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 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.

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.   

The Adventures of Draco, the Aquatic Dragon-3

by Aditya Sengupta

The story so far (The Adventures of Draco, the Aquatic Dragon and The Adventures of Draco, the Aquatic Dragon-2): 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, is preparing for his examination …

Chapter 3: The Trap

The teacher was breathing fire at other young dragons, about Draco’s age.

“Good, very good! You have passed the exam, young dragons. Now finally… ” The old green dragon who was the examiner consulted his list. “Draco!”

Draco had never been more confident about anything in his entire life. He flew outside to the area where the exam would take place. The teacher started by breathing a large amount of water at Draco. He concentrated and was able to direct it straight down to the ocean floor. The examiner praised him and then breathed fire at Draco.

Before the fire got even halfway between the examiner and Draco, he had directed it back to where it came from, and it would have made contact if the old dragon had not dodged it.

The examiner was amazed. Dragons with the sort of power required to reflect fire or water back at their source were only spoken about in myths. He asked Draco to accompany him.

“Where are we going?”

“You’ll find that out when we get there.”

***

Draco was puzzled. The old green dragon had taken him to the old castle in which the dragons of Trurano hid when humans carried out their periodic searches of the island. They were going further into the castle than Draco had been before. Suddenly, the old dragon started to move very quickly, and soon he was nowhere to be seen. Draco looked for him and wandered into a room.

Suddenly, the doors clanged as they closed and locked themselves, and chains appeared from nowhere and bound Draco. He had been imprisoned!

Draco heard a triumphant voice say, “The first part of my plan is a success. I have captured a dragon and cut off the escape route of the aquatic dragons in one stroke.”

“Who are you? And what do you want with me?”

“I am a human—an animal hunter who has discovered the existence of dragons, and I am going to use you to make the world believe that dragons exist. Not that you in particular are that important.”

“Then why did you capture me?”

“After the Elder Dragon of your underwater island refused to leave, even after I kidnapped a dragon about your own age, (Draco gasped—it was his best friend who had been kidnapped, and he had only returned last week) I realized that I need to force the dragons to leave.”

“But why are you doing this to us?” Draco wanted to know.

“I want to get rich by showing the world—with proof—that dragons really exist! I have managed to install a system to make this whole castle fly. So, in a short while we will be going to the surface. As Venice is nearby, someone is bound to see us in our flying castle. When they investigate, they will find a young dragon and the person who discovered him.”

“I will then organize a search of Trurano, and the dragons will not be able to escape because there will be nowhere to go. A glass dome will be built around Trurano, and it will be converted into a dragon zoo. And not only will I be rich after all this, but I will also get countless scientific awards!”

Draco gazed at him in horror, when the human continued:

“As for you, I shall sell you as a scientific specimen to be examined. It is likely that you will die after a short while. You have an unpleasant time ahead of you.”

To be continued ……… but for how long?

Aditya Sengupta is 11 years old and a student of class VII in New Delhi. He enjoys reading, writing, music and watching cricket.

Rinku and the Magic Powder-3

by Ankita Bansal

The story so far (see Rinku and the Magic Powder-1 and Rinku and the Magic Powder-2): Rinku comes across some thugs threatening a monk on a deserted road one evening, trying to get ‘the magic powder’ from him. The monk breaks free, hands a paper bag to Rinku and escapes. The thugs close in on Rinku, and suddenly he finds himself in his bed, being woken by his mother. He dismisses the event as a dream, but then finds the Monk’s paper bag under his pillow. He hides it in his cupboard and remembers it only while pavking for a camping trip to the desert in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. He takes the bag along, meaning to show it to his friend Ratan. That night, in his desert tent, Rinku is woken by someone calling his name. He comes out and sees an old man running away. As he gollows the old man, he comes across a half-buried box in the sand, which has a letter bearing his name …

“ Dear Rinku,

You are a descendant of Maharaja Lakshminarayan, the king of Sultanpur. One day, an enemy king attacked the royal palace. The enemy king was none other than Lakshminarayan’s own brother, King Vibhutinarayan. Their father, Suryanarayan, was a great magician. After many years’ hard work he made a magic powder which could heal any wound.

He made it to help the people who got injured in the wars, but King Vibhutinarayan was a selfish and greedy man. He wanted to sell that powder to another magician who was his father’s enemy.

When Suryanarayan came to know about this, he made a magic box in which he stored a bag containing magic powder. Only one who was pure of heart would be able to open that box. Suryanarayan hid the box in a secret dungeon of a palace, deep in the desert.

A hundred years later, a monk opened that box and took away that powder, meaning to heal people with it. But some dishonest people heard him talking to his disciple and wanted to take away the powder from him and misuse it. The monk realized that the magic powder would always attract bad people and would not be used for the good of others. So, he decided  to keep the powder back in the box. After that, you know how that powder came to you.

You, Rinku, are both pure of heart and a descendant of the great magician, Suryanarayan. So, it is your destiny to open that box and return the bag of magic powder to the box in the dungeon. That entrance to the dungeon looks like the mouth of a lion.

Your well-wisher.”

I was in shock! But I realized it was my duty to put that bag safely back in the box. So, I hurried to my camp, brought the bag and began to search for the palace with the dungeon that looked like the mouth of a lion.

From midnight to six in the morning, I kept searching for the palace. At last, I came across a ruin behind a sand dune. I entered it and went down to the dungeons. And there was one whose entrance looked like the mouth of a lion!

I was just about to go in, when some robbers attacked me from behind and tried to snatch away the bag. I turned around and saw they were the same thugs who had attacked the monk in my dream.

“Give us that bag, or you can’t even think what we will do to you!” threatened the robbers.

I said “Leave me, and let me go in, otherwise…”

They started laughing and said, “Otherwise? What will you do?”

As they were laughing, I threw a handful of sand in their eyes. They were temporarily blinded and I ran inside the dungeon.

The robbers were following me. I reached a fork and took the right turn. Fortunately, they took the left turn at the fork and went the other way. Relieved, I moved forward. I saw a box. I went close to it and opened it. I found a face carved inside the box: this must be the great Magician Suryanarayan, my ancestor. I bowed my head before him, and not wasting a single minute, I opened the box, put the bag of magic powder inside it, and closed it.

I turned around and saw the robbers standing behind me.

“Give us that bag,” they said.

I said, “No, you will never get the magic powder now!”.

Just then, the ground began to shake and the walls of the dungeon and the ruin started to fall in because of an earthquake. A heavy stone fell on my head and knocked me out!

When I became conscious again I found myself lying outside the ruined palace. Suddenly, someone touched me from behind. I turned around, thinking it must be the robbers, but found my best friend Ratan with my teacher and other friends.

“How did you came here? You should have informed us!” said my teacher.

I said, “I don’t know how I reached here.”

The teacher said “We were worried about you. Thank God, Ratan found you. Now let’s go back to the camp.” We went back to the camp and I told Ratan the whole story.

He said, “I’m sure it was all a wild dream!”

We enjoyed our camp and went home happily!

Ankita Bansal is 14 years old and a student of class IX in New Delhi, India. She loves art & craft, music, dance and stories.

The Adventures of Draco, the Aquatic Dragon-2

by Aditya Sengupta

The story so far (see The Adventures of Draco, the Aquatic Dragon-1):  Dragons still exist! Despite what humans think, about two thousand dragons still live on Earth–Camouflage Dragons on top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Frost Dragons on Mount Everest, Fire Dragons in South Australia, and the largest settlement of about a thousand Aquatic Dragons on the underwater island of Trurano, near the Italian city of Venice. The dragons at Trurano lived peacefully for thousands of years, till a disturbing message arrived …  

Chapter 2: Threat to Trurano

Draco flew above the island of Trurano, finally landing in the courtyard of his house after a long flight. He had dark blue wings with streaks of red – an unusual colour for a dragon, but he liked it. Every dragon family had a separate colour. Theirs was unique.

His grandmother flew in from the other side of the courtyard and asked him, “Did you have a good day?”

“Yes, I did, Grandma, and now I want to relax. Do you know a story about an ancient and powerful dragon?”

“Of course! I’ll tell you one,” said Grandma.

“Once, long ago, there was a dragon that could actually take the power of another dragon’s fire and attack him with it! But then, there came an evil dragon, who wanted to destroy Trurano.”

“What happened then?”

But Draco never heard the answer to his question because he was called inside by his mother. “That’s enough! You have the exam tomorrow and you need to sleep early.

So Draco went in to his house, not worried about anything, unlike the Elder Dragon on the other side of Trurano…

***

“I just can’t believe it!” the Elder Dragon was saying to his council of ministers in an emergency meeting. “Asking us to leave Trurano? It’s almost beyond belief!”

The Council agreed. “The letter said that if we did not leave Trurano, then this man will tell the humans that we exist. It seems that we are given a choice-–either leave Trurano and eventually reveal ourselves to the humans, as there are no other safe places to hide, or be revealed. Not much of a choice!” said one member.

“But why are they doing this?” asked another member.

Nobody had an answer.

The letter that this council had been talking about had come through a messenger–a young dragon who had been kidnapped a month ago. He had been in a state of terror as he delivered the letter to the Elder Dragon. He had then been taken to his own home, where his parents had been overjoyed to see him. The letter said:

To the Elder Dragon of Trurano

You must leave the island of Trurano immediately, within the next two weeks. If you refuse, then your existence will be revealed to the humans and your species will become extinct. Those who survive will be moved to zoos.

Anonymous

***

The brief silence that followed the reading of the letter was broken by the Elder Dragon stating that they would not leave Trurano.

The Council agreed that they would remain on the island, as that’s where Aquatic Dragons have been living for thousands of years.

They decided not to reply to the message. However, this unknown person appeared to be ready to go to extreme lengths to make them leave the island.

To be continued …

Aditya Sengupta is 11 years old and a student of class VII in New Delhi, India. He loves reading, writing, music and watching cricket.

In the Solar System-3

by Shreeya Sharma

The story so far (see In the Solar System-1 and In the Solar System-2): Long, long ago, all the planets in the Solar System lived in friendship and harmony. And then the Creator, Brahma ji, decided to send life on Earth. At first human beings respected Earth and Nature, but as time went by, they started misusing and harming Nature in a blind race for material progress. All the planets got very angry. One asteroid set out on a collision course with Earth, in order to punish the humans, but Jupiter stopped him because he had faith in humans. However, humans did not mend their ways and continued on the path to destruction. And one day, the declared that poor little Pluto was not a planet …

Chapter 3: Earth in danger

The planets wanted to teach the humans a lesson. One asteroid became very angry at the humans and said, “Enough is enough. I will strike at Earth and I am going to destroy the humans right now!!…they are NEVER going to improve themselves!”

None of the planets stopped him ……not even Jupiter!

They even said, “Go asteroid, and come back only after gaining victory!”

Meanwhile, the scientists on the Earth discovered that a giant asteroid was coming towards them. They became very worried and thought that life on the Earth would be finished in four or five years!

“How to save the plants, animals, birds and ourselves?” asked one of the scientist in a meeting.

One day an announcement was made all over the world: “scientists need a volunteer who would go in space and destroy the giant asteroid”.

No one was brave enough. But one poor and old carpenter agreed to do this and put his life in danger.

He was trained in one week. He, along with two of his friends and a well trained pilot, went on their dangerous journey.

The asteroid was very far from the Earth.  On their journey they met the different planets who told them why the asteroid is coming towards the Earth.

The carpenter said to the Sun, “I am helpless Sun. What can we do? We will have to destroy that asteroid to save our lives. But have faith in me, oh mighty Sun. I will make the humans realize their mistake.”

Just then they saw the asteroid coming towards their spacecraft. The planets tried to stop the asteroid. The asteroid too wanted to stop, but he could not because his speed was too high!

He realized that there was hope for humans to improve. So, he said to the humans, “Please destroy me. If you do not, you will be dead. And about me? I will be reborn.”

At first the carpenter refused to do so. But all the other planets agreed with what the asteroid had said. So, the three friends went out of the spacecraft leaving the pilot inside.

They made a big hole in the asteroid and put a nuclear bomb in it. Then they swiftly rushed back to their spacecraft.

After a few minutes the bomb blasted and the asteroid was finished!! A while later he was reborn! He returned to his place. The carpenter thanked the planets and the asteroid and returned to the Earth.

They were all warmly welcomed. The Carpenter told the humans all that had happened in space. He told them everything that the planets and the Sun had told him. The humans began to realize how much damage they had been doing to the Earth!!!

They realized that they call the Earth their mother Earth, but never show her any respect, care or love that Mother Earth deserves!

After this the humans started improving themselves. Seeing this improvement, the planets were very happy. Now the planets never criticized the humans!! The humans also lived happily!

******

Shreeya Sharma is 11 years old. She is a student of class VII at Bal Bharti Public School, Pusa Road, New Delhi, India. She loves to play tennis and badminton, reading, net surfing, dancing, singing, writing and art. She is a struggling blogger and dreams of becoming a dancer, a singer, a writer, a scientist and an artist.

In the Solar System-2

written and illustrated by Shreeya Sharma

The story so far (see In the Solar System-1): Long, long ago, all the planets in the Solar System lived in friendship and harmony. And then the Creator, Brahma ji, decided to send life on Earth. At first human beings respected Earth and Nature, but as time went by, they started misusing and harming Nature in a blind race for material progress. All the planets got very angry. One asteroid set out on a collision course with Earth, in order to punish the humans, but Jupiter stopped him because he had faith in humans…

Chapter 2: Farewell to Pluto

Humans continued their progress in the field of science and technology. They were still criticized by each and every object in the solar system. As I have told you, Jupiter hoped that humans would realize their mistake and improve themselves, so he never criticized the humans.

The solar system was unaware of what these scientists were planning to do to their dearest friend and the last planet, Pluto.

Scientists observed that Pluto was much too small to be classified as a planet!!

On the Earth the scientists were trapped in a big web. They could not decide what to do about Pluto.

In the solar system, a river of bad words against the humans was flowing continuously. But of course, the humans had no knowledge of all this.

The clever Sun had appointed a cloud to give them information about what was happening on Earth.   Once the cloud messenger came to the Sun looking very worried. Sun asked, “Dear cloud, what has happened? Why are you so worried? What is happening on Earth? Is every thing all right?”

“No …….no Your Majesty, the humans ……have made an announcement……… that ……….. that…..our Pluto…………………..is no longer a………..a………. planet!!” The cloud said in tears.

The solar system was dumbfounded! Jupiter cried out: “I am really sorry friends, that I said humans are good. I was wrong. They are worse than anyone could have imagined!……….”

Poor Pluto was as quiet as if he were really dead!

To be continued …

Shreeya Sharma is 11 years old. She is a student of class VII at Bal Bharti Public School, Pusa Road, New Delhi, India. She loves to play tennis and badminton, reading, net surfing, dancing, singing, writing and art. She is a struggling blogger and dreams of becoming a dancer, a singer, a writer, a scientist and an artist.

The Adventures of Draco, the Aquatic Dragon

by Aditya Sengupta      

Chapter 1: About Dragons 

Everyone who has visited the Italian city of Venice will know about the two islands nearby, Murano and Burano. A short journey away from Venice on the vaporetto (water bus), Murano has glass factories while Burano has lace factories.

According to legend there is also a third island, which drowned a long time ago, and is still inhabited. The different versions of the legend, however, disagree on the type of creatures that inhabit the island. Some say ghosts, while others say that people live there.

Both are wrong.

The island of Trurano, which has been at the bottom of the sea for one thousand years, is the home of dragons.

When I say dragons I mean real, flying, fire-breathing dragons. However, over time they have had to adapt to their surroundings. Though they retain the ability to breathe fire, they do not use it often. Instead, they breathe boiling hot water, which is more effective than you would think, being underwater.

This process is similar to that of breathing fire, except that it uses water. However, it does not damage fellow dragons if they block it. A fully-grown dragon can, using only its mind, block jets of hot water that come from another dragon. Dragons that are highly skilled can even control the water and make it hit its opponent. This mind-block is the most important thing for dragons to know, and as soon as they can communicate with other dragons, young dragons are taught this technique.

After they learn this, they have their first exam at dragon school (a school where young dragons learn self-defense and how to breathe fire and water). The teacher breathes water at them one by one, and they have to make sure it does not hit them. Dragons stay at dragon school for one year. Every young dragon hears stories of the time when dragons freely roamed the earth, two million years before.

Humans have found some ancient dragon fossils and named them pterodactyls. Humans do not yet know of the existence of dragons, and the Elder Dragon, the leader of the dragons, plans to keep it that way. The instant a dragon was revealed to humans they would lock it up and move it to a zoo.

Humans have, of course, searched Trurano several times, but dragons are able to hide quite effectively in an old castle nearby. This castle can house the entire population of Trurano temporarily.

These dragons are not the only settlement of dragons on earth. There are others as well: Frost Dragons on the top of mountains like Mount Everest, Camouflage Dragons which can blend in with their surroundings (they inhabit the top of the Eiffel Tower), and Fire Dragons (the ones described in mythological and fantasy stories) in South Australia.

In total, there are about two thousand dragons left in the world. Of these, about one hundred roam the earth freely, making sure that they are not seen by humans. Five hundred are camouflage dragons and about four hundred are Frost Dragons. If anything other than a dragon touches them, they will be frozen for ever, and because of this, Frost Dragons are the most dangerous.

One thousand dragons live on Trurano, the largest remaining settlement of dragons. This settlement of dragons lived peacefully and nothing exciting happened… until the message arrived.

To be continued…

Aditya Sengupta is 11 years old and a student of class VII in New Delhi, India. He loves reading, music and watching cricket.

The Adventure of the Six Friends-3

story idea by Shivangi Mittalwritten & illustrated by Meghna Goel

The story so far (see The Adventure of the six Friends-1 and The Adventure of the Six Friends-2): 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.    

Chapter 3: Heaven, Movie Set or Reality?

When the children came to their senses, they found themselves in a valley surrounded by mountains. It was a very beautiful place, full of greenery and bright flowers. A short distance away, there was a miniature palace, the size of a doll’s house.

Maggie said, “It must be a movie set for Gulliver’s Travels, or something like that.”

Shy said, “It must be Heaven, it’s so beautiful!”

Zoozoo and Stan said, “Don’t be silly. This is reality, because we are all alive.”

Motu was not bothered whether this was a movie set, or heaven, or reality, because he was hungry and wanted something to eat, but Meg agreed with Shy. She thought that such a beautiful place could only be heaven.

They kept arguing about this with each other, till Motu said, “Please! Let us find something to EAT!” So, they all helped each other to take off the heavy parachutes and decided to look around in the little palace to find out where exactly they were.

They went up to the palace and peeped inside. They saw that it was full of tiny people, about two inches high. They were reminded again of Gulliver’s Travels, and other stories like Tom Thumb and Thumbelina.

When the tiny people saw them, they were alarmed. The children looked like giants to them. They thought that the children were enemies and had come to attack them. They quickly got their weapons and started shooting arrows at them.

The children shouted to the little people, “We are not enemies. We just crashed here. We don’t know where we are, and we need something to eat.” The tiny people didn’t believe them. They thought that the children were trying to fool them, so, they continued to shoot arrows at them.

The arrows were little and did not hurt the children much, but they got bruised. They were already tired after the plane crash. Soon the tiny people tied all of them and led them to their king.

The king asked them, “Who are you giants? And why did you come here?”

All of them told him their names. The king told them, “This valley is Grundog and our people are called Grunkles.

Meg said “We are from Delhi, the capital of India. We have never even heard of this place or seen it on any map in the Atlas. So, where is it? Are we still in India?”.

The king said, “Our kingdom is a hidden land between the borders of India and China. The outside world does not know about us. We are so small, that we are afraid if they came to know about us they would attack and harm us. So, we keep our existence a secret. How did you come here?”

Shy said, “We were flying to Gangtok and there was a bomb on our plane. We jumped and landed here”.

Motu said, “I am HUNGRY!!”.

The king gave an order to his soldiers: “Untie their knots and bring lots of food for them”.

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.             

Clues to Happiness-3

written and illustrated by Prakhya Bhageria

The story so far (see Clues to Happiness-1 and Clues to Happiness-2): Fred, eleven, and Lucy, fifteen, are orphans in Oakland, California, being reared by their mother’s friend Beatrice Glynn with the help of a young nanny, Julie. Beatrice gives them a beautiful wooden statue with red eyes as New Year present. One evening, when Fred is alone in the house, there is a power cut. As Fred is looking for a torch in the dark, he sees an eerie red light and turns to see two red eyes watching him. Just then Julie comes in and they both start searching f or the source of the light. They find that the light is coming from the eyes of the statue and it is alive. It starts talking to them …

The mouths of both children dropped open. They started to walk towards the statue with trembling legs, staring at it with shocked eyes.

“Hello,” said the statue softly. It looked to be in a joyful mood.

“Umm…Hi,” replied Lucy cautiously. There was a long silence.

“Y-you are a t-talking statue?” asked Fred timidly, breaking the silence.

“No, I’m not a statue at all.” Seeing their bewildered faces the statues continued, “It’s a long story, and I need your help. Will you help me?

“What kind of help do you want?” asked Lucy politely. The statue’s face turned serious.

­­­­­­­­­­“My name is Archibald Godoy, and I was once a human being, just like you -”

“Really? So, how did this happen to you?” asked Fred cutting in.

“That is what I am telling you. I was a very experienced hunter. Once I went on a hunting expedition to the Amazon. There, one day, I got separated from my companions. I was trying to locate them when lost my­ bag–actually a monkey snatched it from me.”

“All that I had–my map, compass, provisions, survival kit–everything was inside that bag. With it gone I was totally lost. I walked a few miles till I reached a trail. I followed that trail. I wish I hadn’t followed it!.”

“Why?” asked Fred, unable to curb his curiosity.

Archibald got irritated. “I am telling you!! And don’t keep interrupting me. Got it?”

Fred nodded, scared.

“So, where was I? Yes….that trail led me to a tribal settlement. I thought I might be able to get help form the people there, but I was wrong. The tribals captured me and put me in a cage. I tried to escape, but they caught me and put a terrible curse on me that turned me into a wooden statue. I was picked up from the hut of the tribe’s headman by some invaders and sold to a dealer of handicrafts. From there I was bought by a New York shopkeeper. And that’s where your guardian bought me for you.”

There was a big pause, as Archibald recalled his horrible adventure. Then he continued:

“To break this curse I need the last two wish-fulfilment flowers left in the whole world. And to get them I need your help. Will you help me?”

“What will you give us, if we help you?”asked Lucy.

“See, there will be two wish-fulfilment flowers. They have to be together to break this curse, but only one wish will get used. The second wish is yours,” replied Archibald.

Lucy and Fred looked at each other with shining eyes. Lucy turned to Archibald and said. “Yes, we will help you!”

To be continued …

Prakhya Bhageria is 11 years old and a student of class VII in New Delhi, India. She  loves reading, music and arts & crafts.

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