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.
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.