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. 

MOM!

by Shruti Singh

I have only one love;

And that’s my mom.

I have only one life
That’s given by my mom.
Knowledge that’s not found in books
I have got from my mom.
First she taught me to speak;
Then she taught me to walk.
And now, oh! dear mom ,
As Life knocks on my door ,
I dedicate this to you,
My mom.
I only want to say:
I LOVE YOU MOM
Ilove you mom!!
Shruti Singh is 12 years old and a student of Class VII. Her hobbies are writing, reading, music and dance.

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.

A Sense of Home

by Reha Bhombal

As I hear the rhythmic tabla playing;
Rickshaws blow their horns;
Like bees buzzing in my ears’
And the bright yellow diyas
Give me a sense of home.

I think about home;
Home,
Where there are smiling ladies
All eager to help.

Home,
Where pencil-grey elephants
Are as peaceful as a river.

As I gobble up a Pani Puri,
It trickles around my mouth
As sweet as sugar;
As spicy as chopped chilli.
It reminds me of back home.

The fried fish crunches in my teeth
Like stepping on dried leaves in autumn;
The tomyum’s maddeningly spicy taste
Sets my tongue on fire;
Burns it like ashes.

I glance at the woman in front of me:
Her parrot-green bangles
Jingle with the breeze;
And her delicately carved mehendi,
Each detail so perfect,
Like jigsaw pieces, each unique.

Her dark skin
Like the colour of coconut tree trunks. Back home.

Home,
Where orchids bloom
Like a start of a new life.
Where gold Buddhas lie
As pure as water.
Is this where I belong?
Maybe this is
Home.

Reha Bhombal is 12 yrs old and a class VIII student in Rayong, Thailand.

My Experience as a Dubbing Artist

article and illustration by Ananya Arvind

On 20th May 2011, there was an SMS on my mother’s mobile: “Hey! I am Freddy here and I am looking out for kids between 12-16 for dubbing in a short film. If anyone is interested please call my mobile number (the mobile number was provided along with these details) and do forward this SMS to people you know.” My mother felt that this was a rare opportunity and suggested that I go for the experience.

Most of us watch animated serials, movies, films, etc, but never realize that the voice backstage—the dubbing artist’s voice—is responsible for a large part of the expressions of the characters. Each voice has to be chosen so that it is suitable for the character on screen.

I went for an audition on the specified day, and got a call from Freddy Uncle on 27th May 2011 saying that I had been selected to do the voice over for the Hindu mythological hero Lakshmana (brother of Lord Rama). I was very excited and was called the same day at 3:45pm to a recording studio in T. Nagar.

When I reached there I saw that the voice over room was very small and I was surrounded with electronic gadgets and carpeted walls. There was a 32 inch television on which the film played in Hindi, after which the director repeated it in English. After that a take was given in which the voice over artists had to put in emotion according to the character.

On that very day I was able to finish my dialogues in half of the script. The other half was finished on the next day. On 28th May I was even paid—I earned my first salary—Rs.1500! After three weeks I was called to the same studio again for a recording correction of some of the dialogues, and realized how many aspects there are to film making, and how much hard work it is!

With my first earnings I bought gifts for all my loving family members who had encouraged me to do this. I bought decorative showpieces for everyone, which I know they will always treasure. The film was telecast on Cartoon Network in October. All my friends and family members loved it. It was a lovely experience!

Ananya Arvind is 12 years old and lives in Chennai, India. She is a student of Class VII. She has been learning Bharatanatyam for the past 6 years and enjoys painting, craft and surfing the net.

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.

Friend

by Pallavi Agarwal & Shalini Jain

Whenever I am upset or sad,

My friend is always with me;

His company makes me happy and glad,

Whatever is in my heart, he can see.

*

When I am going on the wrong way,

He is always there to correct me;

And helps to keep my obstacles away,

What a good helper is he!

*

My friend is like my mother;

He is like the whole world to me;

He guides me in every matter,

Oh! what a good guy is he!

***

Both Pallavi Agarwal and Shalini Jain are 14 year-old students of class IX in Jabalpur. Their hobbies are reading books and writing poems.

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.

Peace

Poorva Inamdar

‘Peace is the only battle worth waging’

This saying by Albert Camus is true indeed! Peace cannot be fought for;

it can be created, developed and secured in the hearts of the world’s

millions! It is, of course, an antethesis of war, a term which mainly

describes destruction, hatred and cruelty towards all.

The word peace has many synonyms like friendship, love, armistice, union,

unity, pacifism … but none of these is able to capture the integrity and

emotion of the word ‘peace’ — the bond, the feeling which  seeps deep inside

one’s heart and makes it a holy place.

Peace makes its way to develop a sense of tolerance in international relations,

strengthening the truce of belief and understanding between them. The word

‘peace’ gained importance in the early 20th century when great leaders like Mahatma

Gandhi and Martin Luther King made it the cornerstone  of their strategy to

obtain freedom from slavery and imperialism. Mahatma Gandhi won freedom

from British Rule for India on the principles of non-violence and Satyagraha.

Martin Luther King fought for justice and equality for Afro-Americans and is

one of the greatest heroic leaders in the history of modern American liberalism.

Today the concept of  ‘World Peace’ has gained recognition worldwide as part of

the efforts by the human race to secure safety and understanding between warring

nations.

The initiative for World Peace is  now in the hands of the United Nations which is

striving constantly, through both conventional and unconventional methods, to

establish peace in this world threatened by terrorism, in order to make this world

a better place. The dove with an olive branch in its beak, the symbol of peace that

was popularized by world famous artist Pablo Picasso in 1949 has been widely

used in the post-World War II peace movement.

However, to really bring about world peace, each of us needs to take this mission to

heart and come together to make this world a better and safer place!

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.

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