreement.

“I am sorry! I promise to never take anyone’s lunch again!” cried Baddy.

Cheeku gave Baddy a box of sweets and a glass of chilled water. “You must stop snatching food from others, Baddy,” said Cheeku.

Baddy felt relieved after drinking the water and eating the sweets. He then apologised to his classmates. 

He vowed never to take what did not belong to him.

From that day on, the three friends never had to worry about Baddy stealing their lunch again.

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.

Environment Day

Baddy fox wanted to cut the trees of Champakvan. He did not know why, but he disliked the animals of Champakvan and was always thinking of new ways to harm them.

“If there are no trees, then the forest will be destroyed by itself. The animals will suffer from hunger, heat and shelter. And that’s what I want,” Baddy told this to the woodcutter with a cunning smile.

“Yes, and I will get to sell the tree in the city for a profit,” said the woodcutter picking up his axe.

“We must work cleverly and no one should know our plan,” said Baddy.

“No one will know. Otherwise, it will be tough to cut the trees,” the woodcutter agreed.

“Tomorrow, I shall go to Champakvan and figure out which day you can begin cutting the trees,” said Baddy.

“Let me know when you think the time’s right and I will come with my companions and axes and saws,” replied the woodcutter and bid goodbye to Baddy.

Next day, Baddy went to Champakvan. The forest was beautifully decorated. Colourful ribbons were tied to the trees. Fairly lights hung from every branch. The animals had decorated their homes. Baddy was curious and wanted to know why the forest had been decorated.

Just then he saw Blacky bear handing balloons to Jumpy monkey on the tree.

“Blacky, what is happening in the forest? Why is it decorated so beautifully? Is there a wedding happening?”

“Don’t you know?” asked Blacky looking at Baddy in surprise.

“No. That is why I am asking you,” said Baddy, rolling his eyes.

“June 5 is Environment Day. We are making these preparations to celebrate that great festival in Champakvan,” replied Blacky.

“Oh! So these decorations are for Environment Day,” whispered Baddy to himself.

“Did you say something?” asked Blacky.

“No, no! I didn’t,” muttered Baddy and walked away.

At the Brave Hardy Crossing, the main crossing of Champakvan, named after one of its scientists, many animals had gathered. They were discussing something important amongst themselves. Baddy wanted to know what they were talking about, so he sat down quietly at one side to listen to them.

“We should ask King Shersingh to be our chief guest,” said Dola deer.

“But he is from our forest. How can someone from our forest be the chief guest? We should look for someone else,” said Cheeku rabbit.

“You are right, Cheeku. If we get someone from Sundarvan, it will be better. When they see the environment celebrations, they will go back and praise our forest in their forest,” said Greta giraffe.

“Whom can we invite?” asked Cheeku and scratched his head.

“How about Baddy fox?” suggested Dola.

“No! No! Baddy always wants to harm Champakvan. How can we make him our chief guest?” Cheeku objected.

“Maybe Dola is right. Baddy may be planning against Champakvan, but we never think of harming him. Perhaps, when he is invited as our chief guest, he may improve and become a good person,” said Greta.

All agreed with Greta’s suggestion. Suddenly, Cheeku caught sight of Baddy, sitting behind a bush, quietly.

“Look! Baddy is here. Let us go and invite him for the function,” he said excitedly.

All animals went to Baddy and invited him to be their chief guest.

Baddy had been feeling uneasy listening to the conversation, and now he was more troubled. He could not even think how of a fitting reply.

“I…I…,” he stammered and then said, ‘’I will surely come.”

On his way back, Baddy started wondering about what had happened. “Here, I was thinking of harming Champakvan and these animals are inviting me to be their chief guest.”

On the day of the function, Baddy came to Champakvan forest. He was given a very warm welcome and presented a garland of fresh flowers and made to sit on the sofa comfortably.

The animals of the forest put up skits telling everyone the importance of trees and why more trees should be planted. They said in chorus, “Fewer trees means heating of the atmosphere, less rain and homes will disappear.”

Baddy became thoughtful and realised he would have done something horrible if he had cut the trees. He decided that he would never again harm the trees of any forest.

He would also stop the woodcutters from cutting trees.

The function came to an end and the animals requested Chief Guest Baddy to address the gathering with a few words.

“I am very happy to be here and I promise that from today, I will not harm the trees in any way. I promise to plant 100 trees in Champakvan and look after them.”

Hearing him, all the animals were very happy. Baddy had truly been transformed.

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.

3-Step Magic Plan

Champakvan was abuzz with excitement. All the animals had been working hard for months preparing for the Champakvan Annual Vegetable Competition. Finally, the day arrived when their farm produce would be judged and the “Best Vegetable” award would be announced.

As always, King Shersingh lion and Prime Minister Blacky bear were the judges. The participants eagerly awaited their turn to present the ‘vegetable of their labour.

There were giant pumpkins, enormous cabbages, huge carrots and tall drumsticks. Cheeku rabbit, Damru donkey, Jumbo elephant and Baddy fox stood proudly next to their exhibits. Next to these eye-catching displays was Jumpy monkey’s small stall with a basket of regular-sized tomatoes. The other animals could not control their amusement at seeing Jumpy’s poor display. They were sure that Jumpy would not even qualify for the competition.

“I am sure to win this competition. Look at the size of my pumpkin,” said Jumbo proudly.

“Don’t be so confident. My carrots shine like gold,” said Cheeku.

“Yes. But we all know who isn’t winning the competition this time,” said Baddy, looking at Jumpy.

“Jumpy, don’t forget to get your participation certificate before you leave,” said Damru.

Everybody laughed. Jumpy did not respond to the comments. He continued to quietly wait for his turn to be judged.

Meanwhile, Shersingh and Blacky visited each participant’s stall. They tasted each vegetable and asked questions about how the vegetables were grown and made notes about them.

“Look at the size of that pumpkin!” exclaimed Shersingh, surveying Jumbo’s display.

“So, how did you grow it, Jumbo?” asked Blacky.

“The secret to its growth is the use of pesticide,” said Jumbo. “I sprayed a good amount of it to kill all the worms. Then I removed chunks of soil to build a solid cement platform on which I placed the pumpkin so that it could continue to grow on a clean base.”

Next, it was Cheeku’s turn. “My gigantic, shiny carrots are the result of a special chemical spray that prevented the caterpillars and earthworms from getting anywhere near my vegetable patch. I also removed all the other plants that grew around the carrot patch, to make a place for those plants to grow without any competition.”

Baddy and Damru too explained how they used special chemicals to make their vegetables grow.

Baddy even diverted water from the stream to his garden to make sure his vegetables were always watered.

Finally, it was Jumpy’s turn. The judges tasted the tomatoes and were surprised at how tasty they were.


“Wow! Your tomatoes are so tasty!” said Shersingh. “What chemicals did you use?”

“Thank you, Sir. I did not use any chemicals at all,” said Jumpy.

Everyone was surprised. “Then, how did you manage to grow such tasty tomatoes?” asked Blacky.

“I began by tending to the soil using what I call the ‘three-step magic plan’. First, I dug a shallow pit, planted the tomato seeds and then watered them. This shallow pit held the water within it,

so the seeds had adequate water and there was no wastage of soil because the water wouldn’t run. Then, I planted lots of other plants around the tomato patchplants that would not compete with the tomato plants for the same nutrition. These plants made sure that the soil was not blown away by the wind,” said Jumpy.

Jumpy continued, “And lastly, I added bio-degradable waste, like vegetable peels and fruit pulp, to the soil to act as organic fertiliser and improve the quality of the soil. This is what made the tomatoes tasty.”

Shersingh and Blacky were impressed by Jumpy’s ‘three-step magic plan’ that was simple yet effective.

After a round of discussion with Blacky, Shersingh announced the winner of the Annual Vegetable Competition.

“I am proud to declare Jumpy as the winner of this year’s contest!” announced Shersingh. “Moreover, I also request all animals to hereby follow his ‘three-step magic plan’ while growing their fruits and vegetables.”

Jumpy was ecstatic. The other animals were puzzled.

“But his tomatoes were so small and dulllooking!” whined Jumbo.

“And what’s so special about his so-called magic plan?” asked Baddy.

“His tomatoes may be small but they were the tastiest of all the vegetables I tasted today. They were fresh and free of any chemicals, too. His magic plan is not about magic but about being environmentally conscious while growing plants. His method enriched the soil, did not waste water and did not kill the earthworms,” said Shersingh.

“Of what use are earthworms? They are just pests,” said Cheeku.

On the contrary, earthworms are extremely useful for your plants. They loosen up the soil, which helps increase the amount of air and water that gets into it. They also break down organic waste, like leaves and vegetable peels, into a form that the plants can use,” explained Shersingh.

The animals now realised why Jumpy was declared the winner. They went up to him to congratulate him.

“Congratulations, Jumpy! Your win was well deserved,” said Cheeku.

“Yes, it was. And we have also learnt how we can also grow vegetables and fruits without causing harm to the environment and wasting resources,” said Jumbo.

“We want to apologise for making fun of you earlier,” said Baddy.

“Thank you, friends. I am happy that you have learnt that it is not the size and appearance of the vegetable but how it is grown that matters,” said Jumpy.


“Could you help us with our farming? Our vegetables would be much better if we followed your method,” said Damru.

“Of course! I would love to help you all,” said a beaming Jumpy.

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.