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Illustrated Kid Stories

Hiranya Borah

Copyright 2017 Hiranya Borah

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I have three children; the first two have only two years gap whereas the third one is nine and a half years younger than the second one. When the first two were in schools, I was posted in Guwahati and then I had to move to Delhi. So entire schooling of my third child, second daughter, Anwesha was at New Delhi. She has one major complain amongst others, is that I have not told her enough bed time stories which I used tell to my two elder children, Anusuya and Ayusman. Am I biased against her? Am I becoming older to tell sufficient bed time stories to her? No, the actual culprit (?) is un-interrupted electricity supply in Delhi, particularly, New Delhi area where I use to stay now. Guwahati was infamous for load-shedding of electricity, particularly in summer season when I used to live in Guwahati. I am not sure whether the situation has improved or not in the last thirteen years or so. During those load shedding time, I used to tell bed time stories to my two children. Some of those stories were retold and some of them are out of my cheer imagination. Telling every day a new story is itself a real challenge. I told them Aesop’s stories, stories from Panchatantra, stories from Mahabharata and Ramayana, folklores of Assam, compilation of Rasaraj Laxminath Bezbarua. Whenever I had to repeat any story, I had to use lot of spices on the original versions. Sometimes they liked those and sometimes they dumped those, with a scream ‘Why you are repeating the same story once again?

Due to my younger daughter’s persistent demand I attempt to jot down some stories in my own rustic ways in this book. These stories are bed time stories and therefore, I am not claiming any originality nor am I claiming any authenticity of the original stories. In other words, the origins of the stories are from some famous books or from memories of my childhood, but now I am presenting those in my own language and along with my own interpretation and with some twists and turns.

I am thankful to all the authors who originally wrote these stories and my elders who used to tell me these stories for the first time when I was a village kid.

I place my sincere gratitude to all my readers, my family members for encouraging me to write this compilation like putting old wine in new bottles.

I am always thankful to google and the original photographers and artists for using their pics as representative pics without associating any relation with photographs of the concerned persons or the animals with the characters of stories.

I shall be a sinner, if I do not express my gratitude to my parents, brothers, sisters, friends, foes and teachers for their support for developing my personality, good or bad depending upon the perspective of the person who is looking at me

Finally, I dedicate this book to my younger daughter, Anwesha for her persistent demand for writing this book.


Chapter I: Horse and donkey

As a part of moral study, in Assamese language, this story was read by me when I was a student of class three in my village school. I am not sure the origin of the story. Therefore, acknowledging the contribution of the original writer of the story in shaping my character, I am trying to reproduce the story in my own language.

One fine morning, a donkey singing a song in the praise of the king, was walking by the side of a highway. He was very happy as his master had given a one day off due to Gandhi Jayanti, birth day Father of the Nation, from his tough duty of carrying household goods from one place to another place on his back. But his happiness was short lived.

A horse was coming from the opposite side. The horse was also on a holiday mood as his master also gave him a holiday to break his monotony of carrying his master on his back. But seeing the donkey sharing the highway with him, he lost his cool. On the other hand, the donkey seeing the horse coming towards him, knowing the social status of the horse, he bowed to him and said, ‘Good morning sir. Have a nice day.’

Instead of wishing him a good morning, the horse shouted to the donkey at the top of his voice, ‘You rascal, how dare you to share the same road where I am walking! Lay off from the road.’

‘Why you are so angry on me, sir? The road is wide enough for both of us. I shall stand at the edge of the road so that even my shadow does not obstruct your free movement.’ The donkey politely replied.

But, the horse was in no mood to see any reason, at least from a lower ranked donkey. The horse became so angry that he kicked the poor donkey so hard that the donkey was off balanced and fell to the pit running through the highway.

In the meantime, the horse was also running out of his luck. The arrogant horse was hit by a motor car, which could have also crossed the horse comfortably without hitting him. The horse also off balanced and fell beside the donkey.

Once he had fallen at the same place, he tried to get some sympathy from the donkey and commented, ‘How arrogant the car driver is! The road was so wide, he could have gone without even touching me!’

The donkey with same politeness said, ‘Yes sir, he could have!’

The horse immediately realized his own fault and tendered his apology to the donkey for his own behaviour, ‘Yes, I also should not have kicked you! Road was wide enough for all of us but sometime due to our arrogance, our hearts become so small that we could not see the width of the road properly and therefore, we thought it was too small to accommodate all of us.’

Both of them helped each other to come out of the muddy pit and became friends till their death.

Moral of the story: Always have a big heart to accommodate all around you and do not be a servant of your own ego. Always be polite to everyone irrespective of social status of the other person.

Chapter II: Two brothers

I read this story in my Hindi school book of class four or five.

In a remote village of Assam, after death of the father, two brothers divided their father’s property equally.

However, after ten years, the elder brother became a pauper and the younger brother became the richest person of the entire locality. One day, the elder brother visited his younger brother’s house to ask for some monetary help. The younger brother looking at his brother’s condition, felt very bad. The younger brother took him to his house with all respect and gave him best of the food.

After taking food etc., the elder brother, with lot of hesitation told his younger brother that he wanted some financial help from his younger brother. The humble younger brother was ready to help him to recover from his bad patch of life.

After taking the required money, the elder one asked his younger brother, ‘May I ask you a question?’

‘Yes my brother. You are always welcome for any question, no matter that is sweet or sour for me.’ The younger one replied.

‘We have divided our father’s property equally. But within ten years you have earned so much money that you become the wealthiest man of our locality. Contrary to that, I became a pauper within the same period. What is the secret of your rise and my fall? What is the business model you are following?’ The elder one asked his younger brother.

‘My business model is very simple. I always tell my workers, come and let us work for our progress. I share my profit with them. I never allow them to think that they are my servants, but my own children who work for their own destiny. I always tell them, come and let us work for our family and that is why money comes to me and my workers. Unfortunately, you told your servants, go and work. You always treat them as your servants. In the process, both your money and workers vanished into thin air. Though I am younger than you, may I suggest you something on your style of functioning? If possible, please try to follow my business strategy for someime.’ The younger brother told his elder brother with all respect.

The elder brother, this time followed his younger brother’s strategy and he managed to recover his fortune.

Moral of the Story: There is no alternative to team work and hard work for progress.

Chapter III: Counting (From Pancha Tantra katha Mukham)

A king had four sons and all of his sons were extremely intelligent but did not want to study any conventional literature nor wanted to study mathematics. The king became very unhappy to see that his sons were not taking any interest in studies.

The King appointed many learned scholars to teach his sons. But all failed. The King was becoming unhappier day by day with his sons. Finally, he appointed a learned person, named Bishnu Sharma, who deviating from conventional method of teachings; he told many stories carrying moral teachings, was able to make the princes wiser and learned. The compilation of those stories is one of the most important pillars of moral studies of humankind.

However, I am going to narrate the story regarding a failed attempt of another teacher who wanted to teach these princes.

The new teacher took the princes to the garden adjacent to the royal palace at the onset of dusk. The star started visible to the naked eyes after sometime. He teacher told, ‘I see one star.’

To outdo his teacher, the eldest prince said, ‘I see two stars’

Then the next prince said, ‘I see three’

When the third one was about to tell something, the youngest and the most intelligent among the princes told his brothers, ‘Brothers do not fall into the trap of the teacher. He is actually trying to teach us counting.’

The teacher left the place in a huff.

Moral of the story: If your students are smart, you must be smarter than them. Same thing applies to the officers. Senior must be smarter enough to take work from a smart subordinate and do not underestimate the intelligence of the subordinate at anytime. Always respect intelligence of others, no matter he/ she is junior or senior to you.

Chapter IV: Two elephants

In a wild, two elephant cubs were born within a gap of two months to two sisters of a herd of elephants. The cub of the younger sister was two months younger than the cub of older sister. Both of them grew together. The cub to the younger sister was modest though he was very strong and extremely intelligent whereas the cub from the elder sister was equally strong and intelligent but was extremely arrogant.

In due course of time they became adult and looked alike. Due to modest behaviour of the younger he can assimilate with other elephants whereas his older brother was becoming a rogue elephant.

The king of the heaven, Indra was looking for a strong and intelligent elephant to replace his earlier elephant. The God of architecture and mechanics, Vishwakarma was also looking for an elephant. When both of them talked about their requirement, they sent an army of experts to catch two young and strong elephants. After thorough search, finding the two brothers strongest and most intelligent among all the elephants in the world during that period, they captured the two brothers, one for the king of God, Indra and another for God, Vishwakarma.

As a show of respect, the older elephant was given to the King. But before induction to the royalty, the King wanted to test the quality of both the elephants. He found both the elephants are equally strong and intelligent. But he knew that Almighty always make one is superior to another on at least one account. He wanted to test the brothers on that qualitative aspect.

On the next morning, he made a running competition for both the elephants and declared the winner would be inducted into the royalty.

Both the elephants were running neck to neck up to the last leg. But then a mishap happened; two spectators fell at the track from the gallery of the spectators. One of them fell on the way of the younger elephant and the other one on the way of the older one. The younger one stopped immediately to save the life of the spectator ignoring his chance of winning the race. But the older elephant did not stop his running and trampled the spectator to death and eventually won the race.

As soon as the race was over, the King of God, Indra selected his elephant who was declared as the winner of the race by all the gods present there. With a magic wand, the colour of the selected elephant was made white and named him as ‘Eyravrat’. The other elephant was given to God, Vishwakarma for his rough and tough travel to visit construction sites.

So you must be thinking that the older brother elephant, who was able to cross the finish line had been selected by the King Indra. Sorry, you are wrong; he selected the young one who was found to be more compassionate than the other one.

Moral of the story: No matter how much you are intelligent and strong, unless you are more humane, your strength and intelligent may not be able to put you on the top of the world.

Chapter V: Who should lead the family?

For every joint family in India, the oldest male leads the family. But, an old man who was the head of the family found difficulty in passing the baton to his eldest son. He had three sons, the eldest one was honest but dumb, the middle one was dishonest and little bit intelligent and third one has all the good qualities to lead the family. But passing the leadership to the youngest one might invite a revolt and disintegration of the family. The old wise man wanted the transition should be smooth and lasting. To do that, he called all the family members and asked each one confidentially who should lead the family in his absence.

Everyone except two persons, one himself and the middle son opposed the leadership of the youngest son of the family. The eldest brother was candid in admitting that his youngest brother had all the qualities of a leader to lead his family. The middle brother said categorically, he would not support his younger brother as his leader. The youngest one told his father to pass on the baton to his elder brother to nip in the bud of a possible revolt by his middle brother in case he (the youngest one) was chosen the leader of the family.

To make the process of transferring of the baton of leadership transparent to all, the old man asked the same question openly before all the members of his family, ‘Which son should be the family head after my death? Even you can voice your opinion for a female head. Think before anyone giving his/her opinion?’

There was pin-drop silence in the room for some time.

Breaking the silence, the youngest son started, ‘In my opinion my eldest brother should lead the family. It will be not only prudent decision but also it will be as per our family tradition. It will be the most effective and practical one for the welfare of our family. The leader must not be the most intelligent or the strongest one; but he should be compassionate to all the family members. A widow can lead the family in absence of any able male family member, because she is the unifying factor of the family. In Mahabharat, all of us know that Yudisthir, the eldest son of Pandu was not the strongest among the brothers. Even Duryodhan was much stronger than him. But team Yudhisthir defeated team Duryudhan with the help of his brothers (Arjun was the ace archer of that era and Bhim was the strongest man of that era) and intelligence of Lord Krishna. You may be worried at this moment thinking that, my eldest brother is neither the strongest nor the most intelligent among us. But everyone knows that he is very honest and loves all of us equally. Therefore, he can lead us with help from my strong and intelligent middle brother. I hope my middle brother will also support my argument.’

The middle brother knew with the support of his younger brother, the elder brother became much stronger and more intelligent than him. Having no option, he said, ‘I fully support proposal of my younger brother.’

The old wise man understood how his youngest son with his intelligence, eloquence and far-sightedness, foiled the attempt of his middle son’s attempt to capture the leadership of the family for fulfilling his own interest.

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