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.
“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.