Billu, the dog, woke up in the morning. It was still dark and the streets were still deserted. The sun was just about to rise in the eastern sky. As he lazily looked around at the few people who walked in the streets in the morning hours, he felt the pangs of hunger in his stomach. He had not eaten in three days. He was famished.
Billu had to find food now. He began to walk slowly. There was a bus stand in that part of the town. If he were lucky, he may find some food there. When he reached the bus stand, he was disappointed. He could see a group of monkeys which had descended from the nearby trees. He knew he would not find anything. The monkeys had made a clean sweep of the place.
Dejected, he lay down on the side of the road. Just then he head a soft thud near him. When he turned to see, he saw a half eaten pizza on the ground and car speeding by near him. He could see a rich lady in the car.
The pizza had been thrown by the rich lady. Billu pounced on the sandwich and gobbled it up. He was happy to eat and felt stronger. He looked at the direction of the car. The car stopped in front of a large bungalow. The rich lady got out of the car. A little brown dog jumped out of the car after her. The dog followed its master and entered the house.
Billu stood at a distance. He saw the large bungalow painted white and the immense green lawns in front. The brown dog was near the gate.
Billu greeted him to which the dog responded. Billu then started talking to the dog. The dog told him about his life and his mistress. He told him that he was born in a bungalow in a town far away. He told him of how he was bought by his mistress and had lived with her ever since.
Billu, for his part, told the dog his own story. He told him about his daily life. He also told him about his suffering and how he sometimes had to go without food. The brown dog told him about his pampered lifestyle and the rich food which his mistress provided. The dog also showed him his kennel (a small wooded house made for a dog) where he stayed. Billu was overcome with sadness at his own unfortunate condition. He heard with envy at the lifestyle of the brown dog.
The dog, too was moved with sympathy at the sad condition of Billu. He never knew what it was to be hungry. He always had a place to stay and travelled with his mistress in her own car. The brown dog was kind. He looked at Billu and said,” Why don’t you come over with me . I will ask my mistress to give you a home. I am sure she will agree.” “ Come tomorrow with you baggages.”, it said, “ We will live together as friends.” Billu was delighted. He went home very happy. He imagined what it would be to live in a bungalow and have food ready when he wanted. He would never have to go hungry again.
The next morning, Billu woke up early. In fact, he could hardly sleep that night. He went the next morning to the house. The brown dog was there. The watchman opened the gate for Billu. As Billu entered, he was shown his new home where he would be staying. He was so happy. A plate of dog biscuits was placed before him. He ate the biscuits happily. He would never have to worry about food forever.
Just then, he noticed something he had not paid attention to so far - a chain on the brown dog’s neck. It was a long chain. Billu asked the brown dog what the chain was for. The dog replied that it would be tied to a post near its kennel during the day. When the lady wanted to go for a walk, she would hold the chain and the brown dog would run by her side.
Billu was shocked to hear this. Joining the brown dog would mean losing a life of freedom. True, he had to suffer and go hungry. But at least he had freedom. He could go where he wanted. However difficult, that was far better than a lifetime in chains.
Billu apologised to his friend and left the bungalow. He said that he could not join him.
Often, he would see the brown dog go out with its mistress. They met quite often until the lady shifted her house to another town.
Children, this story teaches us to be content with what we have. Too often, people make hasty decisions and end up in a situation worse than where they were. It also teaches us the value of independence and freedom to live life on our own terms