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The Wicked Lion and the Wise Elephant

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.

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