Text 1 : The Rat and the crow

Black ruffles flitted thorough the dark ebony feathers of Ms Sisily, the Crow. She was the cynosure of everyone’s eyes with her beauty although accompanied with very little brains.

Many a handsome crows would try their best to create an impression so that she would wed them. But Sisily was smart, she took undue advantage of all the visiting crows never confirming anyone with any answer. So day in and day out crows would come with a gift of some food to make Sisily aware of them. Hence Sisily did not have much to do, but sit around and wait for a visitor.

Now all the other lady crows were very jealous of her, wanting to divert the men towards them. So they planned a conspiracy. Soon one suggested Smelly the rat. It was well-built, black like a stone but clever as a fox. They all got together and met Smelly requesting him to help them out. Terms and conditions fixed Smelly accepted the deal.

Smelly kept a close watch on Sisily from afar. He did not let the crow know he even existed. Like a shadow he crept around her, jotting down points and drawing his conclusions.

After a week of self-study, he thought it was time to act as planned. He made himself visible to Sisily and blushed whenever their eyes met. He noticed how fat she had grown and utterly lethargic, being used to being served around. Once she was offered a big cheese piece by her patron, the biggest she had ever received. In fact it was big enough to survive on a few days. The entire neighbourhood got the smell of it and went green with envy.

Just then Smelly showed up and said, “Morning Sisily, you looking as beautiful as ever. How about a lovely song from you? Your voice must be as beautiful as you and I want to have a good day. What better to begin it by hearing your voice?

Immediately Sisily flushed began to caw. She did not realise the wobbling cheese piece as she cawed away her noise. The cheese tipped to its edge and with no support fell straight to the ground. Smelly took his share and all the other birds swooped down to take theirs. Sisily became the laughing stock.

Smelly looked up the fat crow and said, let me tell you one thing, never trust flatterers.

Text 2: The Real Queen

King Hutamasan felt he had everything in the world not only due to his riches and his noble knights, but because of his beautiful queen, rani Matsya. The rays of the sun were put to shame with the iridescent light that Matsya illuminated, with her beauty and brains. Her soft skin like calm waters was flawless, her lips curled and were well-appointed. Her eyes were like the berries on a tree, dark and impulsive, you could feel her looking at you wherever you go.

At the right hand of the king she was known to sit and aid him in all his judicial probes. You could not escape her deep-set eyes when you committed a crime, she always knew the victim and the culprit. Her generosity preceded her reputation in the kingdom; her hands were always full to give. People in the kingdom revered her cause if she passed by, she always gave to the compassionate and poor.

Rani Matsya was known even in the neighbouring villages; they all revered her above a mere queen and had given her the dais of a goddess.

Far away from the kingly palace lived a man with only ends to his poverty and no means to rectify it. Raman was wrecked with poverty as he had lost all his land to the landlord. His age enabled him little towards manual labour and so begging was the only alternative to salvage his wife and children. Every morning he went door to door for some work, food or money. The kindness of people always got him enough to take home. But Raman was a little self-centred. His world began with him first, followed by his family and the rest.
So he would eat and drink to his delight and return home with whatever he found excess. This routine followed and he never let anyone discover his interests as he always put on a long face when he reached home.

One day as he was relishing the bowl of rice he had just received from a humble home, he heard that rani Matsya was to pass from the very place he was standing. Her generosity had reached his ears and he knew if he pulled a long face and shown how poor he was, she would hand him a bag full of gold coins. Enough for the rest of his life, enough to buy food and supplies for his family. He thought he could keep some coins for himself and only reveal a few to his wife, so he can fulfill his own wishes.

He ran to the chariot of the rani and begged her soldiers to allow him to speak to the queen. Listening to the arguments outside rani Matsya opened the curtains of her chariot and asked Raman what he wanted.

Raman went on his knees and praised the queen. I have heard you are most generous and most chaste, show this beggar some charity. Rani narrowed her brows and asked Raman what he could give her in return. Surprised by such a question, Raman looked at his bowl full of rice. With spite in him he just picked up a few grains of rice and gave it to the queen.

Rani Matsya counted the 5 grains and looked at his bowl full of rice and said, "You shall be given what is due to you". Saying this, the chariot galloped away.

Raman abused her under his breath. This he never thought would happen. How could she ask him for something in return when she hadn’t given him anything? Irked with anger he stormed home and gave his wife the bowl of rice. Just then he saw a sack at the entrance. His wife said some men had come and kept it there. He opened it to find it full of rice. He put his hand inside and caught hold of a hard metal only to discover it was a gold coin. Elated he upturned the sack to find 5 gold coins in, exactly for the five rice grains. If only I had given my entire bowl thought Raman I would have had a sack full of gold.

Always be generous especially with your food.

Text 3: No shortcuts

Childhood is fun, and who knows it better than children themselves. Day time is play time, night time is play time……every time is play time.

And so was Ramesh, a happy go lucky boy. He loved to aim the marble and win the game, do the hopscotch till he was out of breadth and play till it sundown. Ramesh was not much trouble to his parents as he helped in the house chores and did his bit even though he was only 10.

But there was only one drawback, Ramesh disliked studying. Holding a book was like being possessed by a demon for him. He hated the very look of a book, so be it writing or reading, Ramesh ran far away as he could from it.

Night and day, he would just play inside and outside; the world was a playground for him along with his favourite buddy Siraj. He would always welcome Siraj to his home and the two would play together. Ramesh’s mother liked Siraj and treated him as her own son. But Siraj’s mother did not like Ramesh as her son was a studious boy who loved to study. She feared he would act like Ramesh and reflect a lethargic attitude towards studying.

Ramesh sensed the same and so would seldom go to Siraj’s house. He too was a bit jealous of his best friend as he always won praises while he had to settle for less than a pat on his back. But even though he tried he was not able to seed the study plant into his thick brains.

But Ramesh’s mother had no biasness towards Siraj. She would even help him financially with book purchases, guide materials and study tools. Hence Siraj always kept by Ramesh even though he was not of his wavelength.

And so the tale of two friends grew stronger. They were known in school and in the neighbourhood as thick pals. Always there for each other, in good times and bad.

One exam day, as Ramesh was struggling to answer the paper, Siraj was smoothly flowing ink with lengthy words. He had prepared for the tests unlike Ramesh. When Ramesh’s could not think of any answer to pen down he thought he would ask Siraj for some help.

Siraj did not think twice in giving his paper but to his bad luck the teacher caught the two and threatened to take them to the principal. Instantly Siraj said that he was suffering from a high fever the previous night and Ramesh was nursing him, and in the bargain had no time to study.

Ramesh was taken aback with the Siraj’s love and went red in the cheeks. He was embarrassed to know that his best friend loved him so much and he so little. He apologised to the teacher acknowledging his mistake. And from that day on, he vowed to take interest in studies and be a better student.

One can skip food and water. But if one skips studying regularly the future is empty.