The Bad Luck Stone

by Samridh Batra

Vicky was in a really bad mood.It was the first day of his summer vacation and he had been looking forward to a nice, lazy day. However, the day had started badly and had gone on to get worse. His parents had quarreled bitterly in the morning and had then left for work. The maid  had burnt his breakfast. Then the cable connection had developed problems when his favourite program was on. He wondered why all this was happening to him.

He kept racking his brains, and suddenly remembered that he had bought a stone from the magic shop last evening. The shopkeeper had said, “If you buy this stone, it will might you luck, but if you are already unlucky, it will bring you even more bad luck”. The stone was so beautiful, shining with many colours, that Vicky had ignored the warning of bad luck and bought it.

He tried to remember what the shopkeeper had told him about the bad luck. He had said that the only way to stop this bad luck was to destroy the stone. So, Vicky decided to destroy the stone. He went towards his room, but as he turned the handle, it broke. He pushed at the door, but it came off the hinges and fell, breaking his favorite vase. The bad luck was acting fast!

He picked up the stone and began to run towards his bike so that he could crush the stone under it. But as he entered the garage, the piano fell infront of him because of the wooden flooring. He climbed his bike , switched on the engine and ran it over the stone, but there was not even a single scratch on it. Vicky was in a panic. He had to break the stone, or the bad luck would follow him.

He came out of the garage and sat on the footpath, thinking new ideas to destroy the stone. Suddenly, there was a loud sound from the sky and he saw an airplane crashing!!! He left the stone there and ran for his life. There was a huge bang and fire as the plane crashed to the ground. When the smoke had settled down, Vicky went to look and saw that plane had crashed exactly where the stone had been. And now there was nothing there but smoke and ashes.

And so, the bad luck of the stone itself broke the stone into pieces.

Samridh Batra is 12 years old and a student of class VII in New Delhi. He loves reading and sports.

Clues to Happiness – 5

story and illustration by Prakhya Bhageria

The story so far (see Clues to Happiness parts 1, 2, 3 and 4):

“Julie, I –we- ourselves don’t believe, or even understand what is happening,” said Lucy.

Julie said as patiently as she could, “Guys, whatever it is, you can tell me. Is there any problem? Do you need any help?”

“Julie, all you must do is trust us. And if we need any help you will be the first person we will ask,” Lucy assured her.

Julie looked at them searchingly for a long moment and finally said, “Fine, I trust you,” and left for her room.

After Julie left Fred turned to face Lucy and said, “Lucy! Couldn’t you have made a simple excuse instead of that ‘trust me’ thing? Now, sooner or later, we’ll have to tell her the truth.

“At least, now she’ll REALLY trust us,” retorted Lucy.

“Whatever! Now we let’s go, check out the address on the paper.”

“Fred, it’s almost evening; we can’t go out. Let’s start tomorrow”

NEXT DAY

It was 9 o’clock in the morning. Fred and Lucy were walking towards the address on the paper that had come out from the mouth of the statue.

“Oh! I am so happy. It’s summer vacation, finally!”, Exclaimed Lucy.

“I don’t care,” replied Fred.

They reached a street where the houses were really old, and finally found themselves standing outside the address written on the piece of paper. The house looked very, very old–probably constructed around the time of the First World War, thought Lucy.

“Fred, Do you think this is the right place?” asked Lucy slowly “ I expected it to be a little more modern.”

“It has to be,” said Fred. “This is exactly what I thought the place would look like,” said Fred and walked up to the door. Lucy stared after him, wonderingly and followed him across the front yard full of dried grass. They rang the bell and an old, dry voice answered, “Yes? Who’s there?”

“Ummmm….I am Lucy with my brother Fred”

The door opened and an old man who looked in his 80’s peered out.

“Do I know you?” the man asked in a wheezy voice.

“No, but Archibald sent us,” repllied Lucy. “To get a book telling us how to find the wishing flowers,” she explained.

The old man looked wary. “Come in, ” he said, leading them through the old house into the drawing room and sat down on the old fashioned sofa. Lucy and Fred sat down near him.

There was a minute of silence, and finally the man said, “How do I know you have not been sent by thieves wanting the flowers for their own selfish ends?”

Lucy handed him the paper that Archibald had given them. The man stared at the paper for a moment and said, “Archibald must have told you the story. I was there–there with him in the Amazon, but he got separated from us. I wish I could help him. But look at me. Do you think I can help my dear friend? No!”

The kids stayed silent. The old man got up and disappeared through a door. Presently he came back with an old, dusty book.

“Here you go kids,” said the man handing them the book. “You will bring Archie back, right?”

“Yes,” said Lucy softly. “Well, we should leave now.”

The old man nodded and followed them to the front door. As the kids left they heard him call out: “BY THE WAY, MY NAME IS ROBERT KAIL.”

“OK MR.KAIL!” they called back.

Fred looked at the thick, dusty old volume that Robert Kail had given them as they walked away from his house. “Great! Now that we’ve got the book, all we have got to do is follow the instructions,” he said happily.

“And you think that will be easy?”asked Lucy witheringly.

“Of course not!”

Fred and Lucy went to a park nearby and found a vacant bench. They sat down quietly and opened the book. Fred found the chapter on “Wish-Fulfillment Flowers” in the index and opened the page.

He tried to read a few lines on the page, and then finally said, “I don’t understand a word of it.”

“Stupid! This is old English!”

“Yeah! Yeah!….and you are the bookworm, not me. You read it and tell me everything by tomorrow,” grinned Fred, handing her the book.

“This boy!” muttered Lucy under her breath as they walked towards the house.

To be continued …

Prakhya Bhageria is 13 years old and a student of class VIII in New Delhi. She loves reading, writing, crafts and art.

The Tree Climbing

by Agrini Bhattacharya

No, I can’t do this!” exclaimed Martha, but Susan refused to accept it.

“Why can’t you do it?” she demanded. “It’s only in your mind that you can’t do it. We need another person and you are the only one left in the whole village. If you refuse, then we are bound to lose, and this would mean that we would have to give up our fields to them.”

“Come on, Martha,” cajoled Robin in a pleading voice. “Don’t be afraid. Believe in your capabilities. You just need to agree. We really don’t have much time left. Please say yes.” Martha looked unsure. As a litlte girl she had been the best tree climber in the whole village, sure footed, agile and flexible. However, when she had last climbed a tree, when she was six, she had had a terrible fall, which had resulted in her having a steel ball in her ankle. Since then she had always been too scared to climb trees again.

This year, some rowdy kids from the neighboring village had commandeered their playing fields and refused to leave them. The village head, when applied to, had clearly told them that it was their matter and that they would have to solve it themselves. The children in both villages had decided upon a challenge tournament, and the winners would have the right to the playing fields. There were to be swimming, racing and tree climbing competitions. Martha, the best natural athlete and acrobat in the village, had participated in every competition except the tree climbing.

Martha looked at the earnest and pleading faces of her friends. They needed her. But what if she fell down again? Or got stuck in the tree? What if her ankle wasn’t able to take the strain and she did not finish her climb? That would be really embarrassing! Still hesitating, she said, “Okay, I’ll give it a try. But I don’t guarantee success.” Everyone was overjoyed and thanked her fervently. We start practice tomorrow. Everyone, please report to me by ten o’ clock sharp at the Victorian Edge,” announced Susan. They all nodded and dispersed hurriedly as the Church gong struck noon.

On her way back, Martha had only one thought-“can I do this?” she was confused. On reaching home, she went straight to her mother. Her mother was a doctor in the town. She had her own clinic. Her father was also a doctor and was working as a surgeon in a hospital. At present, her father had gone to Geneva for a conference. She had an elder brother who was in a boarding school in Chicago. She told her mother everything. Her mother said “you took a very wise decision. Don’t be scared. Just believe in yourself and you will surely succeed. Success only comes to those who dare. Be brave.”

Martha felt stronger. She gave a determined smile. She was going to overcome her fear and win this competition. Suddenly, she realized how much she missed her tree climbing. She had always loved trees. And now, after seven years she would climb trees again. She could not wait for the competition day.

The next day she started from home early and reached the Victorian edge on time. The Victorian edge was a small patch of daisies in midst of a dense forest. They had named it the Victorian edge because they thought Queen Victoria loved daisies. Everyone was there, practicing for the competition. Martha also practiced with them. At last, there came the turn of tree climbing.

Everyone had one tree and started to scale it. Martha had the longest oak tree. She looked up at the height of the tree and then looked at her right foot’s ankle. This was the same tree from which she had fallen down. She remembered those branches and the big broad leaves. It was also spring at that time, the same season as now. She was lost in thought. She could clearly see the same branch from which she had slipped and came down. She could feel the fear of climbing trees wrapping around her once again. She turned away from the tree.

Philip saw her and went over to her. He said” we have deliberately given this tree to you so that you can forget your past and live in today. Seven years ago, this was the tree from which you’d fallen. Now, you will scale this tree. I know it. Don’t be afraid.” Martha felt stronger. She gave a determined nod and turned to face the tree. She would surely do it!

She started her climb. After getting halfway to the top, suddenly her ankle began to ache. She thought it was the usual twisting of ankle which was aching and decided not to bother about it. When she had just climbed two more branches, her ankle suddenly pained a lot and she was not able to climb anymore. She chose a suitable branch and sat down. She took off her shoe and saw her ankle. It was red with swelling. She nursed it for sometime and when the pain seemed to subside, she decided to climb up again. As soon as she stood up her ankle gave away and she fell down again, this time in Susan’s lap.

Susan was surprised. She made Martha sit and, after a few minutes, asked ”what was this?” Martha said “it’s my ankle. It can’t take this much strain. I am telling you, I will not be able to win the competition. I will fall again if I climb such heights. And in the competition, there will be the tallest and biggest trees of the village. How do you think I am going to win? Let alone winning, I will not even be able to complete my climb.”

Susan said “don’t lose hope. I’m sure you will win.” Martha was not sure. On her way back home, Martha was accompanied by her friend Philip. She was not able to walk properly and hence Philip accompanied her as his home was also on the way. On reaching home, her mother was very worried. She saw her ankle. It was badly swollen and was aching. She could not treat it as her equipment was in her clinic and so she called the local doctor.

The doctor bandaged it and told her to rest until it was healed. He also told her not to go tree climbing again. On this, she protested and said “it’s for the village and my friends. They are relying on me for making them win. I cannot step back now, doctor. I will have to climb trees, even if it means bed rest after that for a month!” The doctor was pleased with the determination he saw in her eyes. This was the same girl who had sworn never to think of tree climbing again when she broken her ankle. He said “I am happy that you want to overcome obstacles and move on. Well, as far as I know you, you will not back out now. So it’s useless to tell you to rest. But, you must take care of your ankle. You can win the match, I know it. And by the way, what day and time is this competition? I want to see the old Martha again.”

Martha smiled and said “it’s on the 25th of this month near the lake at 7 o’clock in the morning. I shall be expecting you there.” The doctor gave a smile and went away. Martha was even more determined now. The next day she set out early. It was not easy walking with the huge bandage but she managed. She reached the Victorian edge. There everyone was waiting for her. As she came up everyone was overjoyed. They all now happily started practicing. Philip came to Martha and asked “are you okay? I heard what happened yesterday. Really, I must appreciate your determination. I am quite sure you will win!” Martha was happy.

She could not climb trees for one week. In fact, she couldn’t do anything but still; she sat down and looked at her mates. They were enjoying themselves. Martha regularly sat there until she thought that her foot was all right. But then also her friends told her to rest. They wanted her to do her best on the competition day. And at last, after a week the special day came.

Everyone was there on time. They were all eager. Although kids of both the villages were rivals, kids in the audience sat together. Everyone was talking about the competition. Finally the referee announced that the competition had started. The first challenge- swimming was won by Martha’s village. The second one was however won by the neighboring village. Now the decision depended on the tree climbing competition.

It started. Everyone was agog with excitement. They were all cheering their own village. The score was even-19 all. Each side needed just one point to win. Now came Martha’s turn. Her opponent was unfortunately her best friend from the neighboring village- Glenda. They smiled at each other. They wished each other luck and turned to see their trees. They were the tallest Coconut trees in the village. They had to pluck the fruit and climb down from the tree within 5 minutes.

The referee sounded the whistle. They both started off. It was very difficult to climb the tree as it had no branches. Glenda was swift and had already climbed half way. Children of both villages were going mad cheering for their respective players. Martha had been able to climb only a quarter of the way when her foot began to ache again. But this time she would complete her climb, come what may.

Glenda was about to reach the top but suddenly her hit a large honey bee hive. It was a hurdle for the players. Other players had noticed it but Glenda did not pay enough attention. She started screaming as the bees came out in droves and began stinging her. But Martha had been careful and managed to get past the hive on her own coconut tree.

The referee began his countdown from 100. Martha successfully reached the top. She plucked a fruit and started to climb down. It was easy as she had to only slide on the way back. But another danger awaited her. It was the second hurdle. There was a large weaver bird’s nest in between. Martha got stuck in it. The referee had reached 20. “19…18…17…” the referee continued. People were cheering for her like anything. After much struggling, she freed one leg. Her leg was about to reach the ground when a bee from Glenda’s tree stung her swollen ankle. She cried with pain. Suddenly, she felt dizzy. She could hear the cheers and the referee shouting 5 and then total darkness.

When she woke up, she was in her room. She had a hot water bottle stuck to her back. Susan, Robin and Philip were by her bedside. She said in a weak and sleepy voice” we lost, did we? I knew I couldn’t do it. Sorry.” “Don’t apologize. Celebrate! We won. Your leg touched the ground before…” Martha couldn’t hear anymore. She had gone off in a peaceful sleep for the rest of the day. The news that they had won was enough to put her to a long dreamy sleep…..

Agrini Bhattacharya is a thirteen year old, class eighth student from New Delhi. She loves to scribble and many times these scribbles on pieces of paper turn out to be short stories. 

The Spectacular Six–Part I

by Sanmay Moitra

Meet Rahul, Rishav, Yash, Aryan, Manav and the dog Brownie, together make the Spectacular Six.

“Hey Rishav! Do you know Mr. Clarke is moving to Bangalore?” said Rahul.

“Why?” asked Rishav.

“His house was on fire an hour ago.”

“Should we go and find clues?” asked Rishav.

“Sure, that’s a good idea.” said Rahul. “But do Yash, Aryan, Manav and Brownie know about it?”

“No. We should tell them and ask them to come along.”

“Mom! Can we go to Mr. Clarke’s house?” asked Rahul.

“Yeah, sure,” said Mom.

So they reached Mr. Clarke’s house at four in the evening.

“Let’s start looking for clues from the front yard,” said Rahul. “Yash, you stay with Brownie; Manav you stay with Aryan; and Rishav you stay with me.”

They started looking for clues and Brownie found something and started sniffing straight away! Brownie’s sniffing lead to an injured bat.

They ran to Mr. Clarke’s house asked him how the fire started.

He said, “It started two hours ago in the living room, just after Mr. Parker left.”

So, the Spectacular Six were on to a spectacular start. They already had a suspect, Mr. Parker!

To be continued …

Sanmay Moitra is 9 years old. He is a student of class IV at Delhi Public School, NCR Gurgaon, India. He loves to play
and watch cricket, playing the musical keyboard, swimming and reading story books in English and Hindi.

The Magic Egg

by Diya Ahuja

One day a girl named Lilly was playing in the garden with her dog, Bruno.  She kept throwing a ball and Bruno kept catching it. After some time, she threw the ball to Bruno but he did not catch it.

Lilly went to see why Bruno did not try to catch the ball. She found that Bruno was sniffing inside the hedge in the garden.  Lilly walked to the hedge in wich Bruno was sniffing.

Inside the hedge she saw an orange, green and pink nest.  Inside the nest was a multicoloured egg.  Suddenly it started to rain, but, no rain fell on the egg.  Lilly gasped! This was a magic egg!

She went inside the house and called her mother.  “Ma, you’ve got to see this,” and she took her mother to the egg.

“Good heavens! It is a magic egg!” exclaimed Lilly’s mother when she saw it.  Lilly asked her mother, “Can we take it inside?” “Why not?” said her mother.  So, Lilly took the egg inside and put it on a shelf in her room.

The next day Lilly found her mother crying.  “Why are you crying, Ma?” she asked.

“I broke a priceless old Kashmiri vase,” said her mother.

“Dont worry,” said Lilly.  “I’ll ask the magic egg to mend it for you”.

She went to the egg and sang:

“My mother broke her vase;

It was full of flowers;

Bring it back to me”. 

Suddenly, blue mist formed in the room, and when it cleared, there was the vase — unbroken, and as beautiful as ever! Lilly jumped with joy and gave it to her mother.

Then she decided to wish for something for herself from the magic egg. She asked for a cat, a pot of tofees and a …

” WAKE UP LILLY”!!!!!!!

And Lilly woke, and found that it was all a dream!

Diya Ahuja is 10 years old today. She is a student of class IV in Delhi and loves to read and express herself through all mediums – vocal, written and dramatic.

Hide and Seek

by Sanmay Moitra

Once there were two friends, Sun and Cloud. They always played the same game, guess what? They raced against each other. Each time they raced, the Cloud lost.

The Cloud was a good sportsman and a good friend. He knew the sun would always be able to run faster than him, so he would always lose this game, and he never felt bad or complained. But the Sun started feeling bad for his friend.

The Sun thought that it was not fair the Cloud always lost the race. This way the Cloud would not have any supporters cheering him in their race. So, he thought, they should play hide and seek, in which many people would support the Cloud. So, the Sun went to the Cloud and said, ‘Let’s play hide and seek’.

‘Yes!’ said the Cloud happily.

So they started playing Hide and Seek. After some time, to the Cloud’s amazement, he heard everyone cheering him, and the Sun, hearing the cheers, was very happy for his friend. He gave a big smile to the Cloud. So the Cloud started seeking the Sun with everyone cheering him on.

After a while, the Cloud found the Sun and it started raining very hard. Everyone was very happy. The Sun and Cloud were happy too because the Cloud had won a game against the Sun for the first time!

Sanmay Moitra is 8 years old. He is a student of class III at Delhi Public School, NCR Gurgaon, India. He loves playing and watching cricket, playing the musical keyboard, swimming and reading story books in English and Hindi.

The Adventures of Draco, the Aquatic Dragon-4

by Aditya Sengupta

The story so far (The Adventures of Draco, the Aquatic DragonThe Adventures of Draco, the Aquatic Dragon-2  and The Adventures of Draco, the Aquatic Dragon-3): Unknown to humans, dragons continue to flourish in some selected spots on the Earth. The largest settlement of dragons is the underwater island of Trurano near Venice, Italy. The dragons of Trurano, however, are in a quandary, as a young dragon was recently kidnapped by a human and returned with a letter addressed to the Elder Dragon, demanding that the dragons vacate Trurano immediately, or he would tell humans about it. Meanwhile, Draco, a young dragon in Trurano, appears for his examination, does exceptionally well and is taken into a deserted old castle by the examiner. There Draco is imprisoned by the human who had written to the Elder Dragon. The human tells Draco that he had bewitched the castle to fly and attract the attention of the human population. This would ensure that humans discover the dragons of Trurano and Draco himself would probably end up in a museum and die there …

Chapter 4: The Escape

Walking away, the man said, “Don’t bother even trying to escape, because these chains can only be broken by the machine that you see on the wall in front of you. If it breaks, your chains will break. Good luck.” He spoke the last two words with a mocking tone. “Meanwhile, I shall go and make this castle fly.”

Draco may have found that last sentence funny at another time, but now there was a crisis and he had no time for humour. And he also knew that the human was completely serious.

He tried to burn the machine that the man had indicated, but nothing happened. Though he had heard that many man-made electronic devices did not work after they had been soaked in water, this one seemed to be an exception. Wondering how he could get out of this situation, a crazy idea occurred to him. He decided that it was worth a try.

Inhaling deeply, Draco tried to breathe both fire and water at the same time.

The result was that somehow, the machine was frozen and Draco was freed from his chains. The door also swung open, without so much as a creak. Normally, Draco would have been surprised and amazed, but he did not have time for either, so he crept out of the room and quietly started to search the castle.

Eventually, he found the right room. The door was open, and the man did not seem to know that Draco had entered the room. Draco quickly froze him in a block of ice by trying to breathe fire and water at the same time.  Then he made sure that the castle was going to fly, like the human had intended, but he changed the settings to make it go back down to the sea floor after some time. He quickly jumped into the sea, and swam down to Trurano, thinking that his friends would certainly be surprised to hear about his adventures.

***

Meanwhile, were you wondering what had happened to the man?

It turned out that he was really a dragon himself, but had chosen to stay as a human. He transformed after Draco had left the castle, and he broke free of the ice. Fortunately, at that very moment, some other humans arrived and shot him with a paralyzing dart. He was then sold as a scientific specimen to be examined, and he died after a short while. He suffered the same fate that he had described to Draco.

***

The existence of dragons has remained a mystery for centuries, and people have still not fully unraveled this mystery. I have revealed the answers to some of these, but not all of them. How is transformation from a dragon to a human possible? Do you have to be born as a human or as a dragon? Nobody, human or dragon, knows the answer.

Aditya Sengupta is 12 years old and a student of class VII in New Delhi, India. He loves reading, writing, music and watching cricket.

Clues to Happiness-4

story and illustration by Prakhya Bhageria

The story so far (see Clues to Happiness parts 1, 2 and 3):

“Thank you, Friends”, said Archibald.

“Our Pleasure!” Fred winked at him.

Lucy and Fred had already thought about what they would wish for when they got the flowers.

“But Mr. Archibald, how will we know how to find the flowers?” asked Lucy confused. Archibald’s mouth opened and a chit flew out. Fred’s hand caught it swiftly.

“Go to this address and find this book; it has everything you need to know.” said Archibald. “Go … go fast and be careful … Never, ever lose that book. It has only five copies—only five—and is worth billions!”

Just then the lights came back on. “Oh!! Light is back,” said Fred as they saw all the lights and the living room TV working again.

Turning back towards Archibald they saw that his eyes had stopped glowing and he was back to being a normal statue.

Lucy and Fred stood silently, trying to make a sense of what had happened and trying to believe that whatever had happened was true. After a few minutes the door banged open and Julie entered.

“Sorry kids, it took me a little long to get home,” she said as soon as she entered. Then, looking at their faces she asked, “What happened? Why are you staring at this statue as if it is a dead mouse?” She moved forward to look closely into their faces.

“Oh my goodness! You have turned grey … hello? hello?” She waved her hands in front of their faces, but they didn’t answer. Julie went to kitchen, brought two glasses of water and threw it at them.

They both came to themselves, spluttering!

“JULIE!!WHAT HAVE YOU DONE!!” they both shouted in shock.

“C’MON!! YOU GUYS WERE STANDING LIKE YOU’D SEEN A GHOST!” she shouted back at them. Taking a deep breath she said to herself, “Calm down Julie … breathe!”

She turned towards the kids and asked softly “Can you please tell me what happened?”

“Nothing, really,” replied Lucy, scared.

“Don’t LIE to me, Lucy! I’ve known you for the past six years!” Julie was really angry.

“Oops!!What to say?”, whispered Fred.

To be continued …

Prakhya Bhageria is 12 years old and a student of class VII in New Delhi. She loves reading, writing, crafts and art.

Trouble in Banjo

by Uday Ahuja

Once there befell a calamity on the kingdom of Banjo.

The kingdom got all its water from a fresh water stream. Suddenly, one day, the water in the stream started flowing so fast that even engineer boats going towards the mountains were pulled in the opposite direction, towards the dangerous waterfall.

This was the work of Rudy, the evil magician. After some time Rudy started a sacrifice which made the water current even stronger.  The people of Banjo were really scared. They did not know what to do, so, they went to the superhero Wizardafisardachisardashoo to ask  for his help.

Now our hero Shoo (short form) was not very far from Rudy’s sacrificial ground.  His magical emerald could show him events from the past. Through this Shoo found out that Rudy had cast a spell on the stream and was performing this sacrifice to make it even stronger. Soon the stream would swallow the whole kingdom of Banjo.

Shoo thought long and hard about how he could stop Rudy’s evil plan. Finally, he had an idea. He used his superpower and forced the stream into a tunnel. Rudy went to the end of the tunnel and waited at the opening to work his evil magic.

But the stream gushed out with such force, because of the spell that Rudy had put on it, that he himself got killed by it. As soon as Rudy was killed, his spell broke.  Shoo put the stream back into its position and its flow also became normal once again.

Thus, happiness returned to the kingdom of Banjo.

Uday Ahuja is 7 years old and a student of class II in New Delhi. He is an avid reader and loves to express himself through all mediums– vocal, written and dramatic.

The Adventure of the Six Friends-4

story credit: Shivangi Mittal & Meghna Goel

written by: Shivangi Mittal       illustrated by: Meghna Goel

The story so far (see parts 1, 2 and 3): Six friends: Stan, Zoozoo, Meg, Maggie, Shy and Motu have been invited to stay with Meg, Stan and Zoozoo’s relatives at their holiday home in the mountains of Gangtok during their summer break. They are to travel in charge of an air hostess and will be joined later by Meg’s parents. The short journey becomes long and boring when their plane runs into bad weather. And then a bomb is discovered in the plane by the co-pilot. The passengers are assisted to jump from the plane. The six friends jump with parachutes, fall to earth and faint.  When they woke up, they found themselves in a beautiful secret valley called Grundog, inhabited by tiny people called Grunkles. The King of Grundog made them welcome. The children were hungry, so, he ordered food for them …

Chapter 4: Motu’s Big Emergency

The king invited the six friends for dinner to his palace. They were to be the guests of honour.

The children were excited. They thought it would be a great opportunity to know more about the kingdom and its different cities.

They were welcomed to the palace with great pomp and show. Since the palace was too small for them to fit, the arrangements had been made in the gardens. There was a wonderful dinner spread out before them and they sat down with the king. There were no chairs big enough for them to sit in the tiny kingdom, so they sat on the carpets laid out on the lawns.

While they were eating the king asked them about their journey. He wanted to know why they had been travelling, where they were going, etc. The children told the king about their vacation and their trip to Gangtok by plane and the plane crash.

However, they did not know why the plane had crashed. They felt that as ‘Crime Fighters’ it was their job to find out the answers to all these questions and solve the mystery.

They were all talking about this and discussing it with the king, when they suddenly realized that something was wrong with  Motu. He kept fidgeting and scrunching up his face. We all stared at him.

Suddenly he burst out loudly: “I have to use the loo”!!

There was a shocked silence. And then everyone burst into laughter!

The laughter spread to the whole city, and soon everyone could be heard roaring with mirth–well, everyone except Motu (obviously!). The town settled in 30 minutes. The children ate and drank.

Now the problem was where to stay. None of the buildings in Grundog were large enough for the children to fit in. The king finally found a solution. He ordered his men to furnish the biggest barn in the kingdom with all kings of luxuries, just like a palace.

The barn was made ready for them and the children went into it. They found soft mattresses on the floor. They slept …

To be continued……….         

Shivangi Mittal is 10 years old and a student of class VI in New Delhi, India. She loves stories, drawing & painting, tennis and swimming.

Meghna Goel is 11 years old and a student of class VI in New Delhi, India. She loves stories, vocal and instrumental music, crafts and art.   

In the Zoo …

by Diya Ahuja

One day Isabela went to the zoo with her Mum and Dad. When they reached there, Isabela’s Mum asked her if they would like to go walking or take a ‘Gypsy’. Isabela said “walking”.

Their first stop was a bird house. They were amazed to see that the birds were rainbow coloured, huge in size and chirping loudly!  “What a pretty bird house, and what lovely birds!” said Isabela, amazed. “This is a magic zoo!”

Their next stop was a lion cave, or rather, lion caves.  None of them could believe their eyes—the lions were eating cactus plants! “What sort of lions are these?” exclaimed her Mum. Her Dad nearly fell down in amazement.

Their third stop was a pool of water and there they saw five beautiful mermaids! Each one was wearing a different coloured dress: cherry pink, apple blossom white, rose red, turquoise blue and leaf green. On top of their heads they wore blue and golden crowns. Isabela made friends with them and promised to bring her friends with her to visit them next time.

She was enjoying all this a lot. “I wonder what we will see next,” she wondered. Their fourth stop was a monkey cave. But what extraordinary monkeys! They could talk like humans, and one of them pulled Isabela’s ponytail!

Isabela had started to get tired by now. She said, “Mum I’m feeling hungry. What can we have to eat? And let’s get out of the monkey cave!” So her Mum and Dad took her to a cafe in the zoo. She had pizza and chocolate shake there and felt fresh. They started off again.

Their fifth stop was a huge grassland where they saw a dinosaur eating the trees and nibbling grass peacefully. Isabela’s Dad said. “E-e-extinct creature … alive!” and fainted.

Isabela’s Mum gave Isabela a chocolate to eat as they waited for her Dad to come out of his faint. Then they all headed home, after Isabela’s Dad had recovered.

Diya Ahuja is 9 years old and a student of class IV at Step by Step School.

Nothing is Impossible!

by Sanmay Moitra

Once upon a time, there was a duck family and in that family lived a mother duck, a father duck and three baby ducks. One day mother duck laid a new egg. After a month the egg hatched and the baby came out.

The whole family loved the little duckling very much. One day, when the baby duck woke from his nap, his mother wasn’t there. His brothers and sisters were also gone. But he could see them all swimming in the lake nearby.

He tried to swim but couldn’t swim. He got frightened and started crying. After sometime a beaver saw baby duck crying and asked, “Why are you crying?”

“I am lost, that’s why, and now it’s impossible to get to my mother,” said the baby duck.

The beaver said, “I will help you to cross the lake”.

“It is impossible”, said the baby duck.

“Let’s see”, said the beaver. “Help me find some twigs and grass”.

So, they collected twigs and grass, and the beaver built a dam in no time.

“Look the dam is ready!” said the beaver.

“Yes!” shouted the baby duck, and ran over the dam to his mother.

“So, did you see? Nothing is impossible,” said the beaver, waving at the baby duck.

Sanmay Moitra is 8 years old. He is a student of class III at Delhi Public School, NCR Gurgaon, India. He loves playing and watching cricket, playing the musical keyboard, swimming and reading story books in English and Hindi.

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