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Thursday, 14 May 2015

Peace and Harmony

Look at the picture and discuss the questions that follow:
Peace and Harmony (www.naabadi.net)

  1. What does this picture tell you about the animals?
  2. Are they happy or unhappy? How do you know?

A. Reading

Read the following story and answer the questions that follow:
        Once upon a  time,  in a very  thick  forest  lived many animals, birds,  snakes and insects. They all lived together happily. They roamed about the jungle, and played together in the open fields without any fear. The peacocks were very proud of their dances but admired the melodious songs of the cuckoos. The elephants enjoyed watching the fish swimming in the pool. The pythons that were blessed with long bodies, spoke well of the fine fur of the flat-footed rabbits. The tiny ants, which were always busy, tickled the dark buffaloes.

        They often held musical evenings in a large open field. The elephant and the deer danced. The mynahs and the parrots sang. The tiger and the bear exhibited gymnastics. They called the moon and his friends, the stars, to be the guests of honour at their musical evenings.

        One day a jackal entered the forest. He was dirty, dangerous, and very cunning too. He told the elephants, “You are the biggest animals in the forest. Why do you want to play with the squirrels and the rabbits?” He poisoned the minds of the peacocks saying, “You are the loveliest birds in the forest. Why do you want to praise the mynahs?” The jackal then approached the deer and whispered that the tiger was waiting for a chance to kill them.
Peace and Harmony (www.naabadi.net)

        Gradually, all the animals began suspecting one another. Earlier they had lived together, slept together and roamed around the forest together. Now they started to put up boundaries and build fences around their properties. They moved about individually or with their own group.

        Now it was easy for the jackal to hunt the smaller animals and the birds. And when the smaller ones cried out for help, no one came to help them. One by one, the little ones disappeared. The forest slept as the animals were afraid. There were no more musical evenings. The moon was sad. He cried.

        The moon thought for a while and decided to come down among the animals and the birds as a sadhu. As soon as the sadhu appeared in the forest, the animals and the birds approached him to narrate their tales of woe. They cried, sobbed and blamed each other for disturbing the peace in the forest. And the sadhu listened to them.

        The sadhu brought together the lions and the rabbits for a common meal. He visited the python and the viper, and had a long chat with them. He advised the eagle not to attack the little chicks that had lost their mother. The sadhu accompanied the tiger and the wild bear to the nearest market. He played with the bulbul, the owl and the monkeys.

        But the jackal was very angry with what the sadhu was doing. He did not want the animals to live in peace and harmony. So he was waiting for an opportunity to attack the sadhu.

        One  day,  the  animals,  insects  and  birds  held  an  emergency meeting  and  they unanimously decided to approach the sadhu and pleaded with him to kill the jackal. The sadhu said, “I will not kill the jackal but will help you in a different way.”

        When the sun went to sleep, the jackal came to the house of the hens to take a few of them for his supper. The sadhu, who had been lodging nearby, came out of the house and spoke to the jackal. “Take me today for your meal.”

        The jackal who had been waiting for this opportunity, dragged the sadhu and ran into the jungle. He took the sadhu to a lonely place, tore him into pieces and ate him up. The animals were very sad, angry and disappointed with what had happened to the sadhu. They were afraid that the hungry jackal would appear again the next day. Then they heard a strange noise. All of them ran in that direction. What they saw surprised them. They saw the stomach of the jackal growing bigger and bigger. It continued to bloat until it burst. Then they heard a soft voice: “May my animals, birds and insects live in peace and harmony! May there be no fences around you! May you sing and dance once again! Remember me and be not afraid.”

         When they looked up at the sky, they saw the moon shining brilliantly, spreading milky brightness over the earth. The animals once again started to roam, sing, and sleep in peace. They broke down the fences which they had built. They invited the moon and the stars for their cultural evenings.

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