The Bed Time Stories That I weaved and narrated simultaneously - as compelled by my daughters Nikhila and Krishna.

My first child Nikhila is very comfortable with whatever story I tell her. Hence it was a cakewalk for me to weave for her bedtime stories and narrate them (one for a night of course!) simultaneously. My second child Krishna (my 5 year old daughter) is different. Her habit is to demand a bedtime story with characters of her choice. There were nights she demanded three stories at a stretch with characters of her choice. Subsequently I was able to strike a deal with her to restrict the demand to one story a night, with much difficulty. The characters she prescribes are astonishingly like: a woodpecker, an aunt and a Tata – an old man generally referred to as Tata the Grand Papa. The condition is that I should start the story as soon as she declares the characters in it! It is intellectually very stimulating and sometime very embarrassing for me on certain nights. I have with much difficulty remembered some of these stories and reproduced them in black and white with a hope that you enjoy reading them. In the night of 2nd December 2004 she ordered me to weave a story with a little frog and a big buffalo! Please read my struggle:

1. The Little Frog and the Big Buffalo
One day a Little Frog happens to see a buffalo on its way to the pond and is stopped by it. The little frog got surprised. What the hell are you doing by jumping like this? Yelled the big buffalo at the little frog This is how I walk responded the frog with a surprise You have got four legs like any other animal and why can’t you just walk? Buffalo again yelled with the same anger. Now the little frog understood the confusion the big buffalo had and it turned upside down and asked: Look my dear big buffalo how my legs are made. I do have four legs but the hind ones are differently made hence I can’t walk and I can only jump to cover distances. Ho I am sorry – pleaded the big buffalo

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I am really sorry for showing my anger at you without knowing the reason. I shall be your friend from now on wards and I shall carry you now to wherever you want to go. Please let me know where do you want to go – requested the buffalo The little frog felt very happy with the sudden change in the behavior of the big buffalo. I need to got to the pond near that banyan tree but I do not know how to climb on to your back – said the little frog Do not worry I shall sit down so that with one leap you can jump on to my back – suggested the big buffalo The frog did as suggested but the smooth skin of the buffalo made its efforts futile. Both the big buffalo and the little frog were disappointed but continued their efforts. At one point the frog could jump on to the back of the buffalo but as the big buffalo started standing up it had slipped down. As their struggle continued they saw Dr.Dove coming towards them. (This Dr. Dove character was my creation. I had told a series of stories to my elder daughter with this character as a rescuer of animals from illness and various troubles in the forest with its creative ideas) What’s the matter why are you here asked Dr.Dove by alighting on the branch of a neem tree near them. I made a promise to carry this small frog on my back to the pond near that banyan tree but it has become difficult for this small frog to reach my back. You want to carry the frog on your back. Isn’t it? Asked Dr.Dove. Yes told the buffalo Then I have suggestion to you. You both come along with me lead Dr.Dove towards the pond. All three reached the pond. Dear small frog you first jump into the water – said Dr.Dove The small frog jumped into the water and looked up by turning back towards the buffalo and Dr.Dove. Now dear Buffalo you walk into the water and sit down in such a way that your back is just touching the surface of the water level in the pond – said Dr.Dove.

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The big buffalo did as suggested. The little frog understood what is to be done. Immediately it jumped onto the back of the buffalo with ease and settled down there. Soon the buffalo too understood and came slowly out of the water with the little frog on its back. The little frog and the big buffalo were happy and thanked Dr.Dove. Now tell me where shall I take you - asked the big buffalo Not to the pond again but back to my home in the woods in the north pointed the little frog. Seeing their happiness Dr.Dove flew away.

2. A winter night in the Forest
The Story in the night of 3rd December 2004. Characters: All Animals in the forest. It was a winter night and the cool breeze is making animals seek some shelter and a cover on their bodies. The sparrows entered their nests, the rabbits went into their burrows, the parrots went into the holes on the tree trunks, the squirrels hide into the shoots of the coconut tree. Thus all those birds and animals settled down to face the chill night. Dr.Dove was watching all these animals in the bright moon light from its whole on the nearby rocky hill. By mid night the chillness increased and a couple of crows had fallen seriously ill for the exposure to the severe cold. As the Sun rises all the animals and birds started coming out and assembled at the bottom of the rocky hill. What a cold it was last night. The winter has just begun now. By January it would be very cold. If the cold winds blow like this we will certainly reduce in number – said a crane that lives on the nearby thorn bushes. I could hear the sound of my teeth as I shivered in the night – said a dog. Updated on 20/11/2006

Though we are big we too feel the cold said an elephant. Though I am in my Den I too felt it. Here comes an idea – said Dr.Dove by landing on a big stone. We all know that the Lion lives in a big den in this hill. I have seen another small den that can comfortable accommodate our Lion. It is just on the other side of this Hill. I feel that the Lion can leave this big den and occupy the small one so that those animals that have no home can take shelter in the big den. Thus they can protect themselves from exposing to the severe cold. As soon as Dr.Dove completed telling this, the lion roared and rejected the idea. I need this big den let animals seek shelter in the small den that you had located. Looking at the elephants Dr.Dove said – Dear Lion this is only for the winter months and rainy days the rest of the time you can use this big den. The elephants trumpeted in support of this statement and urged the lion to agree. Seeing the unity and the support Dr.Dove got from the herd of Elephants the Lion said : OK I agree. The animals disbursed in search of food. It was night again. All those animals that have no home gathered in the big den and felt good to be there. As the night advances the cold winds blew more frequently and making the animals shiver even in the Den. Some how they spent the night and gathered again at the bottom of the hill to share their experiences. Since the den is not so deep it can protect us partially from the severe cold. We have to live with it – opined the deer. Having listened to this discussion, Dr.Dove said: I have another idea to help you keep warm. You all can collect the twigs and our elephant friends can bring dried logs in the forest to the den. As mid night one of you can make these twigs and dried logs into a small heap and set fire. Then the den gets the warmth from this fire. Great idea jumped a monkey.

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That night the animals make their own hearth and felt the warmth and slept comfortably. The animals make it a practice. ***

3. A squirrel in a winter night in the night of 19
th

The story

December 2004.

You are aware that during winter the trees shed leaves and make the birds and other small animals that live on them to face cold nights. One cold night a squirrel found it difficult to bear the cold. It was on a search for a place that can protect it from the cold. It ran into the parasol of a hut that belongs to an old man who lives on the outskirts of the forest. As soon as the squirrel started moving in the parasol of his hut the old man heard the sound of it, came out and found the squirrel shivering with cold. He extended his hand and waved his fingers to come on to it. The squirrel for a moment kept quite and it recalled what all it had seen this old man doing earlier. It appeared from this recalling that this old man is a good one. It slowly crawled onto the hand of the old man who caressed it with his another hand and took it in side. It was very warmth inside the hurt and it made the squirrel stop shivering soon and fall asleep. It slept for more than three hours and woke up with the sound of the cupboard door opened by the old man. The old man noticed this and came near the squirrel with a hot cup of tomato soup. He fed the squirrel with the spoon and emptied the cup. The squirrel became active and found the holes in the roof of the hut. The old man slept again. As the day breaks out, the old man woke up and found searched for the squirrel in vain. He thought that it had gone back to the forest. He became busy with his daily chores. As he was about to rest for a nap after the lunch, he heard a noise on the top of the roof. He looked up and found that the holes on the roof are being filled with a lump of fiber. He went out to find out who was at work and saw the squirrel seriously filling the holes one after the other first with the fiber and topping it with a big leaf meticulously.

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The old man came inside and started doing some thing. The squirrel on the top of the roof completed its job and entered the hut to find out if it missed any hole. The old man thanked the squirrel and offered a cup of hot milk. The squirrel drank it merrily. The old man asked: how did get the fiber and the leaves to fill all the holes at once? I came out in the morning when you were still sleeping, started collecting the fiber and leaves from the nearby creeper in small quantities and brought them to the rooftop. Once I felt I had enough material to fill the holes I started doing the job that I know well. Though you are a small animal you have a big mind to think and great strength to do the job. I thank you for your kind help. You can live with me, if you want – said the old man. The squirrel agreed to it by waving its tail and the head in joy. Indeed the holes were well filled and the rainfall that occurred a couple of days later made it further firm and there was no leakage in the hut. They lived together for a long time in the same hut. *****

4.The story in the night of 20th December, 2004.
The characters suggested by Krishna: the Lion and a mouse. One day a mouse was in search of food in the forest. While searching it came near the den of a lion and smelt something very good. Guided by the smell, it went inside the den and found several pieces of meat of an animal that was eaten by the lion. The mouse ate quite a few pieces. Seeing the many pieces that are left over there, it has decided to stay on so that it can eat it in the night also. Having eaten so much meat it was fast asleep within minutes. It has become dark and the Lion returned to its den. Since it was dark it could not see the mouse sleeping on the floor. The Lion had brought with it a piece of a lamb and ate it fully, leaving the bones aside.

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The Lion after sometime had slept off and started snoring loudly. The lion’s snoring woke up the mouse. The mouse ran helter-skelter and bumped on the lion’s leg. The mouse felt the fur on the leg smooth and started exploring it. As it reached the ear of the lion, the lion got disturbed and woke up with a sudden jerk that made the mouse slip down. Who is here? – the lion roared. The little mouse with a feeble voice replied, “ I am a mouse here”. How dare you disturb my sleep and where are you? – again shouted the lion. I am sorry and I am here – said the mouse. The Lion lit a lamp and searched for the mouse. It found the den very clean with no pieces of meat and bones and finally it saw a mouse in a corner of its den shivering with fear. The mouse looked pretty. The lion thought for a while. It thought that since the mouse was here its den is kept clean otherwise it would be stinking with meat pieces and bones all around. Why not allow this mouse to be here so that it keeps the den clean by eating away the bones and leftover meat – thus the lion thought about. Ok tell me why did to enter my den? – The lion continued its question. The mouse replied with folded hands: I was in search of food and the smell of the bones and meat pieces lead me to your den. I am sorry, I shall leave now, please allow me go”. Ok, if you want to stay here you can do so, but you shall not disturb my sleep. The fear of the mouse did not reduce. So it has repeated:” Please allow me go”. Seeing the mouse in that fearful condition, the lion felt sorry for it and said in a very soft tone: Oh little mouse do not get frightened. Just listen to me carefully. I hunt everyday and bring the carcass of some animal. I do not eat it fully. You are a small animal and hence you can easily eat the leftovers and be happy. If you like eating like this without searching for food, you can stay here. The mouse was surprised and with happiness it said “ Yes Mr. Lion, I shall stay in the den” One more condition: Said the lion. You must keep the den clean by eating all the leftover pieces of meat and bones. If you can not eat fully, you shall carry them away and keep the den clean. OK Mr. Lion said the mouse.

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OK now you sleep in that corner and I shall sleep here in the middle of the den: saying this the lion went to sleep. Both the lion and the mouse were fast asleep. The mouse has a habit of rolling freely on the floor while sleeping. So, by midnight the mouse came nearer to the lion and started feeling its warmth and went further deep into the sleep. In the sleep it started comforting itself by placing itself in the fold of the lion’s leg. The lion too felt it OK and adjusted its leg to allow the mouse to sleep. The early rays of the sun passing through the crack in the den fell on the lion’s eyes and made it wake up. As it opened its eyes, it found the mouse sleeping innocently well on its leg. The lion watched the mouse for sometime and later it woke up the mouse gently with its paw. The mouse woke up and looked straight into the face of the lion that appeared so big as it was very close. It cried loudly and tried to jump out but prevented gently by the lion. Do be frightened, you have slept on my leg and hence I woke you up: said the lion. Looking straight into the eyes of the lion the mouse broke into peels of laughter. Seeing mouse the lion too started laughing. Together the lion and the mouse lived forever…. ***

5. The story for night of 29th December 2004.
Characters: the tiger and the lion. One day a tiger felt that it was more powerful than the lion and wanted to challenge the lion. It went near the lion’s den and started shouting and making all kids of sounds. It was noon and the lion was fast asleep after a meal. The sounds created by the tiger woke up lion. Who is there? Shouted the lion. There was no reply but the shouts of the tiger increased. The lion came out of its den and stood in front of the tiger that was shouting continuously.

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Staring deep into the tiger’s eys the lion asked: Why are you disturbing me, you can go to any other place in the forest and shout as loudly as you can. But I never allow you to disturb me any more. The tiger looked furiously at the lion and said: Look this forest belongs to all and so is this place too. You have no right to ask me to vacate this. I shall continue to be here and shout, as I like. In the meantime an elephant that was passing by noticed the argument between the tiger and the lion and came. Stop quarrelling. elephant. What is the problem let me know: demanded the

The lion explained the reason and the tiger stood to its stance. The elephant felt helpless to resolve their conflict. Then came Dr.Dove. It has enquired from the elephant: What is going on here? Generally I do not see a tiger and a lion together? The elephant reported the matter briefly. That’s the entire problem? Yelled Dr.Dove. The elephant was surprised at the casual attitude of Dr.Dove. Don’t you think it is not a problem at all? : The elephant asked. Yes it is very much a problem but not at all a difficult one to solve. The elephant got further perplexed with this response from Dr.Dove. Dr.Dove now took the lead and starting flying in-between the tiger and the lion. The tiger and the lion got disturbed with this. Seeing them giving a pause to their loud arguments, Dr. Pigeon proposed: Dear friends you can solve the problem. How both the tiger and the lion shouted. Very simple the tiger can continue to shout and the lion can continue to sleep: said Dr. Pigeon. You stupid Dr.Dove. You are fit only to pull out the thorns from the feet, clear dust from the eyes and treat cut injuries of the animals but not the problems like this – yelled the lion. Updated on 20/11/2006

The tiger joined the lion and said: leave us alone we shall solve our problems ourselves. No my dear friends, please listen to me. Dr. Pigeon requested the lion to follow and enter the den quickly. The lion thought for a while and then followed Dr.Dove. As the lion entered the den, Dr.Dove took out two lumps of cotton from its kit and approached the Lion. Mr. Lion please listen to me these lumps of cotton help you proof yourself from the sound pollution being made by the Tiger. Please place these lumps one each in to your ears and experience for yourself. The lion did as suggested and both the lion and Dr.Dove came out the den silently. Dr.Dove told the tiger: Mr. Tiger please shout as loudly as you can you will have no objection from the Lion. The tiger shouted loudly and the lion felt no disturbance. The lion retuned to its den greeting the Pigeon by waving its paw. The tiger got furious at this gesture and continue shouting at its best – also puzzled as to why the lion has become so calm. Seeing this confused state of the tiger Dr.Dove told: Mr. Tiger I told the tiger of your power and advised him not to quarrel with you. You are more powerful than the lion. See the lion itself has agreed to it. Tiger felt very happy and gently stroked Dr.Dove with its claw in appreciation of its help. Then Dr.Dove told: Mr. Tiger you should not stay here that too before a lion’s den. Because seeing you here other animals might feel that you are serving the lion. So I suggest that you should to that hilltop and live there. Yes, Dr.Dove I shall follow your advice and I thank you for this: saying this the tiger proceeded to the hilltop. The elephant was thrilled at this sudden change and astonishingly looked at Dr. Dove. Dr.Dove fluttered its wings and flew towards south. *** Updated on 20/11/2006

6. The Scolding Little bird.
(Narrated Told in the night of 26th Jan., ’05) It was early in the morning. The Little bird woke up with the sudden increase in the volume of her mother’s voice. The little bird came out of the nest and heard her mother scolding her sister for not dusting her nest. The words of scolding appealed this little bird like a sweet music on that day. The entire day it had used these words – you stupid, dirty fellow, rascal, useless fellow, lazy creature, filthy animal, etc. The way it uses these words to scold amuses others rather than hurting them. Like a wild fire the news about the amusing way of scolding by this little bird has spread in the forest. The animals big and small, the big birds, even the big insects have planned to visit this bird and get scolded by it. On the second day came the elephant – the first animal to get the scolding from this little bird. The little bird scolded the elephant continuously for three minutes. Seeing this little bird scolding, the elephant rolled on the floor with peels of laughter. Seeing the elephant in that condition the little bird further added some unknown words to add to the abuses. This made the elephant gasp for its breath. The elephant spread the news of the amusing way of scolding by the little bird further by adding its own experience. The entire forest has been buzzing with this news and the several animals including the lions have started journeying towards this little bird’s place. Several animals waiting to see the process of scolding keenly surrounded the neem tree on which this little bird lives. Since the Lion was the king there, it has decided to get the scolding first. The mother of the little bird, brought the little bird and made it sit on a small stone. The lion approached the little bird and greeted by waving its head front and back. The little bird got annoyed and started scolding it as usual. The lion was not able to control its laughter. Seeing the struggle of the lion all the animals watching this unique scolding event started laughing. The lion’s laughter increased and ended with a big roar.

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That made the little bird to stop scolding and it hugged its mother saying, “I shall never scold any one from now on” All the animals scolded the lion for this and disbursed to their places

7. The Breathing Stone!
(Characters prescribed by Krishna: Crocodiles and squirrels – narrated in the night of 1 Feb. ‘05) In their search for a viable place that offers food continuously a family of squirrels migrated to the lakeside and started living there on the Palm trees. The favourite place for the kids in this squirrels family is the Palm tree that leans towards the lake almost touching the surface of the water. On the second day of their moving to the lakeside place and living on the palm trees, the baby squirrels found a long rocklike thing floating on the water near the palm tree that leaned towards the water. Without a second thought the three baby squirrels jumped onto the long rocklike thing floating on the water- half submerged. The squirrels ran all across and they found an up and down movement in the middle of the thing. The squirrels stood there for sometime to experience the movement and felt happy. With call of their mother the squirrels jumped back to the palm tree and went away. No sooner did they see their mom, they competed with each other to narrate their unique experience. One baby squirrel said “ Mom it is a breathing stone floating on the wall. Next day it was noon, the crocodiles in the lake had their lunch. Three of them swam across the lake and reached the other side of the lake where the squirrels live. The baby squirrels came out with their parents in amazement to find the three long black rocklike bodies floating on the water near the palm tree. The baby squirrels jumped on to one of the crocodiles with merriment and soon followed their parents. All the squirrels experienced the up & down movement to their joy and returned to their home after an hour or so.

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In the morning they came out to check whether these three crocodiles look like long black rocks floating on the water. They did not find any. As they were preparing for their lunch they saw their old friend Dr.Dove their long time friend. All the squirrels shared with the Pigeon their experiences of playing on the breathing black long rock that floats on the lake near the leaning palm tree. They had compelled Dr.Dove to have lunch with them. Soon after having the lunch the baby squirrels lead Dr.Dove to the leaning palm tree. They found – this time – six black long bodies floating on water. The squirrels were lost at the sight of this. Dr.Dove understood the reason for their exhilaration. It took some time to dissuade them to continue playing on the floating crocodiles in the water. Once the squirrels came back to the palm tree Dr.Dove told them the reality. You were living in the middle of the forest so far and have not seen the crocodiles that live in big lakes, streams in the forest and prey on animals that pass through. Now I shall prove how they look like. Saying this Dr.Dove started looking in all directions. The squirrels were yet to come to terms with what Dr.Dove described. In the meantime Dr.Dove spotted an elephant. Do not go anywhere and stay here. I shall bring that elephant here to help you see the crocodile. In a few minutes time Dr.Dove returned by sitting on the scalp of an elephant that holds a big stick with its trunk. Please disturb these crocodiles with this stick My Dear Elephant – said Dr.Dove The elephant executed its request by giving a jolt to the crocodile that floats in the middle of six. With this the crocodile surfaced its huge long mouth and opened it in a swift movement. This sudden movement, made the remaining 5 crocodiles move towards the stick. Thus they have shown their full bodies to the squirrels. The squirrels got frightened with the movement of crocodiles and requested Dr.Dove to bring back Mr. Elephant. With in a few minutes the crocodiles calmed down. One of them came out and said: Actually we feel the feather touch of these little squirrels when they play on us. We do not eat them. They can play on us when we come here to rest after lunch.

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The baby squirrels jumped with joy and said: Thank you crocodiles. You do not frighten us when you sleep. But sleep always by floating near this palm tree that leans to the water. The crocodiles laughed and said OK; and submerged into the water. The elephant felt happy for the gesture of the crocodiles The squirrels family thanked Dr.Dove for the help it rendered to educate them. As it was noon and sun was severe all of them rested in the shade of the nearby banyan tree.

8. The return of the birds
night)

(story of 8th Feb.’05

A group of birds living on the banyan tree in the forest got an unusual guest from the nearby city. It is a sparrow that got stuck in the tarpaulin of an empty truck headed towards the forest. As soon as the tarpaulin was dragged to load the forest produce, the sparrow freed itself off and perched on the nearby banyan tree. This sparrow was confused to see trees and hills everywhere and wondering what to do. Noticing the sparrow in this state, a sparrow on the nearby branch tried to comfort it by asking “ are you new to this place?” The city sparrow answered simply “ YES I am from the city”. Do you want something to eat? – the forest sparrow asked again Yes – said the city sparrow Then come along with me, I shall help you find some worms to feed on. Grains to feed on? – Questioned the city sparrow Yes, do you like them most? – asked the forest sparrow. No, we do not eat worms; we eat cooked rice, various preparations that people make in excess and through them in the dustbins. These preparations are very taste and we eat them – said the city sparrow.

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With this, the forest sparrow got interested in the kind of food that is available in the city and started asking many questions. The final question being: Suppose I also come to city along with my family, would there be sufficient food to eat? Yes, there is lots of food being wasted every day before the back of several good hotels. You can certainly come, if you wish. With the narration of various foods that the city sparrows get to eat, the forest sparrow has decided to migrate to city along with its family and its kith and kin, if they too are interested. Both the sparrows returned to the banyan tree after eating some grains in the nearby wheat field. By that time all other sparrows too have returned to the rest for a siesta after lunch. The scene encouraged the forest sparrow that accompanied the city sparrow to speak about the city life. The city sparrow spoke at length and mesmerized all. By evening, all the sparrows living on the banyan tree have decided to migrate to the city. The truck that came in the morning was getting loaded with the forest produce – tamarind, various roots, fruits, flowers, some logs and bamboos. The sparrows spotted this and decided to board the same to go to the city. The truck started in the evening and soon the sparrows started perching on the roof of the cabin one by one. The city sparrow asked all the sparrows to fly off as soon as the truck enters the city. No sooner the truck entered the city – in the early hours of the day - did the birds fly off from it. All the sparrows gathered on a neem tree near a big building. The city sparrow heaved a sigh of relief and said: I am back in the city. The forest sparrows were amazed at the streetlights, the avenue plantations and the shining roads. As the day breaks the forest sparrows found several birds flying over the large round units (dust bins) to feed on the leftovers of the food wasted last night. The city sparrow ordered at the forest sparrows to go and feast on. With a full night journey, the sparrows got tired and felt very hungry. They found some remains falling on the floor and ate them fully. The food was really very tasty – the forest sparrows felt. By 7.00 am the activity in the city got increased. The sparrows settled on the nearby avenue plantations to witness the life of the city. By 9.00 am the city was abuzz with vehicular traffic, vendors, people and stray animals. The forest sparrows found it difficult to breath the air as Updated on 20/11/2006

it is thoroughly polluted with emissions from the motor vehicles. The atmosphere got heated up. The forest sparrows felt further suffocated. They searched for a good source of water to drink in vain. They had to get contended with the muddy water or the droplets from the leaking public taps with much difficulty. They could not sleep nor could they rest. They became restless. The impact of pollution (air, water and sound) again started increasing at 4.00 pm and reached its peak at 7.00 pm. By that time the forest sparrows experienced the hell. By 10.00pm the rush on the roads vanished, the shops were closed but the glaring street lights pose another threat to the sleep of these forest birds. How do you sleep in this city that has not night time? – wondered a forest sparrow. It is quite OK with us. You all can get used to it soon – said one of the city sparrow. To hell with your city, I am back to the forest on my own – said the forest sparrow that befriended first with the city sparrow in the forest. We too shall follow you – yelled the all other forest sparrows. At dawn the forest sparrows started their journey back to the forest. As soon as they reached the forest, they took bath in the large lake, played for sometime and fed themselves on the insects and worms that are trying to infest the nearby mango trees. After having the food to their stomach full, they started praising - how beautiful this forest is and how healthy the life in the forest is. That day they had a long nap and were woken up by a group of different birds. Where had you gone in that truck? Why did you return again to the forest? Will you go back again in that truck? Silence – said a sparrow. I shall answer all your questions but let me tell you first “There is no life in the city for birds like us”

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9. The bathing friends
The story of 19th Feb (05) night It was early summer in the forest. On the mango tree near the foot of the hill lived two parrots. One day a sparrow visited their area in search f food and sat one of the ranches of the mango tree. The sparrow is very small and beautiful. Its presence on the tree attracted the parrots. One of the parrots asked the tiny sparrow: Where are you from? The tiny sparrow: I am from the nearby lakeside. I heard that some new type of worms had infested this tree and I found them here and feasted on them. But this place is very hot, may be because of the rocky hill adjacent. Why don’t you join me for the evening bath in the lake? Evening bath in the lake – both the parrots enquired surprisingly. Yes. You seem to have not gone to the lake so far: said the tine sparrow. Yes. We are excited about it. But tell us how you take bath, as you are very small? No problem at the edge of the lake it is very shallow and I take bath for several times a day. Then please guide us to the Lake. It was already noon and the sun was very severe. The parrots invited the tiny sparrow to their place on the mango tree to rest and protect it from the very bright sunlight. As soon as they settled down, they all had fallen asleep. When the rays of the setting sun touched their eyelids they all woke up and fluttered their wings. Now its time to take bath and cool down from the effects of the scotching sun: said the tiny sparrow. All three of them headed towards the lake. As they reached the lake, the parrots to their surprise saw thousands of birds taking bath in the lake and some are enjoying their play in the water. It was a scene that cannot be described. Soon the tiny sparrow introduced the parrots to its family that was taking bath in the lake and Updated on 20/11/2006

guided them to a safe edge of the lake. Soon the parrots understood the significance of bathing in the lake and enjoyed their bath thoroughly. It has become a habit for the parrots to visit the lake thereafter. One day the parrots were late to arrive at the lake. As they approached the lake they found on the banks of the lake several birds murmuring and watching the several elephants taking bath. The parrots were also afraid of reaching the lake and joined their friend the tiny sparrow. Seeing these birds on the banks of the lake a baby elephant emerged from the group of the elephants taking bath in the lake. The baby elephant came out and straight it went up to the tiny sparrow. Some birds got disturbed but the tiny sparrow was not in the company of the parrots. Hi birds you are so cute. Are you enjoying watching us in the lake?: asked the baby elephant. We are not enjoying seeing you in the lake. Your presence in the lake caused us immense disappointment and inconvenience. This lake has been of great help to us to cool down in this summer. Now we are afraid of entering the lake because of all of you. After hearing the tiny sparrow the bay elephant too felt sad about their plight. It stood there for sometime watching all the birds. It went back to the lake and joined the elephants. The birds watched helplessly. In the lake, the baby elephant started crying. All the elephants stopped taking bath and circled the baby elephant and started enquiring: What happened? Is there a crocodile? Did any one of us hurt you? No: said the baby elephant. I want you all to watch at the bank of the lake. All the elephants turned their heads towards the banks and were surprised to see the colourful birds watching back at them.

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We are bad yelled the Baby elephants. We should not have caused inconvenience to these birds that are waiting to cool themselves in this summer by bathing in the lake like us. I spoke to them and they are all angry with us and since we are huge they are helpless. Hearing this the grand parents of the baby elephant felt very proud of their grand child. They kissed the baby elephants and asked: Darling you have opened all our eyes we should not have caused any inconvenience to these birds, as they too need to chill out. Now we can go there and ask them to join us. No. No. No. They are all afraid of us. The moment any one of you approach them they all will fly away in fear. I have an idea if you all agree we can follow that. To this, again the grand parents kissed the baby elephant and cuddled it with their trunks. We shall go a bit deep into the lake and leave the banks to the birds to take bath. We shall not disturb the birds in any way. Now we shall move in. This proposal received a thumping support from all the elephants. The bay elephant came out of the lake and again straight went to the place where the tiny sparrows along with its new friends the parrots from the goa tree were sitting. Hey! I have good news for you. Look at the lake now. All the birds looked at the lake that was emptied at its edges. The elephants moved inside the lake. Now listen to me. I have told all the elephants not to disturb you in any manner. We all shall take bath deep in the lake and you all can enjoy at the edges – as usual. Hope this is OK with you. Hearing this from the baby elephant all the birds fluttered at once. The tiny sparrow alighted on the trunk of the baby elephant as a mark of its confidence and trust in the words of the baby elephant. The parrots too perched on the head of the baby elephant and started parroting what the baby elephant said. Seeing this all other birds too took liberty to approach the baby elephant. The sudden and lovely touch of the birds giggled the baby elephant. It is a scene worth watching. The elephants – particularly the grand parents of the baby elephant jumped with joy while watching the birds surrounding their grand child. Soon the birds and the elephants have become friends and they Updated on 20/11/2006

bathed in the same lake thereafter for the whole of summer, year after year. ***

10 The Two Squirrels With A Big
Coconut.
The story of 23rd Feb (05) night In a forest there were two squirrels living happily in the coconut plantation. One day the entire coconut plantation was disturbed by the powerful gale winds. These winds have swept the ay coconuts fully and in minutes the ground was helter-skelter with baby coconuts. The squirrels felt happy at once but soon realized that all the baby nuts have fallen along with the flowering bunches and for the coconut trees to flower again and for these flowers to become nuts would take quite a time. What to do? They ate the coconuts and fell asleep. After three days it becomes really difficult to eat only the fallen baby coconuts as they taste differently. Along with the baby coconuts some grown up coconuts too had fallen down. They are several in numbers some are very good and ready to consumption. The squirrels tried to peel out the husk of a coconut in vain and they got tired. Seeing them in that condition Dr.Dove approached them and enquired about their problem. Ok do not worry I can help you solve the problem. All that I want you both to do is to peel out the husk at the back of the nut so that you can drink the water and work further. The squirrels got encouraged with this advice and did as advised. Soon they found a tender place in the nut that needs to be pierced to access the water. Then Dr.Dove held the coconut tightly and pierced it with its beak. The water spilled out. The squirrels in turn drank the water and felt refreshed. Now you should start removing the remaining husk around the nut so that I can help you break it – said Dr.Dove.

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We cannot break the nut as its shell is very hard: said one of the squirrels. Do not worry I have an idea for that too. Soon the squirrels resumed their work and with in an hour they are about to peel out the husk fully. Then Dr.Dove asked them to retain the husk at one end in tact. They did the same way and jumped on the nut and rolled it all around. Now we shall bring you a rope and we shall tie it to this nut at its end that has still got some husk. I have an idea: yelled a squirrel. What is it? Enquired Dr.Dove. There is a money plant that crept on the neem tree nearby it has got several rope like branches. I can cut one of it and bring it over here. Soon the squirrels brought a long rope like branch of a money plant and removed its leaves. The squirrels themselves tied the coconut to the rope like branch of money plant and waited for further instructions. Perching on the nearby banyan tree Dr.Dove thought for a while, flew down and picked up the other end of the trimmed money plant branch with its beak and alighted on the same branch. Come up and join me : said Dr.Dove Soon the squirrels joined Dr.Dove on the branch of the banyan tree. Now lets slowly lift the coconut up. They lifted the coconut up. Now lets through it down all at once by holding on to this end of the rope. As the squirrels are getting ready Dr.Dove told them to wait and listen. We must through it down in such a way that it falls exactly on the stone beneath so that it breaks. In the first attempt they failed. The nut got untied. They tied the nut again and tried again. The second attempt was a great success. The nut got broken. Now you can go down and feast on….

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Saying this Dr.Dove flew away. Thank you Dr.Dove you have helped us to learn the trick of breaking these hard coconuts and eat. You have also helped us to survive. Thank you so much: Shouted back the squirrels in joy. ***

The 11th one
In the night of December 26th (04) I was tired with the domestic work – cleaning - and when my little Krishna demanded as usual for a bedtime story I sought an excuse and encouraged her to tell me a story of her choice. As usual she declared the characters in the story – an aunt and a horse. Here it goes:
One day when an aunt was inside the house she heard a knock at the door. She saw through the door view mirror and found a horse standing there. She opened the door – not fully – and said to the horse: Go away this is not a place for you to come. The aunt closed the door and went into the kitchen to prepare food. Next day the aunt was busy doing her work and suddenly found the horse in the bedroom! How did you come here? Shouted the aunt. The horse was very rigid and did not move an inch. The aunt came out of the house and closed the main door. The horse got frightened and started knocking at the door from inside. The aunt allowed the horse to knock at the door for some time and later it opened the door. Suddenly with one jump the horse came out and went away. The horse never came back again. The aunt was happy.

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***

Poem I will see you will see I can talk you can talk we all will see we all will talk see see see talk talk talk
This is what Krishna (DOB:19/9/1999) my little daughter weaved in the night of 19th November, 2006. I found this to be a fitting conclusion to these stories.

12. The Story in the night of 20th February, 2007
In a very big forest there lived many animals and birds. One day the some of the birds were discussion about the way the animals live. The parrot said, “Look at me I do not eat any bird or animal I just like fruits and eat them all the time. I hate looking at these animals as they hunt other animals and eat them”. I feel that we the birds are the best in the forest as we do not eat other birds for our survival”. Many birds agreed to this argument and narrated their own opinions: The sparrow said: I eat the small insects that do harm to others that does not mean that I am like these animals who kill all other good animals. The woodpecker said: See I protect trees by eating the white ants under their bark. If I do not do so many trees would have been eaten away by these white ants and other insects. The weaver bird: You are aware that I am the best in the forest in making the nest. Show me any animal that can do like me. These animals are lazy and live like rocks in all seasons.

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The humming bird said: I drink the nectar from the flowers and while doing so I do not harm the flowers. If help in pollination and make the forest look colourful with many flowers. Thus many birds narrated their own stories and ways of living. Meanwhile they saw a herd of elephants passing under the trees. The parrot yelled at them: Hey big beasts do you know that birds are the best ones in the forest. You animals destroy forest, eat other animals and create bloodshed for your survival. One of the elephants responded by saying : I do not know what you are talking but I can tell this to other animals as I am going to attend the meeting called by the Lion. The Lion – the king of the forest – is sitting on a big rock surrounded by many animals. The meeting began with the topic “How shall we celebrate the onset of sprint”. Then the elephant intervened and said: we feel that we are the great in the forest. I heard a parrot saying that the birds are the best because they do not eat other birds for their own survival. Lets first solve this problem and by deciding who is the best in the forest, the birds are we the animals. All the animals got irritated at the statement of the parrot shared by the elephant. The wolf said: Lets call the birds here and we all can kill them and eat them at once then there is no problem. Haa Haaa joined the other animals. Cool down: said the Lion. If the birds feel that they are the best in the forest, we shall allow them to prove. They said that they do not eat other birds but it is false. They do eat other birds for their survival. You are aware that the eagles are always on the look out for chicks of hens and peahens. They eat mercilessly all the chicks. Birds are fools and incapable creatures. I pity them. Lets play with them for some time and prove our might. Dear fox, call all the birds at once here. The fox approached the mangrove and yelled at the birds. You seem to be having a feeling that you are the best in the forest. Lets us prove who is best in the forest. All of you can come to our meeting place near the lake and prove yourselves. Hearing this the birds felt challenged. meeting place. All of them flew towards the

In the meeting place the most heated arguments took place.

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Seeing the heat generated, the Lion said. Meeting is adjourned to tomorrow in the morning and asked all the animals and birds to disburse. In the evening the grand old man who often visits forest and help animals and birds by treating them came to the meeting place and asked some of the birds still sitting there: I heard a commotion in the afternoon what happened to you all. I heard the loud sounds of animals and birds too. Do you have any problem and can I be of any help to you? The birds said: we had problem to solve between the birds and the animals. We shall prove who is best in the forest. We argue we are the best but they argue as cruelly as they can for their superiority. It is good that you have come. Why don’t you come for the meeting tomorrow and help us. The grand old man said ok I shall come tomorrow. The next day morning all the birds and the animals gathered at the meeting place. The grand old man took some time to arrive. His arrival was welcomed by the Lion who was once save by the grand old man. Dear grand old man I am glad that you are here, hear all our arguments and tell us who is the best in the forest. Both the sides amply briefed the grand old man. The birds and the animals became silent and await the judgment of the grand old man. The grand old man said: The argument of the birds that they do not eat other birds is both wrong and write. So in the arguments the birds and the animals both win and lose. That makes the problem nil. The birds and animals got confused at this. Seeing their faces particularly of the Lion’s the grand old man clarified it further: Though the hens and penhens come under the family of birds they live mostly on the ground and they do not fly for their survival they run for their survival so actually come under the family of animals. The chicks of the birds also do not fly they just run on the ground so they are also animals. Since Eagles eat these chicks it amounts to eating other birds for their survival like the animals do. Which means birds eat and do not eat other birds for their survival. Most important thing is this: If the animals like Lion, tiger, cheetah, fox and wolf do not eat other animals like sheep, goat, etc the population of these grass eating animals increase making the forest dry and difficult for all to survive. Similarly the birds help in pollination and Updated on 20/11/2006

cross-pollination, propagation of trees and help add beauty to the forest. The forest becomes dull without any one of you. So neither the birds nor the animals are best in the forest, the forest itself is the best because it gives us food, shelter and protection from the human beings. Hearing this the Lion said: what a brilliant man are you my dear grand old man. I agree with you that it is the forest that is the best. The birds do chirped the same opinion. Then the squirrel said: this is the best time to celebrate the onset of spring. Lets dance…. All the animals danced and make merry….. In the night of 23rd February, 2007 – Story narrated by Krishna around the characters that she asked me to suggest: A peon, A boy and a School.

13. The School Bell
There was a cute little boy in the Nursery section of the school. For the first time he had heard the bell of the school and got irritated so much. His school time gets over by 11.30 am and he eagerly awaited his mother to go home along with her. Seeing his grumpy face, his mother enquired: Are you not happy with the school? The boy said: I am happy with the school but not at all happy with the school bell. The school bell? Asked his mother Yes, I hate this most irritating school bell. As they reached the main gate they met the peon who rings the school bell. The boy stopped at him and requested him to change the school bell, as it was very irritating to him. The peon said: How can I do that you need to meet the principal and ask her for this change. Then his mother said: I have an idea. When you close your ears so close you will not get the irritation try this tomorrow and let me know.

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The boy said: OK let me try. The next day the boy closed his ears so close as soon as he heard the ringing of the bell. The boys around him looked at him strangely. But this boy felt relieved with his mother idea. As his mother reached him after his session is over, he told her: Your idea is good. I did not feel the irritation today. Thus the boy never felt irritated with the school bell. --

- IVNS Raju

Updated on 20/11/2006

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