Once upon a time there was a huge mango orchard with many, many trees in it. There were many kinds of mangoes in it; mangoes of many shapes, sizes and color but they were all very beautiful. And juicy. In the same orchard it so happened there was also a little chickoo tree standing in one corner. Have you seen a chickoo fruit ? It’s round and small and brown and not very pretty. When it is young it’s fruits are very hard. Yes, it’s not a very good looking fruit even though it is very sweet when it is ripe.
Anyway, let’s go on with the story. The poor chickoo tree was very lonely. None of the mango trees would talk to him. The mango trees were friends with each other but whenever the chickoo tree tried to talk to them they would tell him to go away. They would laugh and say, ” Look at you ! So small and round and brown. And look at us. We are golden in color and so shapely. You don’t fit in our crowd. Don’t you try to come near us. Just run away. ” Well, you know very well trees can’t run so the chickoo tree would just stand in his corner with a long face and feel very sorry for himself. How he wished he had a few friends. He was very, very lonely.
One day, a party of humans came in to the orchard for a picnic. They sat down under the shade of the mango trees and eat and drank. Then, they decided to have some tea. So, they collected some dry sticks, added some dry grass and lit a fire. They made tea and everyone, except the children who had some hot milky cocoa, had tea. Then, they put out the fire and went away.
But, the fire was not quite out even though they had stamped on it. Just a little spark was hidden under the twigs and that was enough to light the fire again. Very soon, the fire started spreading . It started burning the grass and the dry leaves on the ground. Very soon it would reach the mango trees which , when dry, can burn down very fast.
The mango trees saw the fire and were frightened. They didn’t know what to do. If even one mango tree caught fire the whole orchard would burn down. The mango trees started shouting, ” Help ! help! Save us ! ” but there was no one around to hear them. The watchman of the orchard had gone home for lunch. By the time he would come back the orchard would be on fire. What a disaster. And anyway who can hear the sound of trees calling for help except other trees. No one can understand them.
And so it happened the little chickoo heard the mango trees shouting for help. He saw the fire too and understood the great danger . He thought to himself, “It’s true that the mango trees do not want to be my friends. They are also very rude to me. But, we are all trees. So, I must do something to save them.” Can you guess what the chickoo tree did to save the mango trees? You know trees can’t run or shout for help because they are rooted to the ground and no one can understand them. Then, how was the chickoo tree going to save the mango trees ?
Did I not tell you that the chickoos’ fruit are very hard when they are young. So what the chickoo did was to drop all his fruits to the ground at one go. There was a shower of chickoo fruits hitting the ground. When the fruits hit the ground they made such a racket ! I cannot even describe the sound of hundreds of chickoo fruits hitting the ground at one time, just like a hail storm. It was so sudden and noisy that all the birds flew up in shock and started to squawk ! The crows went, ‘caw, caw’, the birds went, ‘cheep, cheep’ and the squirrels started chattering. Even the few goats who were roaming around started bleating . Hearing them , the cows started lowing, “moo, moo” the stray dogs started to bark and the cats started mewing and hissing . It was a very noisy event.
A few passerbys heard the sound of the animals and looked towards the orchard. They saw the plume of smoke above the trees and knew, at once, that the orchard was in great danger. They started shouting. Some of them ran to get the watchman. Some ran to get buckets of water. And some called the fire station. Everyone got together and put out the fire. And then went away.
After the people left there was a long silence in the orchard. All the mango trees were thinking about the sacrifice the chickoo tree had made to save the mango trees by throwing all his fruits to the ground. He had nothing left. The mango trees waved their branches and saluted the chickoo tree. Then they said , ” You are very special chickoo tree , we are just ordinary in front of you. Will you be our friend ? ” The chickoo tree was very happy to hear this. He said, ” I will be honored to be your friend.” Now, the chickoo tree was never lonely. He had many, many friends who loved and honored him for his good qualities and did not care how he looked. Yes, it is what you do for others that is important, not how you look.
( This is a short version of the story for when you are too sleepy to hear long stories and your parents are too tired. But there is a very long, long story for the weekends which I will be writing very soon for you !)
The inspiration for this story is Col. Bhagwan Shukla who, like the chickoo tree, gave up all the fruits of his action in order to save the ‘mangoes’
Shipra Shukla Collected Tails of Jungle Land
There was a python who just loved to eat and sleep. That is what he would do all day long. Eat and sleep. Eat and sleep. Eat and sleep. Now, if you do this all day long and then day after day , then you are going to fall very, very sick. And that is what happened to the silly python . He became very, very sick. His tummy started hurting. Ow ! Ow ! Ow ! He howled. Now, if he had hands he would have clutched his stomach and howled just like you do. But pythons don’t have hands. Just a long body. So, he took his long body and stretched it and decided to crawl to the doctor. As the python was crawling to the doctors’ clinic he felt very hot and tired. So, he decided to rest under a tree. It was a tree with very red fruits hanging from it.
The python was very sleepy. He opened his mouth to yawn. Just then, PLOP, one of the red fruits fell into his mouth. The python gulped down the fruit as was his habit and fell off to sleep. When the python got up he was feeling much better but then, he thought to himself that since I have come so far I might as well see the doctor and find out why my stomach aches all the time. So, he crawled to Dr. Leopards’ clinic and lay down in the waiting room along with the other animals who also had some problem or the other .
Dr. Leopard asked the python to come into his examination room and asked him to lie down. The python said, “I am already lying down since I cannot sit.” Dr. Leopard made a face as he did not like anyone to correct him and said , “Yes, yes, I meant , lie down on the couch so I can examine you . Tell me, what is your problem?”
The python said, “I had a stomach ache but now I am fine. The stomach ache is gone.”
Dr. Leopard was surprised to hear that the python was feeling better without taking any of his medicines which were quite expensive. So he asked the python, ” Tell me Mr. Python, what did you do after you had the stomach ache ?
The python said, “Don’t you want to know how and when I got the stomach ache so you can cure me ?”
The leopard looked very silly in front of his helpers so he he smiled with his very sharp teeth and said,” Yes, yes! Please tell me what you eat and what you did ?”
The python said, “Well, in the morning I swallowed my breakfast in one gulp and went to sleep. Then, at lunch, I swallowed my meal in one big gulp and went to sleep and then, at dinner …….”
The leopard said, “Wait, I am a doctor, I know what you did. You gulped down your dinner and went to sleep!”
All the doctors’ helpers clapped at the doctors intelligence.
The python said, “I have been doing this for many,many days ! But then, yesterday, I had a BIG stomach ache, not the usual small ones. Maybe, it was because I went to a party and gulped down everything .”
“Hmmmmmmmmmm” said Dr. Leopard,” I see the problem now. You don’t chew your food. You must chew your food before you eat it .”
The python was very surprised that the doctor did not know that pythons don’t have teeth. He thought to himself, ” I better get out of here and find some doctor who knows his job. This doctor has a fancy coat but he does not know what he is doing.”
The python said, ” Now, that I am much better, I think I will go home.” He tried to crawl out of the room but Dr.Leopard blocked his way and said, “Wait, wait. You didn’t tell me what happened after the stomach ache. How did you get well? ”
The python was trapped in the room with the doctor and his assistants so he decided to clear the mystery of his wellness. He said, “well, I crawled all the way to your clinic which is quite a distance away. On the way, I was feeling sleepy so I slept under a tree. It was a tree with red fruits. When I yawned one of the fruits fell in my mouth and I gulped it down and then fell asleep. When, I got up I was feeling much, much better.”
Dr. Leopard said, ” It seems to me you slept under an apple tree and that is why you are fine now!”
The python said, ” I am sure it was not an apple tree!”
Dr. Leopard said, ” How can you be so sure that it was not an apple tree. You did say the fruits were red !”
The python said , ” I know it was not an apple tree because we all know that an apple a day keeps the doctor away . But, as you can see, here I am with you and you are a doctor and you are not going away and you are not letting me go away too ! So, you see it was not an apple tree . ”
Dr. Leopard was stunned by this intelligent answer. He thought to himself, this python is very smart. Maybe, I can use him to get more patients.
TO BE CONTINUED ……….