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A lazy grasshopper laughed at a little ant as she was always busy gathering food.

"why are you working so hard?" he asked, "come into the sunshine and listen to my merry notes." "But the ant went on her work. She said" I am lying in a store for the winter. Sunny days won't last for ever." "Winter is so far the grasshopper back. away yet, "laughed

And when the winter came, the ant settled down in her snug house. She had plenty of food to last the whole winter. The grasshopper had nothing to eat so, he went to the ant and begged her for a little corn. "No", replied the ant, "you laughed at me when I worked. You yourself sang through the summer. So you had better dance the winter away."
MORAL : Idleness is a curse.

struggle that she could get free. But, to her sorrow, her beautiful tail had been cut off and left in the trap.

"How ugly I shall look!" moaned the fox, " won't the other foxes laugh at me ?" Thinking hard, the fox hit upon a plan to save herself from being laughed at.She called a meeting of his friends and said, "Brothers! have you ever wondered why after all, we carry these long tails?" Let us cut them off and be free from their nuisance." But the other foxes had noticed her cut-off tail. They laughed aloud and replied, "You used to say that tails looked very fine when your own was all right. Now that you have lost yours, you want us to lose ours too."
MORAL : Dirty tricks seldom work.

Once a wolf saw a goat atop a hill and said, "Come down here, Miss Goat! The grass here is greener and longer."

"Thank You," answered the goat, "the grass down there may be much better. But, if I come down you will get a

good meal. So, I prefer to stay here - where you can't reach. At least I am quite safe."
MORAL : Let not others exploit your gentleness.

There was once a miser. He melted all his money into a block of gold and buried it in a pit. Every day he would dig it up and smile to see it.

One night the gold-block was stolen. So, the miser was in tears. A friend of his saw him weeping and said, " You should bury a stone in the pit and look at it every day. You never spent moneywhen you had it Was it better then a stone anyway?"
MORAL : It is a cause to be a miser.

Once the Wind and the Sun came to have a quarrel. Either of them claimed to be a stronger. At last they agreed to have a trial of strength. "Here comes a traveller. Let us see who can strip him of his clock," said the Sun.

The Wind agreed and chose to have the first turn. He blew in the hardest possible way. As a result , the traveller wrapped his cloak even more tightly around him. Then it was the turn of the Sun. At first he shone very gently. So, the traveller loosened his cloak from his neck. The sun went on shining brighter and brighter. The traveller felt hot. Before long he took off his cloak and put it in his bag. The Wind had to accept his defeat.
MORAL : Fury or force cuts no ice where gentleness does the job.

Milk-maid had been to the meadow to milk her cows. Now she was returning home with a pail of milk on her head. She thought, "I will make cream and butter out of this milk. Then selling them, I will buy eggs. and when they hatch, I shall have a good poultry farm." She further thought, "I shall sell some of my fowls and buy a fine dress. Seeing it on my body atthe fair, all the

boys will admire me. But I will turn them away just tossing my head at them." Lost in day dreams, she forgot about the pail on her head. She tossed her head with a jerk and the pail of milk came tumbling down. it was broken and all the milk got spilt. "Dear O dear !" she cried, "I have lost my all."
MORAL: Don't count your chickens before they are hatched.

Once a hare was roaming near a lake in a forest. Suddenly he saw a tortoise and mocked at him saying "Hurry up, you slow coach! Don't you find life very dull taking so long to cover a few yards? I could have run to the other side of the lake by now." The tortoise felt teased and dared the hare to a race. The race was to be through the wood to a fixed goal. The hare agreed laughingly. In a few minutes he was away and out of sight.

"What a funny race it is!" he said to himself , "I am already half -way through. But it is too-too cold; why not have a nap in the warm sunshine?" The tortoise walked steadily on and on. In a short time, he passed by the sleeping hare. The hare slept far longer then he had intended. When he woke up at last, he looked around in surprise and said to himself," Not even a sigh of the poor tortoise anywhere so far; I had better trot along and finish the race." The hare ran to the goal. He was amazed to see all the animals cheering the tortoise who had arrived just a minute earlier. how ashamed he felt indeed!
MORAL : Slow and steady wins the race.

A thirsty crow once found a pitcher with a little water in it. But when he tired to drink thewater, he could not. The pitcher was tall and his beak didn't reach the water.

The cleaver crow thought and hit upon a plan. He went

on dropping pebbles into the pitcher. The water rose up to its neck and he quenched his thirst.
MORAL : Will finds the way

One day a peacock met a crane and said, "So sorry for you. You have so dull feathers. Look at the fine colors of my feathers."

"Well!" replied the crane, "your look are brighter then mine. but whereas I can fly high up into the sky, all you can do is to strut about on the ground."
MORAL: Never find fault with others.

farmer's boy went into his field. There were some sheep and a pig there. He picked up the pig that squealed aloud. "Why are you making a fuss? When he catches us, we never cry." said a sheep. "Shut up, cried the pig, "the shepherd wants only wool from you. But this boy is taking me away for my meat."
MORAL: Life is dear to everyone.

fisherman had been fishing for along time but without luck. At last he tugged at his net and saw a small fish caught in it.

"Please let me go," begged the fish, "I will grow bigger in a few days and then you can catch me again."

The fisherman said, "Now that I have caught you I won't let you go. If I leave you, I may never see you again."
MORAL: A bird in hand is worth two in bush.

A town-mouse paid a visit to his friend who lived in the countryside. The country-mouse was happy to see his friend. So he prepared a fine feast for him. The townmouse looked at the fruit and the car of corn with hatred "Is this how you live ?" he asked, "life in the country does not offer much." He persuaded the country-mouse to accompany him to the town and see allthe good things there.

So, the country-mouse packed all his belongings and off they went to the city. The country-mouse was really surprised to see the things there. But as soon as they settled down to enjoy afine meal of cheese and fruit, a big cat leapt in through the window. Seeing the cat, both the mice ran into their hole to save themselves, so the cat ate up all the cheese and fruit. When the cat had gone away, the out of their hole.

mice

came

"I am going," cried the country-mouse, "I like my simple fare in safety than this grand feast in such a danger."
MORAL: Safety is the first importance.

Two foxes watched a wild boar sharpening his tusks on a tree-trunk.

"Why do you do that?" asked one of them, "the huntsmen are not out today."

"Let that be so," answered the boar, "but whenever my life is in danger, I shall need my tusks and there will be no time to sharpen them."
MORAL: Lost time cannot be recalled.

Once a Lark made her nest in a corn-field. Soon she laid eggs in it. After a few days small babies hatched out of them. One day the baby-larks overheard the farmer say, "I will call my neighbors to reap this field." The Baby-larks got alarmed to hear this and told their mother about it. "Don't worry," said the mother.

Some days later, the farmer came again and said, I will call my relatives to reap this field." The baby-larks afraid again. "Fear not," said their mother.

But the next day the farmer came there with his little son and said, "I will reap this field tomorrow."

"Now is the time to go. When a man says he will do the work himself, he will certainly do it," said the motherlark.
MORAL : Don't fear hollow threats.

A cock was scratching the ground with his claws looking for a tasty morsel to eat. While doing so, he chanced to turn over a stone and find a shining gem under it.

"Cock-a doodle-do !" cried the cock and said, "It looks very fine and it may be valuable to some people. But I would rather have found a nice grain of corn."
MORAL: Gems can't pacify hunger.

One day a man was going to market with his son and his ass. they met a couple on the way. "Why walk when you have an ass to ride?" called out the husband, "seat the boy on the ass." "I would like that," said the boy, "help me up father." And the father did that willingly.

Soon they met another couple. "How shameful of you!" cried the woman, "let your father ride, won't he be tired?" So, the boy got down and the father rode the ass. Again they marched on. "poor boy", said the next person they met, "why should the lazy father ride while his son is walking?" So, the boy got onto the ass too. As they went on, they met some travellers. "How cruel of them!" They are up to kill the poor ass." cried one of the travellers. Hearing this, the father and the son got down. Now they decided to carry the ass on their shoulders. As they did so, the travellers broke into laughter. The laughter frightened the ass. It broke free and galloped away.
MORAL: You can not please everyone

Long ago, there lived a little boy named Sammy. He was a good boy. He was good in his studies, obedient to his parents, more intelligent than many other boys in his

class and kind to everyone. Grown-ups as well as thosejunior to Sammy loved him very much. But that aroused jealousy in many other boys who longed to be as loved as Sammy. Now there was another boy named Timmy who studied in the same class as Sammy. Unlike Sammy, he was not good at studies and always liked to play during school hours. He misbehaved with his parents, bullied hisclassmates and even ill-treated Sammy. He always tried to put Sammy down and belittled him before other kids in the class. But no matter what he did, Sammy's grades kept getting better and better. Whether in studies or in sports or from his classmates, Sammy kept getting accolades from everywhere. On his eighth birthday, Sammy got a nice pen as a gift from his parents. He brought it to school so that he could use it to take down the notes of the lectures that the teachers gave in class. This was a very beautiful pen and it could help one write very fast. When Timmy saw it, he was very jealous of Sammy. He asked Sammy, "Hey, where did you get that? Did you buy it?" "My parents gave it as a birthday gift to me." replied Sammy.

Timmy was overwhelmed with anger and jealousy. The bad boy that he was, he rarely got any present from his parents. He decided to steal Sammy's pen. During recess, when everyone had gone out from the class, Timmy opened Sammy's bag and took out his pen. Then he hid it inside his bag and went out to have his tiffin. When Sammy came back and could not find his pen, he informed his class teacher about it. There was a hunt for the missing pen and the class teacher ordered the class monitor to search the bag of every children inside the class. The missing pen was soon found out of Timmy's bag and the furious teacher asked the errant boy, "Now Timmy, what do you have to say about it?" Timmy was in tears. He had nothing to say.

When Sammy saw Timmy cry, he took pity on the boy. The kind boy that he was, he had no ill-feeling against hisclassmate. He requested his class teacher not to take any action against Timmy, now that his stolen pen was found. This opened Timmy's eyes. He could now see what a

good boy Sammy was. He asked for forgiveness from his teacher and Sammy. From that day, he became friends with Sammy and gradually changed himself to be as good as Sammy. Everyone began to love Timmy and Sammy was proud of his new friend. Despite being hurt by Timmy, Sammy gave him back only love in return. This is how we should also treat our enemies. Who knows? One day, our behaviour may just change themselves for the better.
Moral: Do not harm someone even if he harms you. Be good to all.

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Once upon a time, there lived a farmer who had a little land. His name was Tuan and he was a very kind and good-natured person. He lived in a hut on his land with his wife and children and earned by selling whatever crops he could produce on his small land. Tuan loved to help others. Whenever someone fell ill or needed something badly, Tuan was there to help that person. If someone died in the village, Tuan assisted the family members of the deceased person in whichever way he could. If anyone fell ill at night, Tuan was right

beside the village doctor to help him prepare the medicines and tend to the sick. There seemed to be none who hated this man. He appeared to be loved by one and all. But there was one person who hated Tuan with all his heart. He was Juan, a neighbour of Tuan, who lived in the land next to him. A lazy person by nature, Juan hardly put in as much effort to cultivate his land as Tuan did to produce crops in his own. So when the harvest season arrived every year, Juan found that he had very few crops to sell. Tuan on the other hand, earned a handsome profit through the selling of his produces. One year, Juan could no longer contain his jealousy. Just days before Tuan was to reap his harvest, Juan set fireto his crops at night. Tuan was asleep at this time and it was only the alertness of one of his other neighbours that saved much of his crops from being perished in the deadly flames of the fire that Juan had lighted. When the flames were doused, Tuan saw which direction the fire had started from. Juan's animosity towards him was unknown to Tuan. But he let the matters rest and decided to take action only if he saw Juan repeating his dastardly act once again.

That year, Tuan managed to sell the rest of his crops at a good price but he could not make much profit for a good part of his produces had been burnt. He had a heavy heart but he did not like to tell anyone about it. Only days later, Tuan was awakened by the sound of lamentations. He went out to find a crowd beside Juan's hut. He rushed to find that Juan's son had fallen ill. He found that the village doctor was unable to provide a cure to his illness. Tuan knew what he had to do. He untied his own horse and rode it. Then he rushed to the town that was ten miles away and fetched a more experienced doctor who lived there. This doctor was able to guess the disease correctly and provided an exact cure for it. Within hours, the boy was found to sleep soundly and Tuan went with the doctor to take him back to the town. A day later, Juan went to Tuan's hut and began to weep bitterly. He confessed to his sins but was surprised when Tuan told him that he knew about it all. "You knew that I had set fire to your crops? And still you fetched the doctor for my son?" asked the astonished Juan.

Tuan nodded and said, "I did what I knew was right. Could I do wrong just because you had done so?" Juan stood up and embraced Tuan. Both men were in tears and so were the others who stood by them. From that day, Juan changed himself. Within a year, he could produce much crops in his land through his hard work. When the others asked him how he had changed so much, he only replied, "It was the goodness and love of Tuan that transformed me."

Moral: Be nice to your friends. Be nicer to your enemies.

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Many many years ago, there lived a dog named Tom. Tom was adopted as a pet in a wealthy household and he was daily showered with nice foods and affections by her mistress Mrs Havisham. All day, Tom lived in a kennel within the compound of the house and he tried his best to guard the home of his mistress. Whenever a

thief or a burgler came within the vicinity, Tom would bark as loudly as he could to scare the living daylights out of the culprit. He was the favourite of his mistress. When night fell, he slept on a nice blanket inside his kennel and when day broke he had his food served before him in no time. But the neighbourhood dogs were not so lucky and they were jealous of Tom's fortune. Now and then, they would bark from outside the gates of Tom's house and utter curses at him. All this disturbed Tom a little, but he would only say, "Poor fellows, they have to struggle so much for their food while I am so lucky. I must not shout at them and add to their misery." So he kept quiet and went about his business, turning a deaf ear to their insults. One day, as he was taking a walk with his mistress, Tom found that some young boys were throwing stones at those same dogs who insulted him. The dogs were cornered and they had nowhere to go. They could in no way avoid being hit by the stones thrown at them. Many of them were bleeding and barking feebly in protest. But the boys were not in a mood to let go of them so

lightly. They picked up bigger stones and rocks to have more fun at the expense of the weak, helpless dogs. Tom could not hold himself back. He was of a strong build and had a very deep voice. He knew that he could scare the boys. He managed to wrench his leash free out of his mistress' hands and he ran towards the boys. The boys were startled at the terrible barking that Tom directed at them. Their blood froze at the sight of the huge Tom baring his fangs and running towards them. They dropped their rocks and ran away as fast as their legs could carry them. "Go home" Tom said to his bloodied abusers "no one will disturb you anymore." He ran back to his mistress who had seen all that Tom did. She patted Tom and praised him for his courage. That night, Tom's mistress saw a strange sight. The dogs whom Tom had saved in the morning had gathered near the gates of her house. It seemed to her as if they were telling something to her pet. "Maybe they are thanking Tom for his brave gesture." she thought.

And right she was! From that day, Tom and his abusers had become friends. Tom's kindness had won over his abusers' hatred and he had earned their love, respect and admiration that nothing on earth could buy.

Moral: Be good to all, even if they happen to be your enemies.

\ A TEST OF NUMBERS
Did you ever hear of the terrible war once fought between the creatures of the sea and the birds, which threatened to destroy the whole world? You may not have, because it all happened so long ago- ages before you or I were born. What is remarkable about this Great War is that it all began as a silly dispute between a whale and a little sandpiper. But then, as small disputes have a tendency of doing, it snowballed into a battle of epic proportions that posed a danger to the earth itself. Wouldn't you like to know how it all turned out? Here is the story, then. Many years ago, it was a normal day, like any other, on the faraway island in the South Seas. The scene was a quiet lagoon. Along the beach, a sandpiper was running in and out of the water, picking up little minnows for breakfast. All of a sudden, a whale swam into the lagoon. Irritated at the sight of the sandpiper, it called out, "Hey, you! How dare you come into my water and take my fish? Don't you know that I'm the master of the sea? Better stay out of the sea- it belongs to us whales!" Now, the sandpiper may have been small in size, but she was a spirited bird, who would not take such high-handedness lying down. Moreover, she was angry because

the whale's sudden rising had swept away the minnow she was about to eat. Furiously she demanded, "Who says the sea belongs to you? If anything, it belongs to the sandpipers. We have a far greater claim over the sea than you fellows, because there are many more sandpipers in this world than there are whales. So leave me alone and get lost!" The whale could not believe his ears. "What! Are you crazy?" he shouted. "You silly creature, the numbers of whales is much more than that of sandpipers. You can't even begin to count them!" "Oh, really?" asked the sandpiper in a challenging tone. "Are you ready to put it to the test?" "Of course!" replied the whale promptly. "Well, in that case I'll call all my relatives here, and you call yours. Let's count each side. We'll see who has more!" "Good idea! We'll do just that!" said the whale. Turning back towards the boundless ocean, he sounded a booming call. The response was swift. From the east, the west, the north, and the south, whales began swimming towards the island. Soon the bay was so crowded with whales that the ocean surface was completely hidden by their bodies! Meanwhile, the little sandpiper was not idle. She, too, was making her call in all the four directions. There was a great whir of wings as sandpipers from all over the world came flying in to the faraway island in the South Seas. They came and landed on the beach and the trees. Soon, there were so many that they covered the entire land! So far, both the sides seemed evenly matched. So now, the whale sounded another call to summon his sea cousins-the dolphins, the seals, the walruses, and the porpoises. They began swimming into the lagoon in response to the call. When they all had arrived, there were so many sea creatures that they surrounded the island from all sides. Everywhere there were new sea creatures spouting and diving. Not to be outdone, the sandpiper sent out a call to her cousins-the gulls, the terns, the kingfishers, and the cormorants. When all the seabirds arrived, they covered not only the beaches, but also all the land right up to the mountains. There was not an inch of land on that island that was not covered by birds. So, which side had more? It was still hard to say. Then, the whale thought, "If we whales eat up the beach, the birds will all drown. That will settle the issue once and for all, as then surely there will be more whales than sandpipers!" He conveyed this to his relatives. The whales started to take large bites of shore and sand; in big gobbles, the beach started vanishing into the mouths of the whales.

Meanwhile the sandpiper thought, "Whales can survive only in the water. If we birds drink up all the sea, the whales will die. Then surely there would be more sandpipers than whales!" The sandpiper instructed her relatives to dry up the sea. Accordingly, swarms of birds flew down to the ocean and drank and drank. The water level began to come down sharply. However, the sandpiper soon noticed something alarming. Below her lay hundreds of whales, gasping for breath on the dry shore as she had planned, but they were not the only ones! All the other creatures of the sea, including the minnows and crabs, also were dying without water! "Oh, no!" cried the sandpiper. "What are we doing? The minnows and other smaller creatures are our food, and they're all dying. If they're gone, we'll all starve to death! Quick, spit out all the water back into the ocean and revive them! Drying the ocean will not solve our problem; it'll only spell our doom!" All the birds obliged. The water flowed back into the ocean and slowly, the whales started to move. The tiny sea creatures burrowed into the sand or scurried away. It was only now, as he revived, that the whale realized the full extent of his own folly. "How foolishly self-destructive we were!" he thought. "What were we fighting about, anyway? The ocean is big enough for all of us- the sea creatures and the birds alike." He called a truce to the sandpiper, who was ready to accept as she too was regretting the quarrel. The sea creatures and the sea birds dispersed on cordial terms, and the earth and the ocean were saved. Since then, no one's ever found out whether there are more sandpipers in this world or more whales. And the whales and the sandpipers have managed to get on fine without ever resorting to such a test of numbers again!

Moral:

Fighting over small issues can lead to big problems.

HONEST PUNYAKOTI
Once upon a time, there was a village in Karnataka, which was situated at the foot of a hill. In this village lived a herd of cows, whose leader was a beautiful cow named Punyakoti. She had a single calf, whom she loved with all her heart. Every morning, all cows would go to graze in a in a grassy meadow halfway up the hill, leaving their calves behind in the village. They would return to the village in the evening. Near the pasture was a jungle, which was the abode of a tiger, named Hulia. In his youth, Hulia had been the terror of the whole jungle: unfortunately, now he was old and weak. Having lost his old agility, he found it very difficult to catch his prey in the

jungle. He had not eaten for several days and was weak from hunger. At length, driven to despair, he came out of the jungle, hoping to find some food elsewhere. It so happened that at that very moment the herd was returning home from the pasture. As he spotted them from afar, Hulia was thrilled. He lay in wait for them behind a big rock, confident of getting a good meal. They had hardly come close enough, when, desperate with hunger, Hulia pounced! However, he had overestimated his ability and fell short of his target. The herd scattered in panic and ran away. Hulia gave chase with all the speed he could muster. Alas, it was pitifully inadequate! He was so weak and exhausted that he could hardly run. He was unable to catch even a single cow, and the herd made good its escape. Hulia climbed back on the rock in disgust, cursing his own rashness that had brought about this situation. As he sat there in utter exhaustion, panting under the strain of his efforts, he suddenly saw a very welcome sight. There, in the distance, was a lone cow walking along the path towards him! It was Punyakoti, who had somehow got separated from the rest of the herd. She was walking briskly ahead, saying to herself,Oh! I am late! My child will be waiting for me."She was in such a hurry to reach home that she did not notice Hulia. To Hulia, this seemed a heaven-sent opportunity to make up for the one he had squandered by his own foolishness earlier, and he was determined not to let go of it! Patiently he waited, promising himself,I shall not let this one go! I'll have a good feast today." Hulia waited until Punyakoti had come very close. Then he emerged from his hiding place and gleefully declared, licking his lips,"At last, my patience has been rewarded! I shall have a delicious meal after so many days!" Punyakoti was a wise and brave cow. She realized that she was no match for Hulia, even though he was old and weak. So there was no point resisting. However, the picture of her hungry calf waiting eagerly for her, flashed before her eyes. She said to Hulia, "I am ready to be your food. But can you please do me a favor? At home, my child is waiting for me. Will you let me go and feed him? I promise you that I shall come back to youimmediately after that." The tiger burst into loud, sarcastic laughter. "Do you take me to be such a fool?"he asked. "Don't I know that if let you go, you'll run away, never to come back?" Punyakoti said earnestly, "Believe me I will. I give you my word with Mother Earth as my witness."

Hulia sighed and said, "All right- you may go. But return soon!"Punyakoti gratefully said, "Trust me, I will! Thank you so much, Hulia!" She ran all the way home and met her calf, who was waiting eagerly for her. She fed him lovingly. After he had drunk his fill, she hugged him and said, "My son, I have to bid you goodbye now. In fact, I have come to you on borrowed time. Hulia the tiger caught me, and I promised him that I would return to him after feeding you." The calf was aghast. He said, "But mother, you don't have to return!" By now, all the other cows had gathered around Punyakoti. They said in one voice, "He is right. We will change our voice, "He is right. We will change our route and avoid that pasture henceforth. What can Hulia do?" But Punyakoti disdained the suggestion. She said, "May be I can run away from Hulia, but I can't run away from myself! If I did as you say, I would never be able to forgive myself. I gave Hulia a solemn promise that I would return, and he let me go because he trusted me to keep my word. How can I betray that trust? Truth is everything to me." At this, her calf tearfully asked, "Mother, who will feed me when I am hungry? Who will look after me? Punyakoti turned to the other cows and said, "My sisters, please treat my calf like your own child. Be kind to him for he has no one else but you."She turned to go. Deeply moved, all the cows said, "Punyakoti, we will also come with you to the tiger." But Punyakoti said, "Please don't. You must take care of my child." "Don't go, mother!"implored her calf. But Punyakoti steeled her heart and ran towards the hill. Meanwhile, Hulia was thinking, "What a fool I was, to let my prey escape! I was too tired to think straight that's why I did something so crazy! Who in his senses would come back voluntarily to face death, when he has a chance to escape?" He was still running his own stupidity, when he saw her, he was astounded. Hunger and weakness notwithstanding, Hulia could not help lauding the nobility of the cow who had kept her word and come back to die. "You are great!"he exclaimed. "I cannot eat such a truthful and noble animal as you. You are my own sister. Go, Punyakoti go back to your child!"And he turned and walked away without a backward glance. Thanking the tiger for his noble gesture- which had been inspired by her ownPunyakoti sped down the hill, and was happily reunited with her calf.

Moral: Honesty is always rewarded.

HOW THE BEAR LOST HIS TAIL


Believe it or not, there was a time when the bear had a lovely long, furry tail- quite unlike the short, stumpy one he sports today! But how did he lose it? Ah, therein hangs a tail-er, sorry, tale! The bear was very proud of his beautiful tail. He took great care of it and spent hours brushing it out and keeping it glossy and tangle-free. Wherever he went, he would spread it out like a fan behind him, and people had to walk round it. Everyone was on tenterhooks around him, for, if they stepped on it byaccident, he would nearly snap their heads off! The bear's tail was also his main conversation topic. Whomsoever he met, he would ask, "Don't you think my tail is the most beautiful tail you've ever seen?" As you can imagine, the animals didn't think much of the foolish bear, who had nothing to talk about except the glory of his tail! However, all of them were frightened of his big claws and didn't want to make him angry. So, without exception they all told him, "Yes indeed, Bear yours is the most magnificent tail in the whole world! And it makes you really smart and handsome!" On hearing this, the bear would beam with pride and feel ten feet tall. However, he wouldn't have been so happy if only he'd known what was coming to him. As it turned out, among the animals who admired his tail was one who had resolved to teach him a lesson he would never forget! This was none other than the fox, who was furious with him ever since the day he had slapped him for treading on his precious tail. From then on, the fox had been biding his time, awaiting revenge! One icy cold day, the bear went lumbering down to the lake in the middle of winter; the lake was completely frozen over. As he neared the lake, he saw a most alluring spectacle. On the bank sat the fox, and he was surrounding by a pile of fish! The bear's stomach was rumbling with hunger, and his mouth watered at the sight of so many delicious-looking fishes. He approached the fox and said, "Hello, brother Fox! Where did you get all those fish?" This was the moment the fox had been waiting for! "Why, I caught them, of course, from that hole!" he said nonchalantly, pointing to a hole in the ice before him. "But how?" asked the bear in bewilderment. "You don't have any fishing tools, so what did you fish with?" (In reality, of course, the fox had seen him approaching from afar and carefully hidden his fishingimplements, making up his mind to play a trick on the unsuspecting bear!) "With my tail, as usual," he answered in a casual tone.

Now the bear was really astonished. "With your tail? But how can you fish with your tail?" he asked curiously. "Why, bear, don't tell me you know the art of fishing with one's tail!" exclaimed the fox in mock surprise. "Don't you know it's the best method for catching fish?" "Really?" asked the bear, his eyes widening in wonder. "Fancy, I never knew that! Can I catch fish with my tail, too?" "Sure, why not?" replied the fox, turning away to hide a smile. "With a long and beautiful tail like yours, you'll never go hungry- you can always catch as many fish as you want to eat! Would you like me to show you how to do it?" "Yes, please!" said the bear eagerly. The fox peered into the hole in the ice and said, "There are no more fish left in this! Let's go to another part of the lake where there's more." He led the bear to a shallow part of the lake. The bear swiftly dug out a hole in the ice with his claws. "Here's how you do it," said the fox. "Sit down with your back to the hole and drop your tail into thewater!" The bear obeyed, wincing at the contract with the icy water. However, he wanted the fish so badly that he quickly forgot the cold. "Now," said the fox, "you'll feel when a fish bites. Sit absolutely still, and wait until a number of fish have bitten, and then you can pull out your tail with your magnificent catch!" The bear's mouth watered and he scratched himself with pleasure. "Don't move!" ordered the fox, and he sat still. "Good!" said the fox. "I'll watch from those trees, so that I don't scare away the fish." The bear sat stiffly, thinking about the fish jumping onto his tail. It was tiring and after a while, he dozed off. It became very cold and started snowing. The fox collected his fish and returned home. After a couple of hours, he came back to the lake. He saw that the bear was still exactly as he had left him. His fur coat was completely covered with snow, and he was snoring away to glory. It was such a ludicrous sight that the fox burst out laughing. Finally, he composed himself and went up to the bear. He then shouted, "Bear, wake up! There's a fish on your tail! Can you feel it?" Startled, the bear woke up. He could feel a sharp pain in his behind.

"Yes, yes, I feel it!" he cried and jumped up. The next moment, there was a popping sound. Looking behind him, he saw, to his horror that his beautiful black tail had snapped right off! There it lay, as if mocking him- a stiff, frozen lump of fur, stuck in the transparent ice! All that was left on his backside was a small stump- an apology for a tail. "Oh, no! My lovely long tail!" Wailed the poor bear. The fox ran away, laughing heartily. The bear would have given anything to be able to get his hands on the fox; if he had caught him that day, he would have killed him! But the fox knew this and was crafty enough to keep out of his way thereafter. And that is how the bear lost his beautiful tail. To this day, bears sport short, stumpy tails. If you ever hear a bear groaning, it is because he's still thinking of the lovely tail he lost that day!

Moral: Do not blindly believe what others say.

HOW THE CAMEL LOST HIS BEAUTY


Once upon a time, the camel used to live, not in the desert, all the otheranimals. In those days, he was believe it or all the animals in the jungle. He had two claims to beauty. pair of antlers, which had twelve branches and which added and the second was a thick, bushy tail. but in the jungle along with not! The handsomest of The first was a magnificent much glory to his forehead,

As you can imagine, the camel was very proud of his beautiful antlers and tail. He took great care of them, which was a good thing. But I'm sorry to say that he had a bad habit, too that of ridiculing and laughing at other animals less fortunate than himself! Chief among them were the deer, who, in those days, had a bald forehead without antlers, and the horse, who had a thin, stumpy tail. These twoanimals were frequently the butt of the camel's jokes. Seeing the deer approaching, the camel would say, "Who do we have here? Ah, it's Mr. Badly! Aren't you lucky you save so much time, as you don't have to groom, or sharpen your antlers?" All the other animals would burst out laughing, and the deer would blush in embarrassment. Similarly, the horse would be greeted with- "Here comes Mr. Stumpy! What happened to your tail, dear? Did a tiger eat it up? Or did someone tell you that stumpy tails are the fashion in the city?" The horse and the deer were fed up with the camel's teasing. One day, they happened to meet and talk, when the topic turned to the camel and his mockery. The deer burst out, "I tell you, I'm heartily sick of that vain camel! It's not my fault that I don't have a

pair of magnificent antlers like his! Just because he has them, what right does he have to make fun of me? How I wish I could teach him a lesson he will never forget!" The horse said, "I feel exactly the same. He thinks too highly of himself. It's time someone brought him down a couple of pegs! Why don't you and I be the ones to do it?" I'd love to!" said the deer enthusiastically. "But what can we do?" "I have an idea," said the horse. "Here's how we can do it" and he outlined his plan to the deer, who listened eagerly and agreed. The next day, the camel was standing alone on the bank of a lake, admiring his reflection in the water, when the deer and the horse walked up to him. "Why, if it isn't Baldy and Stumpy together! Where are you off to? Enquired the camel with his usual mocking laugh. To his surprise, neither of the two blushed or looked embarrassed, as was their wont at his usual teasing. It appeared as if they were preoccupied with some worry, for, both looked grave! "Friend Camel," said the deer, "You are such a handsome, majestic animal with your great height, your robust body, those majestic antlers" ".and that lovely, thick tail!" cut in the horse. "Truly you are the most good-looking animal in the entire forest!" The camel swelled up with pride. His heart warmed to the two animals, who had never praised him like this before. He began to think that perhaps, they were not so bad after all it was not their fault that they were ugly! All were not destined to be perfect like himself! The deer's voice broke into his meditations- "yes, Friend Camel, you are without doubt the handsomest animal, not just of this forest but of the whole world! You are the pride and glory of our forest! Not all of us are so fortunate. We are ugly, imperfectwhich is why we face so many problems." His voice tapered off into a half-sob. Jolted out of his self-absorption, the camel asked his new-found friend, "What is the matter? Why are you so sad?" Sadly the deer said, "The horse and I have been invited to a party hosted by the animals of the next forest. But how can I go there with such an ugly bare forehead? I will be the laughing stock of the entire forest!" "What about me?" put in the horse dismally. "I have such an ugly tail; I'm not fit to show myself before a distinguished assembly! No, there's no help for it except to skip the party. Unless." he paused, as if struck by a sudden thought, and took a sidelong look at the camel.

"Yes? Unless what? asked the camel eagerly. "Friend Camel, your tail and antlers would be the glory of any gathering- even that of the gods! They are things anyone would be proud to be seen in!" praised the deer and he went on, "If you could really make a fantastic impression on the animals of the next forest." "Why, yes, we could indeed!" said the deer, looking up as if such an idea had only just occurred to him. "What a great idea, Horse! It is the only way two ugly animals like us can attend that party without losing face. I'm sure our friend Camel will agree to lend us his lovely possessions, as he is a noble,large- animal. His nature is as beautiful as his body, as we all well know! So won't you lend your magnificent antlers to me and your splendid tail to the horse for the party, Friend Camel? Please?" The camel hesitated. Although loath to part with his prized possessions, even for a day, how could he refuse after hearing such fulsome praise? "You will return them to me immediately after you return from the party, won't you?" he asked. "Of course! How could you even doubt it?" asked the horse in a hurt tone. "The moment we are back, we will come right here to you and return your things. Just wait for us at the same spot tomorrow evening, and we'll meet you here," added the deer. The camel then look of his magnificent antlers and handed them to the deer, who immediately put them on and thanked him effusively. Next, he exchanged tails with the horse, giving him his thick, glossy tail and receiving in its place the latter's stumpy one. The horse also thanked him profusely. "And now, we'll take your leave, friend!" said the deer. "Thank you so much for your help. See you tomorrow evening!" The duo then vanished into the undergrowth, chuckling to them selves. The camel's bald forehead and stumpy tail made him feel awkward and ill at ease. That day, he stayed away from all his familiar haunts, lest the other animals tease him about his altered appearance! Only now did he realize how the deer and the horse would have felt when he taunted them. He wished they would come back soon and return his antlers and tail. Time seemed to crawl past at a snail's pace for the poor camel that day. However, at long last the next evening arrived. In this eagerness to get back his things, the camel arrived at the appointed spot well before the stipulated time. However, the evening turned into night and still; there was no sign of the borrowers! The camel realized that he had been tricked. In great fury, he sought out the two animals and ordered them to return his antlers and tail. However, they never

did! The deer said, "I'll return your antlers after the horse returns your tails!" The horse said, "Let the deer return your antlers; after that, I'll return your tail!" Since then many days and years passed, but the poor camel has not got back either his antlers tail. He is deeply grieved about the loss. Hence, he rarely drinks water, for, when he comes to a pond to drink and beholds his reflection, the sight of his bare and ugly forehead, devoid of his handsome antlers, saddens him! Thus did the camel's pride bring him to a sorry pass!

Moral: Pride goes before a fall.

HOW THE CAT FOUND ITS MASTER


Many, many years ago, the great forests of Africa were filled with many different kinds of wild animals. Among them was Paka the cat. At that time, he had not yet started living with human beings, and was very much a wild animal. Now, Paka was small and cute and oh, so sweet-looking! But in reality, he was anything but sweet. He was shrewd and ambitious, and wished to come up in life. But this was very difficult in the forest, which had so many terrible wild animals that were all much larger and stronger than him. One day, Paka thought to himself, "The law of the forest is Might is right'. But I'm small and weak. So, to become powerful, I must make friends with a strong animal! But it should not be just any animal, but the strongest one possible! So I must first find out who is the mightiest animal in the forest?" It did not take Paka long to find the answer. It was Simba, the lion, who ruled supreme over the forest. There was no animal who did not fear him. When he gave out one of his mighty roars, the entire forest shook in terror. Birds and animals alike scattered in panic at the very sound of his footsteps! Paka decided to befriend Simba. He followed him secretly and kept track of his movements. At last, he found an opportune moment when Simba was lying contentedly on a rock, relaxing after a good meal. Gathering courage, Paka slowly walked up to him and greeted him with a "Hello, cousin!" "Cousin?" growled Simba. (Fortunately for Paka, he was in a good mood and so did not tear him to pieces!) He burst into a great roar of laughter. "Have you ever taken a look at yourself? How can a puny fellow like you claim kinship with me- the king of the beasts? What a joke!" Humbly Paka said, "I'm nowhere near Your Majesty in size or power, I know. But aren't we both members of the same cat family? May I have the privilege of serving you as a humble companion?"

Simba considered the request and boomed, "Hmmmm. A king needs an attendant. All right, you can be mine!" From then on, Paka was constantly in Simba's company. He would accompany Simba on his hunts and eat his leavings. He would do odd jobs for him and flatter him. In this manner, many months rolled by. One day, Simba was stretched majestically on a huge rock, sunning himself. Paka sat on his back, brushing his fur for him. All of a sudden, there was a loud commotion. Looking down, they perceived nearly all the animals of the forest fleeing in great terror. Surprised, Simba boomed from the rock-"Hey, you there, stop! Why are you running? However, no one had the time to stop and explain: all the animals, big and small, continued their mad dash. At this, Simba furiously jumped down to block their path and roared- "I'm the king of the forest! Now tell me what you are running away from! Who dares pursue you?" A monkey paused just long enough to gasp, "King or not, you better run too, if you value your life! Tembo the elephant is on the rampage!" He then fled away. Simba's face paled. Without another word he turned and ran into the undergrowth, calling over his shoulder, "Don't stand there gaping, Paka- escape!" Paka was shocked at the king's' cowardly flight, and thought, "Oh! So the powerful lion is afraid of the elephant! That means the elephant is mightier than him. In that case, he's the one I should cultivate-he'll make a better friend than a silly lion!" Soon, Tembo calmed down and the forest returned to normal. Biding his time, Paka approached him and said, "Oh, Tembo! You are the most magnificent, graceful animal I have ever seen! I would be honoured if you'd only let me be your friend!" No one had ever praised Tembo so much before. So he was greatly flattered, and accepted the offer. Thus, Paka left Simba and became Tembo's companion. He would go about in great style; riding on Tembo's back and would keep him happy by praising him. Many days passed thus. Then, one day, Paka found Tembo in great panic. "What's the matter, friend? He asked. Tembo cried, "Paka, run for your life! There's a hunter in the forest!" Paka had never seen a hunter before. So he lingered to see the terrible creature who had scared the great elephant so much. Soon the hunter came into view. Much to Paka's surprise, he was a puny, insignificantlooking creature, nowhere near Tembo in height or majesty!

"Well, well!" thought Paka. "This hunter seems much more powerful than Tembo, for all size and bulk! I should befriend him instead of that fat fool!" Slowly he came down from his perch on the tree. Going close to the hunter, he rubbed himself against his leg. The hunter stooped, picked him up and said, "I've had no luck with my hunting today. But I think you'll make a nice, cuddly pet!" He carried the cat home to his cave outside the forest. "At last I've found the most powerful friend," thought Paka happily, sitting on the hunter's shoulder as he marched majestically ahead. But as he entered his doorway, Paka saw a smaller figure- a woman- sitting inside the cave. It was the hunter's wife. She shouted at him- "At last you're back- and that too empty-handed! You good for nothing fellow! Instead of food, you bring home a useless cat!" Much to paka's astonishment, the mighty, powerful hunter did not say a word in reply, but merely stood there, hanging his head. His wife commanded, "Now go and chop the firewood! Hurry up- don't just stand and gape!" "Yes, dear!" said the hunter meekly, and rushed to obey. Paka thought "Hmm.At last I have found the mightiest creature of all- mightier than the hunter, the elephant and the lion! I shall become her friend!" When the hunter's wife found that Paka could make himself useful by catching mice (which she hated), she accepted him into the household. Paka had at last found his true master! That is why, to this day, the cat still prefers to sit at the feet of the woman of the house!

Moral: A clever person makes the best use of opportunity.

HOW THE HARE RESCUED THE SUN


Long, long ago, there were numerous birds and animals living in the vast plains of Siberia, which are known as the tundra. One day, a terrible calamity befell them. The tundra was suddenly shrouded in darkness! It was like a never-ending night; in vain did the animal wait for the sun to rise and illuminate their world once again. The hours turned to days, and the days to months. The land was enveloped in gloom and misery as all the animals and birds stumbled about in the darkness, seeking their food by touch.

Unaccustomed to living in the dark, many animals met their end in confrontation with unseen dangers. It was evident that this state of affairs could not go on for much longer, for, the surviving animals were badly demoralized. At length, it was decided to call a ground council; envoys were dispatched to the council from every species of animal and bird. Various alternatives were discussed during the council. At length the old raven, who was considered the wisest of all, spoke up- "Friends, I would like to make a suggestion. If you agree, I shall fly out and try to discover the cause of this darkness and its remedy." "But how will you make the flight in the darkness?" protested other animals. "It is dark here, too," pointed out the raven, "and aren't we moving about? Anyway, someone has to do this; we can't spend the rest of our lives in this darkness! Shouldn't we find a remedy?" All the animals and birds agreed, and the brave raven set off on his mission. After many days of patient waiting, loud wing-beats in the dark announced his arrival. The animals were delighted, and questioned him as to what he had found out. The raven triumphantly announced, "My friends, I have managed to find the cause of the darkness!" "What is it?" asked the fox anxiously. "The light that used to brighten our land is called the Sun. I understand that some evil spirits have stolen the Sun. It seems they live in a great cavern, close to our land! They keep it in a huge stone pot. If we can steal back the Sun from the evil sprits, our world will once again be filled with light. One of us must go and bring it back. It cannot be me, because I am old and frail, and the task calls for strength. You should send a really big and strong animal. So, who shall it be?" "The polar bear!" cried all the animals in one voice. "He is the biggest, and the strongest of us all!" At that moment, the oldest animal of the tundra- a half-deaf owl- who had been dozing was woken up by the commotion. She asked a little bird what had happened, and was informed that the polar bear was to be sent to rescue the Sun. "Oh, no!" cried the owl. "That won't do at all! He may be big and strong, but he is a slow-witted, lumbering beast! No sooner will he come upon some scrap of food than he'll forget all about his mission. And we'll never get the Sun back!" The animals realized that what the owl said was true; the bear couldn't be trusted to bring back the sun. "How about the wolf, then?" suggested the mole. "After the bear, he is the strongest and besides, he's much faster." There was a chorus of agreement.

"Eh, what are they saying?" the half-deaf owl asked the snow bunting. "They've decided to send the wolf," replied the bunting. "He's the strongest and swiftest of us all, after the bear." "Rubbish! Strong and swift the wolf may be, but he'll never get the Sun back for you!" said the owl decisively. "He's far too greedy to be entrusted with such an important task! He'll go after the first deer he sees and gobble it up; and he'll forget all about the sun." Hearing the owl's words, the animals had to agree. "That's true," they said. "Sure enough, the wolf is greedy and when he sees a deer he will stop to kill it, and forget about the Sun. But then, whom shall we send?" "I'll tell you," said the owl. "If at all anyone has a chance of bringing back the Sun, it is the hare! He may not be big or strong, but he's very swift on his feet, and is not selfish like the bigger animals. He has a good chance of retrieving the Sun, for no one can catch him. Thus it was that the hare was chosen for this important mission. Without further ado, he set off on his journey, guided by the raven. He hopped and skipped for many days across the land until at last he spied a shaft of light far ahead. As he came closer, he perceived a ray of light coming from under the earth through a narrow crack. Creeping up to the crack, he put his eye to it. To his delight, he could make out a ball of fire lying in a great white stone pot, its rays lighting up a vast underground cavern. He realized that he had found what he was looking for." That must be the Sun," he thought. However, he realized that while the task of locating the sun had been accomplished, the harder part- that of retrieving it from the cavern- still lay ahead! How was he to do it? Gathering all his courage, the little hare squeezed through the crack, let himself down on to the floor of the cavern and hopped over to where the ball of fire lay. Then he snatched it up from the stone pot, and took a flying leap upwards through the crack. The next moment, there was pandemonium. All at once, the evil spirits came swarming up the crack, raising a hue and cry, in hot pursuit of the hare! The hare ran as fast as his legs would carry him. However, his pursuers were much faster, and it was long before they were almost upon him. The hare thought fast. Just as they were about to grab him, he gave the ball of fire a hard kick with his hind legs, breaking it in two unequal parts. With a second kick, he sent the smaller part flying high into the air until it reached the heavens. And there, it became the gentle Moon.

Next, a third kick sent the bigger part flying even higher, so that it soared into another region of the sky to become the mighty Sun. The earth was flooded with bright light! Blinded by the glorious light and terrified, the evil spirits scampered back underground, never to appear on earth again. Tired but triumphant, the brave little hare ran back to the tundra, where he was hailed by all the animals, as the valiant hero who rescued the Sun. To this day, he holds a very special place among the animals of the tundra!

Moral: Do not judge a person by his size.

HOW THE LION AND JACKAL WENT HUNTING


Long, long ago, when the wilds of Africa abounded with animals of all kinds, life was not easy for the smaller animals. They had so many enemies all much stronger than them that they had to use all their wits to survive. One such clever little animal who outwitted all his foes, as you have already seen, was Kalulu the rabbit; another Bweha the jackal. Now, Bweha was not a particularly good hunter, since he lacked the speed and the strength to track down and overpower his prey. However, he made up for this weakness by his cunning. He had an exceptionally smooth tongue and could talk his way out of every difficulty. He was also adept at flattery, and many a time used this gift to great advantage with the bigger animals. On occasion, Bweha's wife began scolding him, saying, "It's more than a week now since you brought home any food, and I'm dying of hunger. You are a real good-fornothing! Go and make arrangements for food at once!" Bweha said, "What do you take me for? Just wait and see I shall go hunting with Simba the lionhimself! Then there will be no limit to the meat I shall bring home!" "Oh, really? Simba must be out of his mind if he takes you for a partner!" taunted his wife. Unfazed, Bweha merely asked her again to wait and see, before leaving the den. He went to Simba and began flattering him. "Uncle Simba, you're the strongest animal I ever saw! How powerful and sinewy your body is!" he exclaimed. "When you go into the jungle, all the animals scatter in terror! The sound of your booming voice is enough to set them trembling with fright! Who could dare stand up to you? Truly you're the master of the entire jungle." He went on in this manner for a few more minutes. Then, when he had accomplished the task of bringing the lion into a good mood, he humbly asked, "Uncle Simba, when you go hunting, will you take me also along, please?" "Whatever for? Are you going to hunt along with me?" asked Simba, laughing.

"Perish the thought! How can I presume to hunt along with you, as if I were your equal?" asked the jackal meekly. "No, Uncle Simba, I will merely be your servant to carry the meat and to eat your leavings!" "Very well," said the lion. Soon they set off on the hunt together. Before long, the lion spotted a large buffalo, whom he cashed on to a high bank, overpowered and killed. It was a long and difficult hunt, for; the buffalo was a strong and bulky one. Needless to say, Simba did all the work, while the jackal was content to stand back and praise his valour and heroism! By the time the buffalo was dead, the lion was tired, hot and thirsty. He badly wanted a drink of water. "Bweha, I'm going down to the river for a drink," he declared. "Guard my buffalo until I come back. And don't you dare eat until I've returned and had my fill!" "Of course not, Uncle Simba!" said Bweha, putting on a shocked expression. "You go in peace; I'll look after the buffalo." Simba descended from the high bank into the river, and began to drink. No sooner was his back turned than the sly jackal quietly removed the stone on which Simba had to step to climb back to the bank! Next, Bweha ran to bring his wife. The two of them began feasting greedily upon the meat of thebuffalo. Meanwhile, Simba, having drunk his fill, tried to climb back up the steep bank but failed. "Bweha!" he roared. "Help me climb up to the bank!" Bweha instantly appeared at the top, peeping down in apparent anxiety. "Don't worry, Uncle Simba!" he called. "I will let down a rope with which you can climb up!" Turning back, he ordered at the top of his voice, "Wife, get me a good strong rope of buffalo hide!Make sure it's really strong, so that Uncle Simba can climb up safely!" Aside, he whispered to her, "Give me the oldest and most worn-out rope you can find!" His wife gave him an old rotten rope. Eating ravenously all the while, Bweha and his wife slowly let the rope down. Simba held on to the rope and began struggling up the steep bank. He had not climbed more than a quarter of the way when Bweha gave the rope a jerk. It broke and poor Simba tumbled all the way down, coming finally to lie near the river. Now, Bweha began noisily thrashing a dry hide lying there. As he did so, he uttered realistic howls of pain and shouted, "Wife, how could you give me a weak rope that caused Uncle Simba to fall?"

Hearing the supposed fight between the couple, the lion roared from below, "Bweha, stop beating your wife and help me up at once!" "Right away, Uncle Simba!" shouted Bweha. "I shall let down a good, strong rope. Wife, get me the best one you have, or else!" He then turned to her and whispered, "Bring another thin old rope!" She obliged, and he let the rope down. Simba began the climb. When he was halfway across, Bweha cut it with his teeth, so that it snapped in two and Simba tumbled down once again. For the second time, Bweha began beating up the old hide, shouting, "Wife, didn't I ask for a strong rope? How dare you give me another weak one?" "BWEHA!" bellowed Simba so loudly that the ground vibrated. "Stop beating your wife this instant and come and help me, or you'll regret it!" "Wife," called out Bweha aloud, "Get me another rope, and this time make sure it's a good strong one!" Then he whispered to her, "Give me the weakest one you can get!" Bweha let down the third rope, and Simba began climbing on it. He had nearly reached the top when Bweha gave it a sudden jerk. SNAP! The rotten rope split in two. Poor Simba fell all the way to the ground to crash upon a rock, breaking his leg! He lay there, moaning in pain, unable to move or even call out. Meanwhile, the selfish Bweha and his wife ate their fill of the buffalo and ran away. That was the day the lion decided never again to have a jackal for his hunting partner!

Moral: Never trust a known betrayer, however sweet his words

KALLU OUTWITTED
Kalulu the rabbit was one of the cleverest animals in the African jungle. He was forever looking for new ways to outwit his enemies and make some profit in the bargain. One day, as he was wandering through the jungle, he happened to see a mother monkey and her baby climb up a tree. All of a sudden, the young one slipped from the branch and fell. But before he could touch the ground, the mother swiftly reached out with her long tail, looped it around his arm and swiftly pulled him up!

The watching Kalulu was filled with wonder. What an ingenious use of one's tail! Suddenly he had an idea. Why not make use of this principle himself? Though he had no long tail, he could use a rope to lasso objects and draw them to him! Kalulu now began experimenting on his new idea in right earnest. He gathered some forest creepers and twisted them into a strong rope. This he knotted into a lasso, and lay in wait for unwary animals to test his lasso on. He set traps with his lasso at various places over the next few days. The trap was in the form a noose lying on the ground. Many animals, who unwittingly stepped on the noose, found themselves held fast in the jungle thickets and could only free themselves with much effort. However no one suspected Kalulu's hand in it. It took him only a couple of days to be convinced of the efficacy of his rope trick. For the time being, he had no use for this particular weapon. But that did not prevent him from practicing it assiduously at every opportunity, till he had perfected it. After all, one never knew when it might come in useful! It was his motto to be prepared for every eventuality. Some time later, Tembo the elephant- the king of the animals- decided to build a village for the animals. He summoned a meeting of all the inhabitants of the jungle and informed them of his decision. All thought the village a good idea and all agreed to help in the building activity. The work was to commence the next afternoon. All the animals reported to the building site on time, except for Kalulu. But that was nothing new. When did he ever show up on time when there was work to be done? A couple of hours after the appointed time, when the animals were well into their work, Kalulu woke up from his siesta, yawned, stretched and thought he might join the others and put in a spot of work after all. He got up and lazily sauntered towards the worksite. He was not even midway through when suddenly, the most delicious aroma floating through the air made him stop dead. His nose twitched as he gave himself up to a series of sniffs. What was that? Abandoning the idea of going for work, he turned and followed his nose-which led him a long way, through many meandering forest trails. After a lengthy trek, he finally zoomed in with unerring accuracy on the source of the divine fragrance- Tembo's dwelling! Tembo lived with his family in a clearing at one end of the jungle. He was not home, having gone to work on the village site. But his wife was here. Peeping through the bushes, Kalulu saw her stirring at a large pot that was steaming away on the fire. From the pot wafted a delectable aroma- the one that had lured him this far!"That must be Tembo's dinner," decided Kalulu.

As he watched from his hiding-place, Tembo's wife went in to get something. Seizing the opportunity, he ran up to the pot and peeped in. A dish of beans was cooking. Kalulu was already hungry, and when the wonderful aroma hit his nostrils, he felt quite dizzy with longing. He knew that he had taste the dish! Hearing the sound of Tembo's wife returning, he hastened back to his hiding place. He watched patiently as she added seasoning and finished cooking. Finally, leaving the dish to cool, she went in (little knowing that greedy Kalulu was watching and waiting)! This was the moment Kalulu had been waiting for. He ran up to the pot and began blowing upon it to cool it. As soon as it was somewhat cool, he ate it all up in big gulps. It was very delicious. Burping in satisfaction, he crept away. That night, Tembo was furious when he reached home and found that his beans had been stolen. Whoever had stolen his dinner? The next morning, he summoned Simba, the lion and ordered,"Last night, someone had the temerity to steal my dinner. No doubt he will try the same trick tonight. I want you to lie in wait and pounce upon the thief when he makes his appearance!" Now, Kalulu was hiding in the bushes and heard the whole exchange. He had every intention of returning that evening to have one more meal of those delicious beans. But how could he steal them when the lion himself was standing guard? Suddenly, an idea struck him as he remembered his trusty rope. He spent the night setting a trap on the ground near the cooking pot, which he concealed under some leaves. That evening, when the animals had gone to work on the new village, Kalulu strolled out into the open and began to eat Tembo's beans, with one eye on Simba's hiding place. Having finished his meal, he ran off. As he expected, Simba leapt up and chased him. Kalulu bolted through the trap that he had set. Alas for the poor Simba! As he ran, he did not see that he has put his foot into the noose, and the text moment, he found himself dangling in mid air! He thus remained, wriggling and squirming, until the other animals returned and released him. Now, Simba was too ashamed to say that he had been fooled by a little rabbit, so he declared that an unknown animal had ensnared him. The next day, the furious Tembo deputed Mbogo the buffalo to watch the beans. This time, Kalulu had set a noose between two palm trees. When Kalulu had finished his meal of the king's beans and was strolling away, the buffalo charged him. However, like his predecessor he, too, stepped on the noose, and was left dangling ignobly in the air until the animals arrived to rescue him. Like Simba, the mighty Mbogo, too, was ashamed to admit that the rabbit had got the better of him, so he only said that an unknown miscreant had trapped him.

In this manner, in the coming days, Chita the cheetah, Mbwa the hunting dog, Chuwi the tiger, and Bweha the jackal were in turn deputed to guard the food, and all were laid low by Kalulu's trap. At length, Nko the crab, wiser than the rest, approached Tembo privately and said,"If your wife will smear me with salt and put me into your dinner of beans tomorrow, I will catch the thief." Tembo did not expect the tiny crab to succeed where all the mighty animals had failed; nevertheless, having no option, he decided to give it a try. Accordingly Nko was secretly smeared with salt and left in the dinner-pot. That evening Kalulu crept up to the pot and ate up the beans as usual marveling over how the beans were even better than usual, being so deliciously salty! All of a sudden, he screamed in pain, as someone nipped his ear. It was Nko, of course, and he clung tenaciously on to Kalulu's ear with his sharp teeth. No matter how much Kalulu tried to dislodge him, he hung on for dear life. Kalulu begged, pleaded and threatened, but all to no avail. Nko clutched the pot with his pincers while biting Kalulu's ear, so that he could not run away. He thus held Kalulu prisoner until the other animals returned, and saw who the thief was! They decided to pay him back exactly as he had treated them. For six days he had to do without any dinner, and every day they went off to work leaving Kalulu tied by his own rope to a tree. By the end of this period, he had grown so emaciated that they took pity upon him and let him go. He loped off, promising never to play such a trick again. But do you think he can keep his word?

KALULU AND THE TIGER


Life in the African jungle was not easy for Kalulu the rabbit, who had many enemies among the bigger, more powerful animals. They were just waiting for the opportunity to kill and eat him, and it was only by his nimble wits and agility that he managed to escape each time. One of the most dangerous of these enemies was Chuwi, the tiger. Many a time, Kalulu had had a narrow escape from his clutches, and he was now so furious that he had sworn to have Kalulu for lunch at the earliest opportunity. For many days after this, Kalulu was careful to stay out of Chuwi's way. However, as time passed, he grew careless and let his guard slip. One day, Kalulu happened to meet his old friend, Kima the monkey, at the foot of an old tamarind tree. He was so busy chatting that he failed to notice his dreaded foe creeping upon him. It was only when the light was blotted out by a wide shadow that the friends looked up to see the tiger standing within touching distance, glowering menacingly at them! "At last I've got you, Kalulu!" The booming voice was so terrifying it sent a chill down Kalulu's spine. Giving a shriek of fright, Kima turned and scrambled up the nearby tamarind tree.

Kalulu knew he was trapped! He could not hope to run away not when chuwi was this close. His mind worked at lightning speed he thought of a plan. He turned to face his foe, and was hard put to suppress an involuntary shudder. Chuwi's eyes had a murderous glint in them, and he was displaying all his fierce-looking teeth in a triumphant grin. Composing himself, Kalulu said calmly, "All right, Chuwi, you can eat me, if you like! What difference does it make, if we're all going to die anyway? Maybe it would be better this way quicker and less painful!" Chuwi paused, nonplussed. "What are you talking about?" "Haven't you hard, then? A terrible hurricane is about to hit the jungle. It'll be here any moment now. If we're caught in it, we'll all perish, without a doubt!" "What!" The predatory gleam died out of Chuwi's eyes, to be replaced by a look of terror. He knew all about hurricanes. They were terrible things the crashing trees, the howling wind, the pouring rain! In his fright, he forgot himself so much as to appeal to his prey. "Butbut what can we do, Kalulu?" he asked. "Well," said Kalulu, "I intend to hide somewhere till the hurricane has gone. But in your case, it's going to be more difficult! Being so big, you'll not find a safe place to hide, where the wind can't get at you. HmmmLet me think!" He pretended to be lost in thought, while Chuwi waited anxiously. Seconds later, he said, "I have it!" "Tell me!" said chuwi eagerly. Pointing to the tamarind tree, Kalulu said, "This tree is ancient and sturdy, and has withstood many storms. What you could do is to get yourself tied up to this, so that you don't get blown away." Chuwi eagerly grasped at this straw. "Good idea! Would you tie me up, Kalulu, please?" "Well" said Kalulu pretending to hesitate, "I have to go and find a suitable hiding place for myself" "Please, Kalulu!" Kalulu relented. "All right. Get some strong vines from yonder creeper, and I'll tie you." The tiger obeyed his bidding. Taking the vines, Kalulu tied him up to the tree. "Tighter!" shouted Chuwi. "I don't want to be blown off!" Hiding his laughter, Kalulu tightened the knots until Chuwi could hardly breathe. Then, with a "Good luck, Chuwi!" he hopped off.

Some time later, a few goats happened to come that way. "Hey, look at this!" they cried in delight. "The tiger is tied to a tree! Wonderful! Now we need fear him no more!" "Foolish goats," said Chuwi sternly, "don't you know there's a horrible hurricane on the way? Run away and hide while you can!" "A hurricane! Who told you about it?" asked one of the goats. "Kalulu," answered chuwi. He was surprised to see all the goats burst into laughter. "And you believed him?" asked one of them in between chuckles. Another added, "You've been nicely tricked! There are no signs of any hurricane. The sky is quite clear, and there is no wind." Chuwi saw red! He now realized how Kalulu had made a fool of him, and was more determined than ever to get free and eat him. The sight of the goats gamboling about made him drool with hunger. How he wished he could sink his teeth into their tender flesh! But Kalulu had tied him so tightly that it was impossible for him to free himself without assistance. Taking care to keep his voice soft and pleasant, he asked the goats, "Could you untie me, please?" But the goats took one look at the gleam in his eye and knew what he was up to. "No way!" they cried, and ran off, still laughing. On their way, they told all they met that it was celebration time because Chuwi was firmly tied to the tamarind tree. Meanwhile Chuwi was in despair. Eventually he looked up and saw Kima, the monkey (who had leapt away at his approach) peering at him from between the leaves. "Kima dear, won't you untie me?" he asked. "Not I," answered Kima promptly. "If I do, you'll eat me!" "No, no! I promise I won't. I'll even reward you with a bunch of ripe bananas; only untie me!" Now Kima was a rather foolish monkey, and he believed the cunning tiger. Lured by the bait of bananas, he came down and began gnawing away at the rope. Before long, it broke and Chuwi was free! The next moment, Chuwi grabbed Kima, smacked his lips and said, "Ah! My meal at last!" Poor Kima could only stare at him in terror. It was fortunate for him that Kalulu returned to check on chuwi at that very moment, and saw what was going on! Kalulu thought fast. Just as Chuwi was lifting Kima to mouth, he called out "Chuwi, shame on you! Is that any way to eat a monkey?"

"How else would one do it?" asked Chuwi, swinging the terrified Kima before his nose. "It's much more appetizing to throw the monkey into the air and catch him in your open mouth. But not all can do it!" As usual, Chuwi acted first and thought afterwards. Stung by the challenge, he declared, "Of course I can do it!" He tossed the little monkey high in the air and waited for the tender delicacy to drop into his open mouth. As he floated up into thy branches, the agile Kima hooked his tail on a branch to break his fall and scampered higher into the tree! Kalulu quickly shook the tamarind tree. The next moment, several! Large, tart pods dropped from the overhanging branch into Chuwi's open mouth! Choking and coughing, poor Chuwi spat out the awful fruit. He then ran away into the jungle, swearing that he would make a meal of that rabbit the very next time he found him! But can anyone ever catch clever Kalulu?

Moral: Quick wit solves many problems.Moral: Evil actions lead to punishment some day.

KIBOKO'S FUR COAT


Many, many years ago, long before you or I, or even our great-grandparents, were born, there was a time when hippos did not live in the water as they do now. Instead, they lived in the African wilds in the company of the other animals. Would you believe it if I told you that in those days, Kiboko, the hippo, was the handsomest of all the animals? You might find it hard to relate this with his present ugly appearance, but yes, it is true! Those were the days when he sported a wonderful thick coat of soft brown fur. Nor was this his only claim to beauty; he also had a pair of long, silky ears and a magnificent bushy tail. So you can imagine that he was very good-looking indeed! Unfortunately, Kiboko's nature was not half as beautiful as his appearance! His problem was that he was extremely vain. The other animals praise for his beauty had turned his head, and he now believed that he was the greatest animal in the jungle! He had become obsessed with his looks and would spend hours at the river every day, feasting his eyes upon his own reflection and turning his body this way and that to admire himself from every angle. One day, as he was majestically ambling towards the river as usual, who should he meet en route but Kalulu, the rabbit! Conceited about his own beauty, he felt pity for the rabbit who (he thought) was so ugly. Forgetting all his manners, he condescendingly declared- "Poor Kalulu; I feel sorry for you! How ridiculous you look

with your coarse coat, over-long ears, twitchy nose and that ugly short tail! And your clumsy hopping gait, too! I'm so glad I don't look like you!" Kalulu was so angry that words failed him. How dare the arrogant hippo talk to him like that! Without pausing to retort, he hopped away, thinking, "Just you wait, Kiboko! I'll teach you a lesson you won't forget in a hurry!" Blissfully unaware of the fact that he had just earned himself a dangerous enemy, Kiboko lumbered on to the river, where he gloated over his reflection, saying to himself, "Indeed I'm lucky. How elegant-looking I am so unlike that ugly hare!" Meanwhile, back home, Kalulu was thinking furiously of how best he could avenge his humiliation. Soon, an idea struck him. He quickly busied himself collecting a pile of soft, dry grass, which he tied into a bundle. That evening, he visited Kiboko as if nothing had happened. In a tone brimming with adulation, he humbly addressed him thus, "Kiboko! You are the pride and glory of our jungle. The winter is almost here. I'm worried about you. You know, it is all right for us ordinary folks, but a magnificent animal like you should not spoil his superb body by sleeping on the cold, hard ground! Please accept this gift from me. It is a bed of soft grass for you to sleep on." Foolish Kiboko puffed up with the pride on hearing the praise. Without in the least suspecting anything amiss, he accepted the bundle and haughtily declared, "Indeed, it is the duty of you all to ensure that my beauty is maintained, and I am glad to see that you, for one, are aware of your responsibility! Thanks!" On hearing this, Kalulu nearly choked with fury. Really, was there no limit to the fool's pride? "Just wait awhile, Mr. Handsome, and see what happens!" he said to himself, and took leave of Kiboko as graciously as he could. Eager to try out his soft new bed, Kiboko spread it out at once in the usual place. "Hmmm.soft and comfortable! Nothing less than what I deserve!" he commented as he lay down upon it. Moments later, he was snoring away to glory. Meanwhile, Kalulu ran to the village adjoining the forest. At the centre of the village, he found a large fire, which had just been extinguished. However, a few live coals remained on the edge. No one was about, and he quickly grabbed the lumps and put them into a broken pot which was lying nearby. He then dashed back into the jungle with the pot. He found Kiboko still snoring away in his warm, soft bed. Kalulu crept up to him noiselessly and dropped the glowing coal lumps on the dry grass. It was a windy night and a strong breeze soon began blowing. It was not long before the sparks from the coal, fanned by the breeze, turned into a conflagration!

Kiboko woke up with a start, to find flames all around him and over him. Panic-stricken, he trashed about wildly, trying to beat out the flames. But it was of no use his magnificent fur coat was soon burning like a brand. In great agony, he raced towards the river. Kalulu was standing by, watching the spectacle. He leapt out of the way just in time, as Kiboko in his mad rush nearly crashed into him. Kiboko reached the river and leapt headlong into the cool water. Relief came only when he held his breath and dived below the surface. The flames were put out, and the cold water felt good against his burning skin. He lay there for a long time, letting the soothing sensation wash over him. Hours later, Kiboko climbed out of the water, feeling sore and painful all over, and very furious. "Where's that devil of a rabbit?" he roared. "Let me just get hold of him, and I'll give him the hiding of his life!" However, before going in search of Kalulu, Kiboko had to first look at his reflection, to find out the extent of the damage caused by the fire. He peeped down at the water and what an awful shock he got! Staring back at him from the clear water was a pinkish-grey, wrinkled, bald creature! Unable to believe his eyes, poor Kiboko gaped in stupefaction. His lovely fur coat the envy of the whole jungle was gone! His beautiful bushy tail was burnt to a stump! Ugly, round, small pink ears poked out where his long silky ones used to be! Without his handsome fur coat, his legs looked short and stubby and his body looked bulky and obese. He lookedpositively ugly! Kiboko burst into a loud wail. He had been so proud of his looks, and this was the worst possible fate that could have befallen him. Heart-broken, he fled back into the water to hide his body from anyone who might see him. Crying and howling in shame, he lowered himself beneath the surface so that only his eyes and nostrils could be seen. From then on, he remained in the water. His descendants followed suit. That is why, even today you find the hippopotamus always immersed in water. Only at night, when he is sure that no one iswatching, does this once magnificent animal come out to walk and graze at the edge of the forest. A heavy price, indeed, that poor Kiboko paid for his vanity!

Moral: Do not be vain about your beauty.

LOMDEN AND THE WOLF


One afternoon, Memna the sheep was grazing in a mountain pasture along with the rest of the flock. Now, the other sheep were content to remain in the pasture under the eye of the shepherd, who had warned them not to stray. But Memna, who was young and adventurous, thought, "How boring it is to graze in the same meager pasture, day after

day! The shepherd is a silly fellow who's scared of every little thing; that's why he keeps telling us not to venture out of this tiny space. How I wish I could go out and explore the terrain for myself! That valley on the east looks so green- I'm sure the grass and leaves there will be much thicker and juicier than this dry grass!" Presently she saw that the shepherd was dozing, and that the others in the flock had their attention elsewhere. All of a sudden, a daring thought struck her- why not seize this opportunity to sneak away from the flock and explore that inviting valley? Surely she could graze there to her heart's content andget back before she was missed! Soon, the little sheep was treading the glorious path of freedom. Merrily, she frisked and bounded her way to the valley. Alas, she had rejoiced too soon! For, all of a sudden, she was stopped in her tracks by the sight of a large, ferocious wolf who stood blocking her path! He eyed the plump sheep with delight and boomed, "Ah-ha, what have we here? A delicious dinner- just what I'd been longing for!" Poor Memna, who had never anticipated such a danger, was rooted to the spot. She was no terrified that she could not even bleat aloud! She stood there as if mesmerized, staring at the wolf with terrified eyes. "Come, come, my dear, don't look so stricken," said the wolf. "There's nothing to be sad about- on the contrary, you should rejoice! You're going to fulfill the purpose of your life, by providing a delicious meal to a poor, starving wolf!" Moving menacingly towards her, he paused, as if struck by a new thought, and said, "On second thoughts, I don't think I shall have my meal here, in the open. It'll be much tastier if savoured at leisure, in the privacy of my cave! But then, my cave is far from here, and if I kill you now it'll be quite a job to drag your plump body (here he paused to leer at Memna and lick his lips, as she shuddered in fright) all the way there! So I'll lead you to the cave as my honored guest! Come on!" Clutching poor Memna by the scruff of her neck, he began dragging her towards the mountain. Suddenly, Memna saw a familiar figure grazing in a corner of the valley. It was Lomden, the clever here. Finding her tongue, she called out- "Lomden, help me! The wolf is going to eat me!" The wolf said, "Of course I am. Do you think that little here is so foolish as to try to protect you? Why, I can knock him dead with one swipe of my paw! The only reason I've chosen you instead of him for dinner is that you're plumper and would make a tastier meal!" Lomden wondered what he could do to Memna. The wolf was right- he was much stronger than Lomden and would not hesitate to kill him if challenged. Suddenly, he had an idea.

Turning to the wolf, Lomden said, "How right you are! I would indeed be a fool if I tried to help the silly sheep who has been caught by one so powerful as you! And as I'm no fool, I shall help you instead." "Help me! How?" asked the wolf curiously. Lomden said, "Before you go any further, let me just run down the valley to make sure that there are no hunters around who could deprive you of a good meal." The wolf said, "I never thought of that! Go on then, Lomden; I'll wait for your return." The hare swiftly loped away into the bushes and soon vanished out of view. As he raced along, he kept his eyes open for anything that might come in useful. Soon, he came to a spot where, evidently some hunters had recently camped. Assorted litter lay all round the remains of their camp-fire. Lomden stopped to rummage among the rubbish, and found a piece of paper and a strip of felt. "Ah! Just the thing I need!" he exclaimed happily as he picked them up. Having made some arrangements, Lomden then ran back to where the wolf was waiting for him. "Well?" asked the wolf impatiently on seeing him. "Did you spot any hunters?" "Hunters? No," answered Lomden, "but I did find something that might be of interest to you." He showed him the paper, which had been rolled up and tied with the piece of felt. "It seems to be a message from the Imperial Palace! It bears the Emperor's seal," he declared. "What does it say? Read it and tell me. You know I can't read," said the wolf. Lomden reverentially opened the paper and pretended to read it. He said, "Oh, this is an order from the Emperor! Let me read it out to you." Loudly he declaimed the imaginary order, "I, the mighty emperor, hereby issue an order for a gown to be made from the fur of seventy-five wolves. I have been able to find only seventy-four wolf hides so far. I hereby command all inhabitants of my land to find one wolf at the earliest, and bring him to my palace, dead or alive. Anybody who fulfils my wish will be rewarded handsomely." The wolf turned pale on hearing this pronouncement. Lomden thoughtfully said, "Hmmm.a handsome reward! Besides, when the Emperor himself commands it, who can disobey?" He turned to look meaningfully at the wolf. The wolf, now a far cry from his earlier fierce self, trembled in fear and pleaded, "Please, Lomden, don't inform anyone of my whereabouts! Let me go and hide!" Releasing Memna, he took to his heels.

Lomden laughed heartily at the sight of fleeing wolf. Memna heaved a great sigh of relief and fervently said, "Thank you, Lomden!" "It's all right, Memna! Go back to your flock and don't stray away in future. After all, I may not be there to rescue you the next time," warned Lomden. A chastened Memna took his advice and returned to the flock, very much the wiser for her little adventure!

Moral : There is always safety in numbers.

THE TREE THAT CHANGED ITS HABITS


Long, long ago, in a forest near Varanasi, there lived a handsome young antelope. He was very fond of the fruits of a particular tree. Every fruits that dropped from it. In a village bordering the jungle, there lived a hunter who captured and killed antelopes and deer. He used to set traps for animals under the fruit-bearing trees. When the animal came to eat the fruit of the tree, it would be caught in the trap. He would then take it away and kill it for its meat. One day, while visiting the forest in search of game, the hunter happened to see the antelope standing under its favorite tree, eating fruit. He was delighted. "What a big, healthy antelope!" he thought. "I must catch him. I will get a lot of money by selling his meat." Thereafter, for many days, the hunter kept track of the antelope's movements. He realized that the antelope was remarkably vigilant and fleet-footed animal, and that it would be virtually impossible for him to track him down. However, he had a weakness for that particular tree. The crafty hunter swiftly concluded that he could use this weakness to capture him. Early one morning, the hunter entered the forest with some logs of wood. He climbed the tree and put up a machan (platform used by hunters) on one of its branches by tying the logs together. Having set his trap at the foot of the tree, he then took up position on the machan and waited for the antelope. He strewed a lot of fruits on the ground beneath the tree to conceal the trap and lure the antelope. He did not have to wait long. Soon enough, the antelope came strolling along. He was very hungry and was eagerly looking forward to his usual breakfast of delicious ripe fruits. On the tree-top, the hunter, having sighted him, sat with baited breath, willing him to come closer and step into his trap. However, the antelope was no fool. Even in his hunger, he did not give up his vigilance. As he neared the tree, he stopped short. The number of fruits lying under the tree seemed considerably more than usual. It would have taken a whirlwind to bring down so many fruits; but the previous night had not been particularly windy! What is more, the other trees in the vicinity appeared normal; there were not so many fruits scattered below them! Surely, something was amiss, decided the antelope.

He paused just out of reach of the tree and carefully began examining the ground. Now, he saw what distinctly looked like a human footprint. Without going closer, he looked suspiciously at the tree. The hunter was well hidden in its thick foliage; nevertheless the antelope, on close scrutiny, was now sure that his suspicions had not been unfounded. He could see a corner of the machan peeping out of the leaves. Meanwhile the hunter was getting desperate. Why wasn't the antelope coming nearer to eat his favorite fruit? Suddenly, he had a brainwave. "Let me try throwing some fruit to him," he thought. "Maybe that will lure him to the tree." So the hunter plucked some choice fruits and hurled them in the direction of the antelope. Alas, instead of luring him closer, it only confirmed his fears! The antelope said to him self, "The fruits are coming flying towards me, instead of dropping on the ground as usual. Since when did trees start throwing their fruits? Now I'm certain that there is a hunter up the tree, and it is he who is throwing them at me to bring me closer, so that he can trap me!" Raising his voice, he spoke in the direction of the tree-"Listen, my dear tree, until now you have always dropped your fruits on the earth. Today you have started throwing them at me! This is a most un-treelike action of yours, and I'm not sure I like the change! Since you have changed your habits, I too will change mine. I will get my fruits from a different tree from now on-one that still acts like a tree!" The hunter realized that the antelope had outsmarted him with its cleverness. He was so furious that he did not bother to continue the face of hiding. Parting the leaves to reveal himself, he grabbed his javelin and flung it wildly at the antelope. But the clever antelope was well prepared for any such action on his part. Giving a saucy chuckle, he leapt nimbly out of harm's way. The javelin missed him by a wide margin and got embedded in the ground. The antelope laughingly called out, "Better luck next time, O hunter!" The frustrated hunter was left shouting furious curses, as he bounded away into the deep forest, never to be seen again!

Moral: Forewarned is forearmed.