Raju lived in a village with his mother and younger sister, Chanda. His mother worked in the village while Raju and Chanda went to school.
Ten-year-old Raju was wise for his age. He cared for his mother and sister. Being an intelligent student, he excelled in his studies. At home, he helped his mother with housework and Chanda with her studies. Everyone in the village praised him.
One day, Raju’s mother had to go to the nearby town.
“I will be back by tonight. Both of you take care of yourselves,” she told her children. “Raju, have your lunch on time and make sure Chanda eats hers too,” she added.
“Yes mom! Don’t worry, I will take good care of Chanda and myself,” assured Raju.
“I will bring sweets for both of you on my way back,” she promised.
Chanda was delighted to hear this. “Mom, come back as soon as possible,” she said excitedly.
After his mother left, Raju thought of doing something special for her. “Mom works so hard for us. We should also do something to make her feel special,” he said to Chanda.
The cashew tree in front of the house caught his eye. “Mom wanted to collect cashews and roast them. But she’s not got the time to do that. Why don’t we collect some cashews today, break the shells and roast them before she comes back!” he said.
Raju and Chanda went outside and Raju took a stick and started beating the tree so that the cashews would fall off the tree.
Chanda collected them in a basket. It was almost evening by the time the basket was full. They went inside to roast the cashews. Both were excited at the thought of their mother’s reaction. Just as Raju put the pan on the stove to roast the cashews, there was a knock at the door. Chanda ran to open it, thinking mother was back.
To her shock, there stood a lion at the door. The lion roared, “I am starving. Your aroma dragged me here. I shall eat you now!”
“Uncle lion, the fragrance is of the roasted cashews. If you want, you may eat them,” Raju said pointing at the pan.
The greedy lion thought that he would first eat the cashews and then the children later.
He leapt on the hot pan that was on fire and in his greed, put his mouth on it. The lion’s mouth got burnt.
“Help! Help!” he screamed.
The kids ran out of the house and climbed the tree next to the well. The lion barged out, looking for them. Clever Raju got an idea. “Lion uncle, there is water in the well. You may drink the water to cool your mouth,” he said.
As the lion bent over the well to drink water, he saw reflections of both the kids in the well. The angry lion thought they were hiding in the well and jumped inside to eat them but later realised that he was stuck.
The children climbed down the tree. Mother was also back by then. Both the kids narrated the whole story to her. She was happy with Raju’s quick thinking and hugged them both.
The lion who was stuck in the well called out and apologised. “Please help me out of here. I will not harm you or come back to the village ever again!” he pleaded.
Hearing his cry, their mother said, “Let’s get him out and free him.”
The three of them took the lion out with the help of a rope. The mother took out the sweets that she had brought from town and gave him a piece too. The lion ate the sweet and went back to the jungle, never to come back again