It was the first day of the year.  The students were excited to be in the new class. Manoj was one of the students in the class.  He, like all others, had been promoted to the 9th grade.  He was a very intelligent and hardworking student. In the class, he used to sit in the first row and was attentive in all his classes.  His friend Ramesh, though intelligent, was playful and mischievous in class.  He was an average student.

Soon, the class teacher entered the class and the students stood up to greet her.  She was a young lady who looked kindly at the students.  After the introduction was over, the teacher started with the lessons right away.  The first class of the day was Maths.  Maths was Manoj’s favourite subject. Manoj would solve the problems faster than anyone else.  He knew almost all the formulae and knew when to apply them.  The teacher was happy to see such an intelligent boy in class.  She praised Manoj in front of everybody.

Ramesh, however, did not concentrate in class.  He spent most of his time daydreaming.  He formed a group of friends who were like him.  He would play with those friends in the evening when Manoj would be studying.  Soon, his studies were affected.  The teacher noticed that Ramesh was not performing well and pointed it out to him.  But, Ramesh did not listen. 

Soon, the term exams came.  Manoj stood first in almost all the subjects.  The teachers were proud of him.  Ramesh did not perform well.  He failed in many subjects.  The class teacher, who had earlier warned Ramesh was angry at him.  The teacher scolded him in front of the whole class.  Ramesh was sullen and depressed for over a week. 

Manoj tried to help his friend.  He talked to Ramesh.  He offered to sit with him and help him in the difficult topics.  But Ramesh was not interested.  He went back to his playful ways and loitered about with his friends.

His performance fell even worse in the next exam.  Gradually, Ramesh began to feel jealous of Manoj.  He hated to see all the teachers praise him.  All the boys in class looked up to him as a leader.  He felt left out of the class.  Soon, the friendship between Manoj and Ramesh grew cold.  Manoj noticed the change in his friend and tried to sort out the issues.  But Ramesh did not respond.  He was happy with his new set of friends – boys like him who did not study well and played all the time.

Ramesh grew even more jealous of Manoj when he was made the class leader.  All the students clapped when the teacher made the announcement but not Ramesh.  Ramesh felt angry at the teacher and his classmates.  He felt all the more angry and alone when he failed in all the subjects in the next exam.  The teacher and the school principal were disappointed at his performance.

Ramesh came to school the next day with a long face.  All his classmates began to avoid him.  He felt all the more jealous of Manoj when someone praised him.  One day an evil idea came to his mind.  Rahul was a boy who sat next to Manoj.   Rahul’s was from a rich family.   Ramesh decided to put his wicked plan into action.  The next day was Wednesday.  Every Wednesday, the boys had a session on physical education.  They would have to go to the playground to perform some exercises.

The next day, the boys left the class to go to the play ground.  Ramesh, deliberately, waited until the other boys had gone.  He then crept across the classroom to where Rahul was sitting.  Ramesh had planned to take Rahul’s wallet and to hide it in Manoj’s schoolbag.  When Rahul would find his bag missing, he would tell the teacher, a search would be organized and the wallet would be found in Manoj’s bag.  Manoj would be called a thief, humiliated and shunned by everyone.  That was what Ramesh wanted.

 Ramesh crept across the classroom.  He checked to see if anyone was looking.  He opened Rahul’s bag and took out his wallet.  He then went to Manoj’s bag opened it and was about to put it in his bag when Manoj entered the class room.  The sports teacher had asked him to fetch a register from the cupboard.    Manoj was shocked to see what had been done.  He was angry.  Ramesh was shocked that he had been exposed.  He knew that Manoj was the class leader and could haul him up before the school teacher and the principal.  His future would be ruined if the school were to expel him.

Ramesh broke into tears and confessed to everything he had planned.  He begged Manoj to forgive him and not to tell anyone of what he had seen.  Manoj embraced Ramesh.  “I have always thought of you as my friend”, he said, “I forgive you”.  Ramesh felt ashamed of himself.  He put the wallet back in Rahul’s bag.   Manoj made Ramesh sit with him the front bench and helped him in his studies.  Soon, Ramesh’s grades began to improve.  Ramesh came to admire Manoj even more and the two boys became good friends once again.

Children, this story tells us about the damage jealousy can cause to friendship.  We should always love our friends and be happy at their successes.  This story also teaches us to be forgiving when our friends wrong us.

Once upon a time there lived a goat called Sheetal.  Sheetal made her home the forest of Ranjvan.  She lived there with her six children.  She grazed in the sweet grass which grew in the meadows.  In the evenings, she returned home. The little ones were the pride and joy of her life.

The forest was home to many predators.  Among them was Chandru, the wolf.  A wild and wicked creature, the wolf would devour any small animal which came across its path.

Sheetal was also scared of the wolf, particularly since she had her kids.  She had found a small cave at the foot of a hill.  She made a cosy and warm house inside for her family.

Every day, when she left in the morning to graze in the forest, here heart skipped a beat as she thought of her children.  She warned them about the dangerous wolf.  The little ones were too young to understand the full meaning of what she said. But they sensed that there was danger outside.  “Never open the door, children, to anyone when I am away”, she told them.   “Yes, Mamma”, the young ones nodded.  They looked so sweet and innocent.  The mother sadly bid good bye and went away into the forest.

A couple of hours later, there was loud knock on the door.  The youngest of the lot went to open the door.  But the eldest kid, Sonu sensed something amiss.  She went and pulled the young kid back. “That is not our mamma”, she said,” she would not be home so soon”.  After a short silence, there was a knock in the door. “I am your mamma, darlings. Open the door”, said a voice.  But the voice was rough and hoarse very much unlike the soft and sweet of their mother.

“You are not our mother”, the young kids said,” she does not have such a rough voice”.  The wolf was angry that his ruse had been discovered.  Frantically, he banged the door.    The kids feared that the door would give way any minute. But the door was a strong one.

Frustrated, the wolf walked back and forth in front of the cave. Sheetal had made a chimney to allow the smoke to escape from the kitchen when she was cooking.  It was a small opening.  As he was pacing in front, the wolf saw it.

He tried to jump but could not reach it.  Finally, he hit upon an idea.  He dug up mud near the cave and piled it up into a mound.  Standing on the mound, he jumped on to the opening.   As he   was trying to squeeze in, the tin pipe which was connected to the chimney gave a rattling noise.  The kids were frightened.  The wolf had returned.  They did not know what to do.

Sonu had an idea.  Entering the kitchen, she lit the stove and threw in some coals.  Soon, the hot embers were glowing.  She placed them below the opening into the chimney.

The wolf, meanwhile, was squeezing itself into the narrow pipe.  Sonu, reassured her siblings.  She put the next part of the plan to action.  Now that the wolf was inside the chimney pipe, she went and opened the door.  As he emerged out of the pipe, the wolf fell right on the smouldering coals.  The hot coals singed his fur and burnt him.  He yelped in great pain.  But he could not get out.  The little kids ran out of the cave.  Sonu quickly shut the door, locking the wolf inside.  She took his siblings and hid inside a bush near the cave.  When Sheetal returned in the evening, the kids narrated what had happened.  Sheetal was shocked.  She was full of praise for Sonu.

Now that the wolf was inside, Sheetal went around to her friends, the other goats in the forest.  She saw an opportunity to settle this once and for all.  The other goats too had suffered at the hands of the wolf.  The wolf had eaten many of their kids.  They came in a large herd to the cave.  The wolf had managed to get out of the fire.  He was in the living room.

Sheetal now opened the door.  At her signal, all the goats rushed inside.  The wolf did not know what was going on.  The angry goats fell upon the wolf and pierced him with their sharp horns.  Attacked by so many, the wolf did not stand a chance.  He bled to death at that very place.

That was the end of the wicked wolf.  Sheetal lived with her kids in peace.  The kids grew up into fine and beautiful goats.

Children, this story tell us to be careful and follow the instructions our parents give us for our safety.  It also teaches us the importance of being calm and taking quick decisions in the face of danger.

One upon a time there lived a small deer in a jungle.  The poor animal was an orphan.  Its mother had died a short while after he was born.

However, the little deer had managed to survive. He had found a small patch of grassland near a stream. The area was walled off  by sharp rocks and thorny bushes.  There was a narrow entrance through the rocks.

There was a wolf in the jungle.  The wolf was a mean and dangerous creature -a ruthless predator who would not spare any small animal he could get his paws on.    He chanced upon the rocky area while wandering in search of prey.   His sharp nose soon picked up scent of the little animal.  The poor deer was fast asleep in its shelter.

The wolf came closer and looked at the deer.  The deer, oblivious to the danger, was sleeping peacefully.  The wolf was disappointed to see that the deer was small.  He thought that he could feast on him.  But this little animal had only skin and bones.  He would provide very little meat.

The wolf hit upon a plan.  “I will fatten this animal for a few months”, he said to himself, “then, when he is plump enough, I will have him for food.”  The wolf stayed there while the deer slept.

It was evening when the deer awoke.  As he looked around, he was terrified to see the wolf.  The poor animal had never seen a wolf before with its sharp fangs and angry gaze.  The wolf sensed this.  He quickly put on a deceptive smile on his face.

“Little One! Do not be afraid.  I am not here to harm you.  I am only here to help you.”, he said.  The little deer was confused.  The wolf went on,”Your mother appeared in my dream yesterday and told me to take care of you.  She also showed this place where you live.  That is how I found you.”  Hearing this, the deer began to trust the wolf.  The wolf was pleased.

“Thank You, so much for your kindness”, the deer said.  The wolf gave a wicked grin.  From then on, the innocent deer began to trust the wolf completely.  The wolf took the deer along through the jungle.  He took him to places where there was plenty of grass.  The deer enjoyed the company of the wolf.  He was thankful for the wolf’s supposed kindness.

The other animals of the jungle observed the strange relationship of the wolf and the little deer.  The had never seen anything like this before.  The wolf would accompany the little deer almost everywhere.  The peacock was also observing this.  He was a kind bird.  He had lived in the forest for many years.  He knew that the wolf had some wicked plan.

One day, when the little deer was alone, the peacock flew down and perched beside him.  “Be careful, little one!”, the bird said, “The wolf is a wicked animal.  Do not trust him.”  The little deer was bewildered.  “The wolf is kind to me and helps me”, he thought, “How could he be wicked”.

A few weeks later, a rabbit which lived in the forest gave the same warning to the little deer.  He, too, had been observing the wolf.

By now, the deer had grown bigger.  The wolf was observing the deer greedily.  The deer had noticed the strange glances.  He wondered what the wolf was thinking.  He thought about the warnings had had received.  Soon, he understood that the wolf had some other plan regarding him.  He began to observe the wolf more closely.  The more he observed the more he became convinced that something was amiss.

The deer was getting fatter day by day.  The wolf began to sense that the time was right.  He began to put the final part of his plan to action.

One day, the deer was grazing atop a cliff.  The grass there was particularly sweet.  The wolf came near the deer with a  fake smile.  He came slowly towards the deer.  The deer began to sense danger.

The wolf came near and pounced on the deer.  But the alert deer deftly stepped aside.  The wolf lost his balance and tumbled over the cliff and fell into the deep valley below.  That was the end of the wicked wolf.

The deer was shaken by the sudden turn of events.  He went back to the forest and thanked the animals for their warning.  He lived there for many  years in peace.

Children, this story teaches us not to trust anyone blindly.  We must always be careful when people seem too friendly or helpful.  If we observe anything strange we must pay attention and talk to our parents or teachers.

Vishwaraja was the ruler of Nandpur.  He was known for his wisdom and integrity.  He ruled his kingdom wisely and well.  His subjects were happy and contented.  He was assisted in his royal duties by a council of ministers.  The council was headed by a wise minister named Chandrasena.
One day, the king summoned Chandrasena to his chambers.  Chandrasena went to meet the king.  He was surprised to see that the king was pale and weak.   The king’s personal physician was attending on him.   The king was unwell.    The king told him, “Chandrasena, I am very sick.   I will soon pass away. “.  The minister was shocked.  The king then said, “I do not have any children to rule after me.  After I am gone, you will have to search for a new king for the kingdom.”

Chandrasena was overcome with grief.  “Yes, your majesty.”, he said.   The king’s condition deteriorated steadily.  He grew increasingly weak.  A week later, the king passed away.  The kingdom plunged into sorrow.  A month of official mourning was declared.  Chandrasena presided over the funeral.

Weeks passed.  Life began to slowly return to normal in the kingdom.  Chandrasena remembered the king’s words to him.   He wanted an honest, just and kind person to ascend the throne.  Chandrasena conferred with the council of ministers.  The ministers discussed this for a long time.  They finally came out with a plan.  Chandrasena put the plan to action.

A few days later, an announcement was made.  Messengers were sent to each and every town and village in the kingdom.  Arriving at a village or town, the messengers beat a drum and summoned the people.  They, then, read the royal announcement.   A new king would be chosen from among the young men in the kingdom.  All young men who were interested should present themselves at the royal palace on a certain day.

There was great excitement among the people on hearing the news.  This sort of selection had never happened before.  Soon, young men from every town were preparing for the great day.  Every one of them wanted to become king.

As the day arrived, the prospective rulers assembled in the capital in the royal palace.  They were made to write a series of tests on various subjects.  At the conclusion of these tests, 25 of them were shortlisted.

The officials-in-charge presented them to Chandrasena.  Chandrasena was pleased with them.  They were the best that the kingdom had in terms of knowledge and intellect.  Yet, he still wanted to know if they were ready to be the king and lead the people and the kingdom into the future.

He had a plan in mind.  He summoned the young men and gave each of them a handful of seeds.  He said, “Young men, you have cleared all these tests with distinction.  I am truly proud of you all. “  But there is one last test I want you to pass.  I have given each one of you a handful of seeds.  You can go to your villages, plant the seeds in a pot and show me the crop in two months’ time.”
So saying, the minister sent the young men away.  They were received as heroes in the villages.  Each one of them was sure of becoming the king. 

Two months passed. The young men came to the capital again with the pots containing the crops.  All the pots were lush green with the fresh looking crops.  All except one.  One pot alone was barren.  All the pots were placed in a grand hall in the palace.  Chandrasena, chief of the ministers was to inspect them.

At the appointed time, Chandrasena came to the hall.  He went around and looked at the pots.  The came near the candidate with the barren pot.  He looked at him.  The young man was nervous.  Chandrasena smiled at him and said, “This is the new king”.

A great silence fell across the room.  Chandrasena explained, ”Every one of the remaining men have been dishonest.  I had dropped the seeds into hot water before giving it to you.  All of the seeds are dead.  There is no way they could have sprouted into crops.  You have replaced them with new seeds”.

The rest of the young men were ashamed.  They knew that what Chandrasena said was true. “Honesty is a great virtue”, Chandrasena said, “Only one among you is fit to be king.”

Soon, the honest young man, Vishwadutt, was crowned king of Nandpur. Chandrasena continued to serve as the head of the council of ministers.  The kingdom prospered under the wise and benevolent reign of Vishwadutt and the people lived happily.

Children, this story tells us the need to be honest.  We should have the courage to be honest even when we may appear to be at a disadvantage.  Honesty will always bring great rewards.

Once upon a time there lived a simple woodcutter named Bholu.  Bholu lived with wife and two small children in the town of Vikrampur.  Bholu was a kind and generous man.  Everyday, he went into the forest to fetch wood.

One day, Bholu went to the forest as usual.  The village carpenter had wanted to make an armchair.  Bholu was in search of a tree that would provide wood for fine furniture.  He walked about looking at the trees, one by one.

He could not find the perfect one.  As he wandered about, he did not notice that he was going deeper into the forest.    As he went further, he heard a deep roar.  Bholu froze in terror.  He had never heard anything like that before. He hid behind the trunk of a large tree.  Leaning forward, he looked around.  He saw a sight that he never expected to see.  A lion was trapped in a large cage.

The lion had sniffed the scent Bholu.  Its cries grew more and more sad.  Bholu was moved by the scene of such a large majestic animal in such a sad state.  He stepped forward and walked towards the cage.

The cage was made of iron with strong bars.  The trapped lion grew frightened on seeing Bholu.  It thought that he was the hunter.  Bholu smiled at the lion and put it at ease.

He then looked around. The door of the cage had a latch.  Bholu deftly opened the latch.  He then opened the door.  The lion realized what he was doing. He quickly got out of the door.

Bholu was happy.  He had brought freedom to a caged animal.  He turned to the lion expecting to receive his thanks and gratitude.

But to his shock, he found the lion baring his powerful teeth and uttering a loud growl that echoed across the forest.  “O foolish man”, the lion said, “You have saved me but now your are going to be my lunch”.

Bholu was surprised and angry at the lion.  He was also very afraid.  He had taken great risk and effort to free the animal.  But, the ungrateful beast wanted to eat him.

The lion moved towards him. His wild eyes shone with fierceness. His sharp teeth and his gaping mouth were a terrifying sight.  Bholu was frightened to death.  He quickly made a jump and made for the nearby tree.  He climbed fast and soon he was on a branch high away from the ground.  For now, he was safe.

The lion was angry. He let out a loud growl and walked about the tree.  “The man would have to come down eventually”, he told himself, “I will have my fill then”.

As he was thus going round the tree, an elephant happened to pass by that area.
He was puzzled to see a lion walking around a tree.  He asked what the matter was.
The lion replied, ”There is a man on top of the tree.  I am going to eat him.  I am waiting for him to come down. You can go away.”.

But Bholu from his perch up in the tree said, “O Elephant, listen to my sad tale”.  The Elephant looked up.  He saw Bholu holding tight to a branch. Bholu then told him of how he came to the forest and how he helped the lion. “Is this the way to repay someone who has saved your life?”, Bholu asked pitifully.

The Elephant understood what the matter was.  In the forest, he was known for his wisdom.  He understood the wickedness of the lion.  He thought of a clever plan.

“I do not quite understand the situation”, he said to the lion,  “You say you were in the cage and Bholu opened the cage”.  The lion nodded.  “Can you go back into the cage and show me how”.  The lion was annoyed. Nevertheless, he went inside the cage and stood. “This is where I was”, he said.  “I see”, said the elephant, moving towards the cage. He then swiftly locked the cage with the lion inside.  The lion was stunned.  “You wicked animal”, the elephant said, “you want to kill the very man who saved your life. You do not deserve freedom.”

The Elephant asked Bholu to come down.  He, then, carried a grateful Bholu on his back out of the forest.  Bholu thanked the elephant and returned home to his family. As for the lion, he remained in the cage until the hunters came.  They took and sold him to a zoo where he spent the rest of his life in a cage.

Children, this story teaches us to be grateful to those who help us.  Those who help others often put themselves in danger, we should appreciate their actions and be thankful.

Vishwadutt was a farmer who lived in the village Ashokapura.  He was a rich man who owned many acres of farmland.  Vishwadutt lived in a palatial house in the centre of the village. He lived with his wife and three children. He was a man of importance in the village and held a prominent role in the village council, the Panchayat.

Though he had money and stature in society, Vishwadutt was a selfish and greedy man.  He always wanted to have more.

Whenever Vishwadutt saw a field that he liked.  He would summon the farmer who owned it. Being a person of wealth and power, Vishwadutt was feared by the village folk.  The farmer would hasten to Vishwadutt’s house.  There, Vishwadutt would offer to buy the field for a sum of money.  Some farmers would agree to his demands.  If a farmer refused, Vishwadutt would threaten him with dire consequences.  Most of the farmers would give in and surrender their fields.

Thus, as time passed, most of the fields in the village belonged to Vishwadutt.

Just near the sprawling fields which belonged to Vishwadutt was a small parcel of land.  The field belonged to a small farmer called Ranjitdas.  Ranjitdas took good care of the field.  He lived in a small house at the edge of the field with his wife and two small children.  During the harvest, he kept some of the grains for food.  He sold the remainder of the yield.  The money was not much.  But it was enough to keep Ranjitdas and his small family fed and clothed for the rest of the year.

Vishwadutt had long had his eyes on the field.  He decided that he should the make the field his.  This small field, alone, did not belong to him.  He owned the larger field beside it.  This field lay between his field and the small river which flowed through the village.  Its advantageous location near the river and the bountiful crops which grew on it had captured his attention.

The next day, Vishwadutt summoned Ranjitdas to his home. When Ranjitdas came, he offered to buy the field. But Ranjitdas refused saying that it was the only field he had.  Vishwadutt argued, cajoled and threatened him.  But to no avail. Ranjit would not agree.

Vishwadutt was unhappy.  No had been so forthright to him so far.  Till now, he had been able to buy whatever field he desired.  He was angered by the stubbornness of Ranjitdas.
Vishwadutt felt insulted.  Here he was, a leading person in the village and a small farmer with a tiny piece of land hand declined a generous offer which he had made.  He would not let this insolence go without a response.  If he did, the matter would be known that a small farmer had stood up to Vishwadutt and soon he would lose the respect and fear he commanded among the village folk.

He could not sleep that night.  He tossed and turned in his bed thinking of how he could take the field from Ranjitdas.  While he thus thinking, an evil scheme came to his mind.  He waited for a few days. He went about as if nothing had happened.

Then, he put his evil plan into action.  One dark moonless night, he had his servants catch a donkey.  The servants tied a lighted torch to the tail of the unfortunate animal.  They, then, sent the donkey in the direction of Ranjitdas’ field.  Soon Ranjitdas’ field would be alight.  It was harvest time and the standing crops would be burned to ashes. Ranjitdas would suffer heavy losses. He would have to sell his field.  Thus, went Vishwadutt’s evil plan.

The donkey approached Ranjitdas’ field.  Ranjitdas had kept a dog in the field.  He had found the dog as a helpless pup on the streets.  He had raised it as a pet for his family.  As soon as the donkey came near, the dog ran towards the intruder and barked.  The donkey panicked and ran in the opposite direction where Vishwadutt’s fields lay.

The servants tried to chase the donkey away. But the frightened animal ran into the fields.  Soon, Vishwadutt’s fields were on fire.  The servants tried everything they could to put it out.  The fire, however, continued to spread as the wind blew towards Vishwadutt’s fields and soon the fields were reduced to ashes. In the morning, Vishwadutt was shocked to see the devastation in his fields.  He had learnt his lesson.  No longer did he try to harass Ranjitdas.

Children, this story teaches us to be humble.  We should respect people who are poorer than we and come from less privileged backgrounds.  This story also teaches us not to be greedy.  Every evil scheme will eventually backfire on the person who designed it.

Once upon a time there lived a herd of elephants in the forests adjoining the foothills of the mighty Himalayas.

The herd was led by a beautiful white elephant.  The elephant was wise and kind to his subjects.  He lived with his elderly mother.  The mother elephant was advanced in years and was weak.  She was also blind.  Her dutiful son, the white elephant, took great care of his mother.  He loved her very much.

One day, one of the elephants came across a man wandering in the forest.  The man was famished and disheveled.  His clothes were dirty and he was in a bad state.  The White elephant was immediately informed of the intruder.  The white elephant approached the man.  The frightened man only ran further away.

The White elephant went close to him.  “Do not be afraid”, he said, “we have come to help you”.    The man, who had by now overcome his fear, narrated his sad story.  “I am from a party of woodcutters who were chopping wood in these forests”, he said.  “I went deeper into the forest in search of wood and soon discovered that I was lost”, he sobbed.  He said that he was wandering desperately to get out of the forest for seven days.

The White elephant took pity on him.  He knew the way out of the forest.  He took him to his dwelling and gave him fruits to eat.

A few days later, the White Elephant asked one of the elephants to guide him on the way home.  The man, whose name was Ghanshyam, thanked the elephant very much.

 Ghanshyam came out of the forest and found his way to Benaras.    Just then he heard the news of the death of the Royal Elephant of the King of Benaras.  The whole city of Benaras and the Royal household were in a state of mourning.

As soon as the period of mourning was over, the officials of the palace set about searching for a new elephant which would be the Royal Elephant.  They promised a reward of ten thousand gold coins to someone who would suggest a good elephant.

Ghanshyam suddenly remembered the White Elephant.  He recalled its stately appearance and grand bearing.  If only, he could catch the elephant and give it to the king, he would be a rich man.  In his greed, he had forgotten his debt of gratitude to the kind elephant.

The wicked Ghanshyam approached the Chief Minister and told of his adventure and the white elephant.    Ghanshyam, offered to lead them to the elephant.

A few days, the minister assembled a group of mahouts and other elephants from the royal stables.  A detachment of soldiers were also to accompany the group into the forest.    Ghanshyam took the royal party straight to the pond where the elephants used to bathe.

The royal party positioned their own trained domestic elephants around the lake and sealed all the escape routes.  Unfortunately, for the white elephant, that day he had come to bath with only a couple of his close friends.  The other elephants were in another part of the forest.    Outnumbered and surrounded, the white elephant was caught.

Soon, mahouts atop the tame elephants threw thick ropes over the white elephant and tied him.  The White elephant was led away from the forest to Benaras.  The White elephant was heartbroken when he thought of his poor blind mother.

In Benaras, the white elephant was the talk of the town.  The king was also impressed with the new elephant.  He admired the white complexion of the elephant and his graceful poise.

Soon, the White elephant was decked with all the finery reserved for the elephant of state.  He was then led to the royal stables where a special enclosure was ready for him.  The minister ordered the choicest foods to be placed before him.  But the White elephant did not touch him.  He was depressed.  The king noticed his moody appearance.  He thought that it was due to the stress of capture.

But the white elephant never recovered from his depression.  He was constantly thinking of the forest and his mother.  The king was concerned.  He went down to the royal stables to find the reason for the elephant’s sadness.

The elephant told him the reason for his sadness.  He told him of his poor mother and how he was separated from her and was always thinking of her.  The king was deeply moved.
He was angry with his ministers for having been so cruel.  The next day, he ordered his minister to return the white elephant to the forest.  The white elephant thanked the king and returned to the forest to be with his mother.

The king, made one of his own elephants, the royal elephant.  He ruled Benaras for many years wisely and well.  The White elephant lived in the forest for many years with his mother and his companions.

Children, this story tell us to not to be considerate towards others and their feelings.   If we have unknowingly caused sadness to others, we need to correct our mistakes.

Bholeram was a watchman working in the city of Sundarpur.  Bholeram had lived there for many years.  He worked at a palatial bungalow in the heart of a city, owned by a rich merchant.
Bholeram was extremely loyal to his employer.  He had reason to be.  The merchant was kind to Bholeram and treated him well.  Bholeram worked in the night, looking after his master’s bungalow.  Every evening he would leave his house which was just outside the town and walked towards his master’s house.

It would be late in the evening by the time he reached the house.  He had a torch and a stick with him.    The Bungalow was located in a sprawling area.   It was surrounded by a tall compound wall.   Bholeram went around the house once, checking the various places inside the compound.

He then took his place at his post near the gate.  One night while he was, thus, on duty, he went to see if all was ok.  The night was like any other night.  It was warm and the sky was clear.  The moon shone in the beauty of its full form.  In the moonlight, he could see fairly well.

As he was thus walking around the compound, he stumbled on something in the dark.  Quickly recovering his balance, he looked down to see what it was.  He lit his torch to see what it was.  It was a shiny object half-buried in the soil.  He lifted it up to see what it was.  It was a lamp.  Its shiny surface was covered by mud.  It also had a lid on top.

Curious to see what was inside, Bholeram lifted the lid.  The lamp began to shake and a whooshing sound emerged from inside.  Bholeram was stunned.  He was about to throw the lamp away when a smoky creature emerged from inside.  The creature was like a ghost.  It had a kind face with a big smile.  The creature smiled at Bholeram.  Bholeram, though, was too rattled to smile back.

The creature said, “Do not fear.  I am Manus.  I am a genie.  I have been bottled up here in this bottle for many hundreds of years.  You have released me from bondage.  I am grateful to you”.

Bholeram had regained his composure by now.  “That is ok! It is alright!”, he stammered.  Manus, the genie, smiled again and said, “I am thankful.  I would like to reward you with three wishes.  You can ask me for whatever you want.  You will not see me after that.”

Bholeram was surprised to hear this.  He had always been a contented man, happy with his life.  His father and his grandfather had been watchmen before him.  “I will leave you for a couple of hours to think”, the Genie said, “I will come back just before daybreak.  You can tell me your three wishes”.  Saying this, the genie disappeared into the darkness.

The hours flew by.  In a short while, it would be dawn.  Bholeram could not even believe what had happened.  Bholeram thought long and hard.   He could not think of anything.  He then hit upon an idea.
The genie returned as promised just before daybreak.  Bholeram looked up at the smoky figure in front of him.  The Genie said, “I am happy to see you again, Bholeram. Please let me know your wishes.  Bholeram thought for an instant and said, “I want a big Bungalow as my first wish”.  The Genie smiled.  “It is granted.”, he said, “You will find a bungalow a short distance outside the town tomorrow”.

“What is your next Wish?”, the Genie asked.  Bholeram replied, “I want a good master to be the owner of that house.”  The genie was perplexed.  He had not heard of any such thing at any time.  Nevertheless, he granted that wish as well.

Then the Genie said, “What is your last and final wish?”.  Bholeram said, “I want a job in the bungalow as a watchman”.  The Genie tried hard to suppress his laughter.  “This is granted too”, he said and disappeared.

Bholeram went out of town the next morning and found the bungalow with the master just as the Genie said.  Sure enough, there was a vacancy for a watchman.  Bholeram happily joined his new job and remained there for the rest of his life.

Children, this amusing story tells us to think big.  Bholeram could have asked for a lot of things for himself and for his family.  But as his vision was narrow, he could not visualize anything bigger than his present circumstances.

We too are often too caught up in the present level that we do not think of improving ourselves or our situation for something bigger and better in life.  This story teaches us to think big and beyond our present situation so that when the opportunity presents itself, we may be able to seize it.

Once upon a time, there lived a washerman called Ravidas. Ravidas lived in a small village.  Everyday, he would go from house to house and collect the clothes to be washed. He put the clothes in a cart he brought along. The cart was drawn by a bull.

He then made his way to the banks of the river which flowed near the village.  He washed the clothes in the waters of the river. In the evening, he went and handed the clothes to their owners.

Ravidas was a kind man and took good care of his bull.  The bull was fed well.  He had a clean and spacious shed to stay.

But, the bull was a lazy and thankless animal.  He always felt a false sense of importance and thought of work as a burden.  He hated carrying the load.  He wanted to lounge in his shed all day and while away the time.  One day, a wicked idea crossed the bull’s mind.

The next day, Ravidas went about his daily routine.  He collected the clothes from the villagers,  went down to the river and washed the clothes.  In the evening, he was returning to the village.

The wicked bull was waiting to put his plan into action.  A short distance from the river bank was a small canal.  The canal carried muddy water from the village.  The canal was just a few inches deep.  Every day, Ravidas would drive through the canal.  The wheels of the bullock cart were tall enough to pass through the water.  The cunning bull pretended to stumble while crossing the canal.  As the bull buckled, the cart tilted to one side.  The washed clothes on the cart slid across and fell into the muddy water.

Ravidas was shocked.  He jumped from the cart and picked up the clothes from the canal.  They were soiled in the muddy water.

Ravidas was distraught.  “What will I tell the villagers?”, he asked himself, “How will they trust me again with their clothes?”.  It was late in the evening and everyone would be waiting for their clothes.  He thought of his reputation and how it would be damaged.

He quickly collected the clothes and drove the cart home.  He told the villagers that he was unwell and that he would return the clothes the next afternoon.  The next morning, he hurriedly went to the river and washed the clothes again.  It was a difficult job.  The stains were difficult to remove.  After a lot of scrubbing , Ravidas finally managed to remove the stains.  He then dried them and returned them to the owners that evening.

The bull was happy.  “Now, the master will not ask me to work any more”, he told himself.

Ravidas saw through the bull’s plan. He knew that the bull stumbled intentionally.  “I will teach him a lesson”, he told himself.

The next day, he went to the shed where the bull was kept and fed him as usual.  His wife, Ragini, was also with him.  She helped in cleaning the shed.  “Ragini”, he said, “I think our bull is getting old and weak. He stumbled the other day while crossing the canal”.  The bull was keenly listening to Ravidas.  Ravidas was aware of this.  He continued, “I think he can no longer work.  If this happens again, we will have to send him to the slaughterhouse where he can be used for meat.  We will buy another bull.”

The bull was shocked on hearing this.  He was going to be killed.  He cursed himself for the trick which had backfired. Fear and dread seized him as he thought of the butcher’s knife in his throat.  He felt angry at himself on how he had thrown away his life on a silly plan. 

He began to feel remorseful.    “Here, I get the best of food and a place to stay”, he thought to himself, “and I have chosen to deceive master and to harm his business.” He could barely sleep that night.  “I will work harder from tomorrow”, he told himself, “maybe, then,  master will spare me”.

The next day, he dutifully carried Ravidas and the clothes to the river and back.  He worked harder than usual.  Ravidas noticed the change in the bull.  He knew that his plan had worked.

 Children, this story teaches us to be sincere to others and to work with dedication.   All of us have a role to play in society and we should do our duty wholeheartedly and to the best of our ability.

It also teaches us to be thankful to those who take care of us.  We should be appreciative of them and never let them down.

Pankaj and Ravi were two friends who lived in a small village near the town of Vikramgarh.  They had known each other since they were little children.  They played along the same dusty roads of the village and attended the same school.

Their fathers were weavers who lived in the village and they lived in adjacent houses. The two boys grew up and went to school together. The school did not have a proper building.  In fact, it did not have a building at all!  The lessons were taught under the shade of a banyan tree.  The tree was so large that the branches spread over a wide area, providing shade and shelter.

Every morning, Pankaj and Ravi would go there along with the other children in the village.  The classes were conducted by an elderly schoolmaster.  They would return home in the evening when the classes were over.

This was their daily routine.  The years passed and the boys grew older.  When they were about 15 years old, their parents decided to put them in a bigger school.  The school at their village only taught them up to the 10th standard.  They had to go to a higher school for further education.

Their parents had planned to put them in a school at Vikramgarh.  It was a big school and the boys were excited about going there.  It didn’t take them long to get accustomed to the new school and their new surroundings.  They made new friends as well.

Every day, they would have to walk across a forested area which lay between their village and the town to get to their school.   The forest was thickly wooded with tall trees.   Then, they had to cross a river.  The river, though, was not deep.  All they needed to do was to roll up their trousers and wade across the water.

One day, Pankaj and Ravi were returning from school as usual.  It was evening and the sky was starting to get dark.  They crossed the river and entered the forest. Suddenly, they saw a dark figure looming in the distance. Their hearts pounded faster as they realised what it was.  They froze in fear.  It was a bear! The bear stared at them.  It too, was surprised!

For a moment, the boys stood there motionless.  Then, all of a sudden, Pankaj jumped over a bush, ran some distance and climbed a tree.  He was now safe.  But Ravi was left behind and was terrified. The bear started moving towards him.  It let out a terrible roar and ran towards him.  Ravi was trembling with fear.  Suddenly, he hit upon an idea.

He fell down as if he was dead.  The bear jumped over him and began to sniff him.  But Ravi lay absolutely still. He did not even dare to breathe.   He had remembered that bears do not eat prey that had already been killed.   The bear was confused to see Ravi not moving at all.  It went round him in circles and then flipped him over with its powerful paws.

While his eyes were almost completely closed, Ravi could still see the terrifying nails in the paws of the bear.  It would just take one move to slash him into two.  The bear sniffed him for some more time.  It then let out another terrible roar.

From his perch in the tree, Pankaj could only watch. He was helpless.  He felt guilty that he had abandoned his friend.  He could not see clearly as it was dark.  But he could see the bear sniffing his friend.

Luckily for Pankaj, the bear did not bother to look at him in the tree.  It stood there for a while and then left.

Ravi remained motionless for a few more minutes.  He then opened his eyes slightly to see if the bear had really left.  In the distance, he could hear its angry growls.  He slowly got up.  Pankaj came down from the tree too.  He was very ashamed to see his friend.  In the moment of danger, he had abandoned him.

He said sorry to Ravi for abandoning him out of fear.  Ravi accepted his apology.  Pankaj and Ravi continued their journey and returned home safely.

Children, this story tells us about the need for presence of mind.  Ravi was quick to remember something he probably heard a long time back.  That bears always eat only freshly killed prey.  He pretended to be dead and that saved his life.

Once upon a time, there lived a duck on the shore of a lake.  It had recently laid a clutch of eggs.  It was sitting on those eggs patiently.  Unknown to the duck, a farmer who had found an abandoned swan’s egg had placed it in its nest.

Her patience bore fruit.  A few days later, the eggs hatched and fluffy and yellow ducklings were born.  But one of her eggs alone did not hatch.

The egg hatched two days later. When the mother duck looked at what came out.  She was shocked.  A black and ugly young chick struggled out of the egg shell.  When the other ducklings saw the dark young one, they made fun of it.

“Ugly one! Go away!”, they said.  No one wanted to be friends with such an ugly creature.  The poor young chick was extremely sad.  The mother duck tried to be kind to the grey chick.  But when the chicks would go swimming in the lake with the  other ducklings, every other chick would be bright yellow in colour, except for the dark colored chick.  She always stood apart.

No one wanted to be near her.  The months passed and the chicks grew bigger.  The grey chick went about her lonely life.

One day, the grey chick felt that she had had enough.  She went to the mother duck.  “Mom”, she said with tears, “You have been good to me.  However, I feel that I cannot be one among the others here.  I am going away to find a place for myself in the big world”.  The mother duck was shocked.  She asked the grey chick to change her mind.  She knew how tough the lake was for the young chick.  “Stay for a few more months, the other chicks may accept you”, the mother said with tears.

But the grey chick had made up her mind.  The mother duck reluctantly let her go.

The grey chick was now alone in the world.  She wandered about.  She tried to make friends with a family of rabbits who lived in the fields adjoining the lake.  The rabbits were a kind and generous lot.  The grey chick made its home with them for a few weeks.  However, it could not feel at home.  Their ways of life were different.  It bid them good bye and wandered still further.

A kind farmer passing by was surprised to see a little chick wandering alone.  He gently lifted the chick in his arms and carried her home.  The farmer’s little children were happy to have a new pet.  They gave the chick some food and kept her in a cage.  But the chick felt unhappy in her new surrounding.  She longed for the open space and freedom.  One night, she managed to get out of the cage and left the farmer’s house.

She was on her own once more.  Hungry and exposed to the elements, the helpless chick trundled along.  She managed to find a small cavity in a rock where she stayed.  She ate the moss and the weeds which grew along a lake for food.

As it went about its lonely existence, it chanced upon a flock of swans which had landed on the lake.  The swans were migratory birds.  They had made a temporary halt on their way to the northern countries during summer.

The young chick felt attracted towards the swans.  But she was scared.  “What if they make fun of me and chase me away?”, she thought for a second.  But some unknown impulse made her walk towards them.  To her surprise, the swans noticed her and went about their work.  She went close to them.  She felt strangely happy.  She did not know why.

The grey chick stayed with the swans for the next few weeks.  She was growing up fast.  She did not notice it.  She resembled the swans she lived with more and more as the days passed.    One day, the swans took to the sky.  The grey chick, driven by a strange urge, tried to imitate them.  It started flapping it swings and lo! and behold, the unbelievable happened.  It began to soar in the air.  For a moment it was startled and afraid.  However, it managed to keep aloft.   The joy of the grey chick knew no bounds.  It had grow into a graceful swan and had not known it.

The happy chick lived with the flock as a beautiful swan for many years.  It had at last found acceptance and happiness.

Children, this story tells us not to be ashamed of our unique qualities.  We may be different from others.  But that does mean that we are inferior to them.  Similarly, we should also respect others from a different background and culture.

Once upon a time there was a pond called Sukhsagar.  The pond was small.  It was home to two fish.  One was called Sahasrabuddhi and the other Dharmabuddhi.  The two fish had lived there for a long time.  They fed on the green algae which grew on the pond floor.    The pond was home to numerous fishes and other small animals like crabs and shrimps.  The fishes lived a calm and quiet life.  There were no predators to threaten them.

The pond was thus a safe place where all its inhabitants led their own quiet lives.  The pond was not far from a nearby village.  Every now and then, people would come from the village to the pond.  Little boys would come over to swim in its calm waters.  Sometimes, women would bring their laundry to wash in the pond.

It so happened that one day a couple of fishermen were passing by the pond.  They had been fishing in another pond a few miles away.  The pond caught their attention on their way home.  The two of them had been talking about the pond.  Said one to another, “This is a small pond. But, why don’t we dredge the pond and take what’s in it?”. “Not a bad idea”, said the other,” We may find at least a few fish and some crabs”.

Sahasrabuddhi, the fish had overheard this conversation.    He was alarmed.  He hurried swam down to Dharmabuddhi who was relaxing in the floor of the pond amidst some water plants.  Dharmabuddhi was a fish who lived for the day.  He did not think much about the future or anything else.  He loved to feed and relax.  He was also a bit lazy by nature.

When Sahasrabuddhi came down and narrated what he had just heard.  He could scarcely contain himself.  “Alas! We are doomed.” he cried,” We will be caught and cooked for food by those wicked men.  We must leave this pond at once”.  Dharmabuddhi, ever the lazy one, did not even move.  “Perhaps, you did not hear them properly.  Perhaps, they did not mean what they said”, he said with an air of dismissal.

Sahasrabuddhi tried to convince his friend by to no avail.  Dharmabuddhi would not listen. “You can leave if you want.  I am not coming.   I know special tricky water movements with which I can fool the most expert of fishermen”, he bragged.

Saharasrabuddhi left his friend in the pond floor and rose to the surface.  It was late in the evening.  The sun was setting and the creatures of the pond were settling down for the night.  He thought deeply of what he could do to save himself.

Suddenly, he remembered that the pond had a small channel which led to another pond a few hundred feet away.  He had been there once a long time back.  But the channel had water only when the level of water in the pond was high.  He felt sad as he remembered this for it was almost summer.  The pond level had been falling for quite some time.  He went to sleep with a heavy heart.

The next morning, at the break of dawn, he went to see if the channel had water he could swim through.  The water in the channel had been reduced to a trickle.    He wondered if he would be able to escape.  He was sad to leave his friend behind.   He entered the channel and with great difficulty he managed to push himself through it.     He was almost flat on his side.  The sharp stones in the channel tore into his soft body.  He went on for a long time.  He was almost at the point of despair.  He wondered if there was really water on the other side.  Finally, he felt that he was going faster.  The channel grew deeper and finally he was in the new pond.  Sahasrabuddhi felt relieved.  He was anxious about his friend and feared for his safety.

He was right.  That very next day, the fishermen came to the pond with a few of their friends.  They were carrying big nets with them.   The cast the net on the pond and let it sink to the bottom.  Dharmabuddhi was relaxing in his favorite haunt oblivious to the danger.  He was startled to see the net fall around him.  He looked for a way out but there was none.  He also tried his tricky swimming movements he was so proud of.  He was sure that he could slither out of the net’s reach.    But they were of no avail.  The net soon fell on him and he was entangled in its cords.

Soon, the fishermen began to lift the net.  Dharmabuddhi regretted not listening to his friend.  But, it was too late.  He was drawn up along with the net and met his sad end.

Children, this story with a sad ending tells us to be alert to any signs of danger.  When we hear of any threat we need to act quickly and save ourselves and others.  If we are complacent and slothful, we will pay a heavy price.

Chandru was a cat in the village of Rajpur. He had lived in the village ever since he was a small kitten.  The village was the home to many milkmen.  The milkmen raised cows which gave them their milk.  They also made cheese and other milk products which they sold in the neighbouring villages.  Chandru was a feral cat which meant that he did not have a home.  He lived in the streets.

He hunted mice and other small animals in the night.  Every now and then, if he was lucky, he would get to have a drink of milk or a tasty piece of cheese.    Even then he had to be careful, for the milkmen considered cats to be pests which robbed them of their milk.  If the milkmen found Chandru or other cats in their room, they would beat them with sticks and drive them out.  Chandru had been beaten like this many a time.

Chandru’s home was a hollow in the trunk of a tree outside the village.  He would sleep during the day when the sun was hot.  Like most cats, he hunted in the night.  Once it was dark, Chandru would leave his home and prowl amongst the streets.  There he would stealthily lurk in the corners on the lookout for mice which may be scampering around in the streets.  Chandru, like all cats, had excellent night vision.  His eyes could see even in very little light.  They would gleam like jewels in the darkness.  If he was lucky, Chandru would catch a mouse during the night. But not always, there were nights where Chandru caught nothing and went hungry.

Sometimes, Chandru would steal in to one of the houses in search of food.  One night as he was going on one of his nightly visits in search of food.  He happened to enter the house of a milkman through a window which had been left open.  As he stealthily moved around the house, he smelt the fresh smell of cheese nearby.  Chandru was happy.  He followed the scent and soon reached the cheese.  It was a large piece of cheese and he had not eaten well in days.  He approached the cheese carefully.  He would carry it away and eat it in peace.

As he approached the cheese, he heard an angry snarl.  Chandru was surprised to see another cat in the room.  It was Billu, his sworn enemy.  He had had many fights with that cat.  Billu lived in the same village.  It was only two weeks back when Billu and Chandru had fought over a rat which both of them claimed to have caught.

Chandru was disappointed and angry.  He wanted to fight with Billu to settle the issue of the cheese.  However, he knew that if they fought, the people in the house would wake up and they would have to abandon the cheese.  So he signalled to the other cat that they would each share a piece of the cheese and he carried the cheese outside the house with the other cat closely following him.
Once outside, they set about dividing the piece of cheese.  The cheese was in a very odd shape.  Hence, dividing it was difficult.  Chandru managed to cut the cheese in two pieces and gave one to Billu.  Billu, though, would not have it as he felt that he was being cheated.  Chandru would not allow Billu to divide the cheese.   The two cats squabbled over the cheese for a long time.  It was nearing daybreak.
A monkey was watching all this from a nearby tree.  The monkey was cunning.  It carefully climbed down the tree and went up to the cats.  He asked what the matter was.   The cats told him the story of how they had found the cheese and their difficulty in dividing it.  The wily monkey was pleased.  He told the cats that he would divide the cheese into two pieces. 

The monkey divided the cheese into two and placed them before the cats.  The pieces were not equal.  The monkey had intentionally made it so.  The two cats were not satisfied with the result.  The monkey quickly bit off a small part from the bigger piece and then placed the two pieces before the cats.  Now the bitten piece was smaller than the other.  The two silly cats were again not satisfied.  The monkey now bit the other piece to make it smaller.  Now, that piece had become smaller than the other.   The two cats could still not understand the monkey’s trick.

The monkey kept playing his game on the unsuspecting cats until very two pieces of cheese remained.  They cats suddenly realised the monkey’s trick.  They realised how stupid they had been in trusting the monkey.  They wanted to pounce on the monkey.  But, the clever monkey quickly jumped back onto the tree branches to safety.  The two cats were left with two very small pieces of cheese.

Children, this story teaches us to be broadminded and generous in our dealings with others.

Once upon a time there lived a tiger on the banks of a river. The river flowed through a thick forest.  The banks of the river were, therefore, covered with tall trees and dense vegetation.

The Tiger lived in a cave in the forest.  He lived alone.  He hunted deer and other animals which lived in the forest.  Situated on the banks of the river, the forest was extremely fertile.  The plants and trees grew profusely.  They were good food for deer, bison and other animals which fed on them.

Among the many animals in the forest was a jackal.  The Jackal was a sly creature.  He sometimes hunted small animals such as rats and frogs.  But he mostly lived  on the leftovers of the kill of other larger predators.

One day, the tiger was out hunting.  It spotted a herd of deer a small distance away.  He slouched low among the tall grass. He moved stealthily closer to where the herd of deer was grazing, ignorant of his approaching presence.

He moved closer within striking distance.  The deer had still not noticed him.  Then, it happened.  He had unknowingly stepped on a dry twig lying on the ground.  The stick had snapped under his weight.  The sound alerted the deer which took to their heels.

The tiger was forced to launch his attack.  He ran towards the deer as fast as he could.  But, they were too quick for him.  However, he managed to capture a small deer.  The deer had been injured and could not flee like the others.  It was a small animal.  The tiger was disappointed at his catch. "It is better than catching nothing", he said to himself.

From a distance, the jackal was watching.  He was happy to see the tiger fail in the hunt.  A crooked plan occurred to him.  He approached the tiger.  The tiger stood by the dead deer.  He was panting and catching his breath after the chase.

"Your moves are indeed quick and magnificent, O Tiger.", he said.  The tiger was pleased at the compliment.  Sensing this, the jackal continued,  "But, what is such a small deer to an animal with an appetite as yours.  You need to hunt bigger game which can provide you with more meat."

The Tiger looked at the jackal.  The jackal said, "O, Tiger.  There are plenty of bison a few miles downriver.  A single kill will last you for many weeks".  The Tiger thought over this. Hunt for a day and take rest for weeks.   It seemed to be a good idea.  He wondered why no one told him about this earlier. 

The jackal was pleased that the tiger was considering his suggestion.  "I will take care of this dead deer till you return.", he said.   The Tiger was pleased to hear this.  The Tiger set off in search of the bison.  He soon reached the spot.  The bison were grazing heartily.  They were in their hundreds.  They were large animals.  "The jackal was right.", the tiger told himself, "a kill could feed me for a long time".

The tiger hid himself behind some bushes.  This time, he would allow the animals to come near him. Sure enough, the herd was moving closer to where he had concealed himself.  He just had to pounce on them.

The herd came closer within reach.  The tiger came out of his hiding place.  He pounced on the bison.  What the tiger did not think of was the strength of the bison.  The bison was large and powerful.  Besides, the tiger was alone.

As he jumped on a bison, the bison shook him off to the ground.  The tiger was on the ground and the angry herd around him.  The herd rushed at him, gored him with their sharp horn and trampled him with their heavy hooves.

The tiger tried to fight back with his claws and sharp teeth.  But he was no match for the herd of hundreds of animals.  When the dust settled, he lay on the ground wounded and bloodied.  The herd had lost interest in him and wandered off.

He could barely get up.  His whole body was aching.  He managed to pull himself together and slowly made his way upriver where his cave was.

There, at a distance, he could see the wily jackal eat the deer he had managed to capture.  The jackal gave him an insolent smile.  The tiger roared in fury.  But he could hardly move.  The jackal knew that.  The tiger reached his den and lay down.  It was many weeks before he could walk and run as before.

Children, this story teaches us not to take others’ advice at its face value.  We should always think over suggestions and ideas given by others.  People can trick us into doing things for their own advantage.

Shahpur was a small town.  It was home to a few thousand people.  It had a few schools and a college.  The college was attended by over 500 students.    Every year, the students and professors of the college went on a picnic in the nearby forest

On the day of the picnic, the students arrived at their college dressed in colourful clothes.  The students got on to buses.  It was a jolly time.  There was music played and dancing in the bus itself.
The students were very happy.  They were busy clicking pictures of the forest and of one another.  Ramesh, Vinod and Kumar were three students in the picnicking party.   They were close friends
The bus finally reached picnic spot.  The students got down from the bus.

Soon, foldable tables and chairs were brought out and a sumptuous breakfast was spread.  Breakfast was soon over.  After the breakfast, there was a session of games and cultural programmes.
Ramesh, Vinod and Kumar soon grew tired of the events.  Soon Ramesh said,” Hi Guys! Let’s go into the forest to take some photographs. The trees are indeed beautiful to look at”.  The other friends, too, thought it was a good idea.

Soon, they entered the forest.  The forest was very beautiful.  The lush green leaves were soothing to the eyes.  The sweet fragrance of the wild flowers in the forest led the friends further into the forest.    The joyous chirps of the birds added music to that pleasant experience.  Ramesh and his friends took a number of photographs.  They had reached deep into the forest.

Soon, they saw a group of tribals wandering around with their cattle.  The tribals stopped on seeing them.  It was rare for outsiders to venture so deep into the forest.    The tribals invited the boys to their homes which were not far away.  Their homes were simple, made of mud walls and thatched roofs.  The humble tribals offered water and some fruit to the boys.

They boys looked down at the simple life of the tribals.  Dressed in modern trendy clothes, to them the clothes of the tribes looked primitive.  Ramesh asked the tribesmen about their day-to- day activities.  They tribesmen told him about their daily lives; they hunted in the forest and collected wild fruits.   Vinod was amused at such a crude way of life.  He was particularly shocked when he entered their huts.  There was no furniture at all.  There was a small sheet on the floor which was a bed.  Little children played around while their mothers prepared food.

The boys contrasted their modern life in the cities with the lifestyle of these tribes.  They grew proud.  They began to think of the tribes as ignorant and uneducated people.

It was soon dark.  The boys had lost count of time.  They had to return to the forest.  The tribesmen offered to take them by a shorter route across a river to their city, Shahpur so they could go home directly.  The boys agreed.

Soon they were at the river bank.  They got onto a boat and rowed away.  The tribesmen were curious to know about city life.  They asked the boys about their college and why they were studying.  The boys were proud of their achievements.  They told the tribesmen of their education and what they were studying.  They were studying to be engineers, they said.  The tribesmen could not understand what they were saying.  They boys looked at the tribesmen with a mix of pity and contempt.  “You have wasted your entire lives in these forests”, Kumar said with a sneer, “You have learnt nothing and are ignorant”.  The tribesmen were offended yet remained quiet.

The boat was in the middle of the river when suddenly it hit a rock which lay under the water.  A hole was formed and began leaking water into the boat.  The boys were terrified.  The boat would sink in a matter of minutes.  The tribesmen asked the boys,”Do you know how to swim? The other bank is just a few metres away.”   The boys were ashamed.  They did not know swimming.  The waters were gushing into the boat.    They would drown.

But the kind tribesmen promised to take them safely across.  The boat was sinking when the tribesmen jumped into the water clutching the students’ hands.  The students struggled in the water but the tribesmen held their heads above the water level.  Soon, they were in the shallows.  The students waded out of the water and reached dry land.

They thanked the tribesmen profusely.  They were ashamed of how they had behaved and spoken and were sorry.  The tribesmen left the students after giving them directions to reach the city.

Children, this story teaches us not to be proud of our achievements and education.  We are what we are only because of our parents and our background.  Less fortunate people who come from poor backgrounds may not have our skills and abilities.  We need to treat them with respect.

Many years ago in the forests of Rajvan, there lived a squirrel.  The squirrel made its home in one of the massive trees in the forest.    Soft and furry, the squirrel scampered across the branches as it made its way from one branch to another through the forest canopy.

The squirrel lived a carefree life.  Beneath the trees in the forests below, lived a rabbit.    The rabbit and the squirrel were good friends.  The squirrel spent a lot of time with the rabbit.
The rabbit lived in a burrow near the tree.  The squirrel would accompany the rabbit as it went across the forest in search of food.

The Rabbit moved across the grassy ground in search of food.  He was extremely nervous, always on the lookout for predators for he had many enemies in the forest.

In particular, the rabbit was fearful of a fox that lived in the forest.  The forest was a very wily and cunning creature.  He would usually only eat the leftover meals of the other animals like the tigers, cheetahs, etc.  He had long wanted to get the rabbit.  He thought of the rabbit as a tasty snack. 
More than once he had almost caught him.  Once, the rabbit escaped just in time.  The rabbit became very fearful.  He greatly limited his movement and stayed close to his burrow.  He no longer went for long walks with his friend, the squirrel.

The squirrel was unhappy see the sad predicament of his friend.  His active and happy friend had turned depressed and sullen.  The squirrel feared for his friend’s health.  He was also extremely angry at the fox for terrorizing his friend this way.

The squirrel pondered over the sad situation for a long time.  Suddenly, he hit upon an idea.  He was pleased with himself.  He had always thought of himself as clever.  The next day, when he met the rabbit, the squirrel told him about the plan.  “Don’t worry”, he said, “We will teach that rascal of a fox a lesson he will never forget”.  The rabbit was pleased and happy that he had such a good friend like the squirrel.

The next day early in the morning before the other animals in the forest had woken up; the squirrel climbed down from the tree and went to meet the rabbit.  He called out into the burrow for his friend.  The rabbit came out.  The two friends then went to a place not far from the burrow.  They had to be quick and finish the first part of the plan before the fox woke up.

They set about digging a small pit.  The rabbit was good at digging with his paws.  In no time, he had made a small pit about two feet deep.  The squirrel then ran to his tree.  At the foot of the tree he had placed a pile of thorns and some sharp sticks.  He called over to the rabbit to help him.

The two friends carried the material to the pit.  Then they carefully placed the thorns and the sharp sticks in the pit.  They then placed a few leaves on top of it.  As per the next part of the plan, the rabbit lay just besides the pit and pretended to be injured.  This was a clever ruse.  Every now and then the rabbit would let out screams and shrieks like an injured animal.

The fox woke up hearing the commotion.  He looked up from his den and saw the rabbit.  “Hee! Hee!” he laughed.   “Breakfast has come to my den today”, he told himself.

Smacking his lips, he walked towards the rabbit which still continued to pretend he was hurt.  As the fox came close, the rabbit grew afraid but still managed to stay just as the squirrel told him.  The fox came nearer and nearer with a wicked grin on his face.  As he came close enough, he pounced on the rabbit.  This is what the two little animals had planned.  Just as the fox launched himself in the air, the rabbit deftly moved aside.  The fox landed with a thud on the bed of dry leaves the two friends had carefully constructed.  The thorns hidden beneath the leaves pierced him.  He yelped in pain.  But he could not extricate himself from the pit.

He lay there bruised and bleeding for many hours.  A troop of monkeys which were passing by heard his cries.  Taking pity on the fox, they pulled him out of the thorny pit.  Scared and ashamed of the experience, the wily fox left the forest for good.  The rabbit and his friend, the squirrel lived happily.
Children, this story teaches us not harass the weak and vulnerable people among us.  We must protect those who are weak.  This story also teaches us how by using our mind we can defeat adversaries who are stronger than we are.

Chandrakant was a merchant who lived in the town of Saharanpur.  He had a flourishing business there.  He traded in glassware.  His shop was well known for the variety of glassware he offered.  His customers were from the many nearby towns and cities.  Needless to say, he was a very wealthy man.  Chandrakant was also a philanthropist.  He was a kind and generous man who donated liberally to charities and to people in need.

One day, Chandrakant was passing through a forest.  He was returning after attending the wedding of his friend’s daughter.  It was evening and the sun was beginning to set.  He saw a goat struggling in the distance.  The goat was being chased by a pack of wolves.  The goat was tired and exhausted.  Just as Chandrakant was watching, it fell down.  The vicious pack of wolves, pounced upon the defenceless animal.  They bit it with their sharp teeth.  The goat was wildly flailing its feet in a bid to fend off the assault.  But it was useless.  The wolves were too many.

Chandrakant was shocked at this cruel sight.  He rushed to the spot.  His servants who were travelling with him, seeing their master, rushed there too.  Each one of them was carrying a stout stick as a protection against thieves.

They rained blows on the frenzied wolves with the sticks.  The wolves fled from the spot with yelps of pain.    With the wolves driven off, Chandrakant bent over the poor goat.  The goat was badly bitten and was in great pain.  He asked one of his servants to fetch some cloth and bandaged the goat’s wounds.

Looking around, He spotted a plant in the forest.  He knew that its leaves were good medicine for wounds. A servant made a paste of the leaves with a stone and applied it to the goat’s wounds.  Chandrakant had an idea.  He would take the goat home.  One of his servants, gently lifted the goat and placed it across his shoulders as if it were a child and carried it home.

Chandrakant, kept the goat in his farm and tended to it.  The goat soon recovered completely.  A few weeks later, the goat gave birth to a young kid.  Chandrakant was immensely happy.  He considered the goat auspicious.  He named the goat Lajwanti.   Lajwanti gave milk to Chandrakant’s household.  This set Chandrakant thinking.  “Why should I not buy more goats?”, he thought.

He ordered a trusted servant to go to the weekly market and buy four goats.  The servants did as he was told.  Soon, Chandrakant had a flock of goats at his home.  He took great care of his goats.  But, he always had a soft corner for Lajwanti, his first goat.  He made a special silken stole which he put on Lajwanti’s neck.  Lajwanti was white in colour and the silken stole looked good on her.  Lajwanti was very happy with the special cloth.  However, she soon became very proud.  She began to think that she was a special goat.

The other goats noticed the change in her.  “I am a special goat, why should I mingle with the other goats?”, she told herself.  When the servants took the goats out to graze in the grasslands outside the town, Lajwanti kept her distance.  She always walked behind the other goats, as a mark of her perceived superiority, the silk stole around her neck fluttering in the wind.

Every now and then, the servants would try to nudge her to move fast along with the rest of the flock.  But Lajwanti would not listen.  The servants, knowing that that Lajwanti was their master’s favourite, left her alone.

One day, the flock had gone grazing as usual.  Lajwanti had gone with them.  It was raining and dusk fell earlier than usual.  The servants were in a hurry to get the flock home.  Lajwanti as usual was walking behind the flock.  The servants shouted, cajoled and prodded the flock to walk closer and faster.  But Lajwanti, as usually, did not pay heed to their calls.

It was soon quite dark.  The servants had forgotten about Lajwanti.  They assumed that she would have joined the flock.  Lajwanti, though, had fallen far behind.

Unknown to Lajwanti, a pack of wolves was wandering close by.  The pack was in search of prey.  One of the wolves spotted Lajwanti.  Soon, the whole pack had pounced on her.  By then, it had started raining.  The servants and the flock had moved and were sheltering in a cave far away.  There was no one to save Lajwanti this time.  The wolves killed her and ate her.

Children, this story teaches us to follow the instructions of those who are there to guide us.  It also teaches us not to be proud.  We need to mingle with others and be friends with everyone.

There was an old abandoned well in a forest.  It was a very old well.  Once upon a time, the well was full of water and people from the surrounding villages used to draw water from it.  However, over the years, the well had gradually fallen into disuse.  The water level in the well had gradually fallen as the rains had failed for a couple of years.  The water was now muddy and unfit for use for either drinking or washing.  People no longer came to draw water from the well.

The well was now home to a colony of frogs.  The frog lived by eating the little insects which lived in the water.  On the wall of well were some small steps which led out of the well and into the forest.  Sometimes, the frogs would hop up the steps and reach the land outside the well.  They would move around in search of some food.  They would be lucky to find a tasty grasshopper or a dragonfly.  Having eaten their fill, they would then return to the safety of their home in the well.

This went on for several months.  One day, a quarrel broke out between two frogs over an insect both of them claimed to have caught.  They two frogs argued with each other.  Soon their friends joined in support of the two frogs.  The argument soon turned into a bitter fight with the other frogs taking sides.  Thus the colony was divided into two groups now.  The frogs stopped talking to one another.  The two groups of frogs divided the well into two parts.  From then on, the frogs did not venture on to the group of the rival side.  They caught insects on their side alone.

This hostile environment continued for many days.  One day, another fight broke out between two frogs belonging to the rival groups.  One group claimed that a frog from the opposite side had entered their area to catch an insect.  The fight became very violent and many frogs were injured in the clash. 
One day, a particularly violent fight left many frogs injured.  The leader of one of the groups, Rajayona was also among the injured frogs.  Rajayona was an elderly frog.  He was angry at the insult.  He could not move for many days.  After he recovered, Rajayona decided to take revenge on the other frogs.  He could not live together in the same well with them.  He pondered over what he could do for many days.  He and his friends could not defeat the other group of frogs.  They were too strong for them.

One day, Rajayona hopped over the steps of the well and came up to the forest.  The previous few days had been too much for him.  Bruised and battered, he now needed some fresh air and a change of environment.  The forest and its many delights had a soothing influence on him.  Rajayona, though, was still angry and resentful.

As Rajayona, was walking through the forest, he came across a tortoise.  The tortoise asked him the reason for his sorrowful appearance.  Rajayona, at first, pretended not to listen to him.  The tortoise asked him again.  Rajayona narrated the story of the frogs and their quarrels in the well.  He told the tortoise how he and his followers had got beaten up.

The tortoise told him that he knew of a snake which lived further away.  The snake, he said, would gobble up his enemies.  Rajayona was too angry to think much of the idea.  He just wanted to get rid of the rival frogs.   Nevertheless, Rajayona was afraid of the snake.  But the tortoise reassured him saying that the snake would eat only the frogs he was asked to eat.  Rajayona was still nervous.  The tortoise then took him to the snake’s hole under a rock and called out to the snake.  The snake slithered out of its hole.  The tortoise told the snake of Rajayona’s plight and asked for his help.
The snake gladly agreed.  He was happy at the prospect of easy meals for a few days.  Rajayona, thus led the snake to the well.  The sight of the snake led the frogs scurrying under water.  The snake crawled down the well and found a hole in the wall of the well.  It made its home there.

Over the next few days, the snake gobbled up the enemies of Rajayona one by one.  Rajayona was pleased.  He had gotten rid of his enemies.  The well would now belong to only him and his friends.  Soon, all the frogs of the rival group had been eliminated.  Rajayona and his friends were delighted.
But their joy was short lived.  A week later, Rajayona was shocked to find one of his own followers go missing.  The other frogs searched everywhere in the well.  Scout parties were sent into the forest to see if the frog had gone to the forest.  But no trace of the missing frog could be found.  A few days later, two more frogs went missing.  Rajayona was now greatly disturbed and rather frightened.

He now knew what was happening.  The snake was hunting his own followers.  He cursed himself for being such a fool.  Consumed by anger and a thirst for revenge, he had brought about the destruction of his own kind.  But it was too late.  He was too afraid to confront his snake.

That evening, he quietly summoned his followers and told him about the tragedy that was unfolding.  His followers were too scared even to speak.  The next morning, before dawn, the Rajayona and his followed sneaked out of the well.  The snake was asleep in its hole.

Rajayona and his followers reached the forest.  They were homeless now.  They spent the rest of their lives wandering about the forest.  Every now and then, Rajayona would think of the well and the happy times he spent in it along with the other frogs and how he lost it because he wanted to see his rivals punished.

Children, this story tell us how we should always be able to reconcile our differences even with people who differ with us.  Had the frogs sorted out their differences when the first argument over the insect had cropped up, all of them could have lived in peace in the well.