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He then had a wonderful idea. "I shall go to Mrigu Maharaj," declared ...... "That is none of your business," replied the young man. "If all was well, it would not be.
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Illustrated by Surendra Suman

Children's BookTrust, New Delhi

The stories in this collection are prize-winning entries in the category Indian Tales/Folk Tales in the Competition for Writer's of Children's Books organized by Children's Book Trust.

EDITED BY NAVIN MENON Text typeset in 13/18 pt. Centurion Old © by CBT 2003 Reprinted 2005 ISBN 81-7011-947-2 Published by Children's Book Trust, Nehru House, 4 Bahadur Shah Zatar Marg, New Delhi-110002 and printed at its Indraprastha Press. Ph: 23316970-74 Fax: 23721090 e-mail: [email protected] Website:



The Magical Bird Ramendra Kumar


Ends And Means Ramendra Kumar


The Workaholic Servant! Hema Rao


A Fly In The Sweetshop Swapna Dutta


The Price Of A Shadow Sarla Bhatia and S.K. Bhatia


The Bridegroom Sarla Bhatia


The Limits Of Knowledge Scharada Bail


King Vikram in Disguise Lalitha Sridhar


A Wise Lady Lata Kaku


The Better Story Teller Meenakshi G. Jain


Where The Earth Is Red Dipavali Debroy


So Funny, Yet So Clever! Kamlesh Mohindra


A Barber For Babar Akhila Girirajkumar


The Stingiest Miser Santhini Govindan


The Road To Heaven Amit Pandey


Guileless Gokul M.S. Mahadevan



The Magical Bird Ramendra Kumar Long ago there was a small kingdom at the foot of the Nilgiri Hills. It was called Shangrila and was ruled by a wise and gentle king, Rishi Raj. The king was kind, just and loved by his people. Shangrila was a beautiful place dotted with gardens and greenery. Flowers bloomed throughout the year, birds chirped and animals frolicked in gay abandon. Love and peace reigned supreme. According to a legend all this was because of Kokila—the cuckoo bird. Kokila lived on a banyan tree that grew in a garden in front of the King's palace. Kokila was blind but she had an enchating voice. She sang the whole day and her melodious voice wafted across the kingdom spreading, love, peace and happiness. On the other side of the Nilgiri Hills was another kingdom called Dongrila. If Shangrila epitomized love, peace and joy, Dongrila was the picture of hatred, infighting and misery. It was ruled by Jagat Guru, a mean, ill tempered and selfish king.

One day, Jagat Guru happened to pass through Shangrila. He was greatly impressed by what he saw. On reaching home he summoned his Prime Minister, Gyan deep. "Gyan, this morning, I passed through Shangrila. This was the first time I had been there. It is a fantastic place. It is as pretty as a picture, calm and peaceful.. It is like heaven. Find out how King Rishi Raj manages to maintain his kingdom so well?" "Yes, Maharaj?" Gyan Deep bowed. The same day, Gyan Deep left for Shangrila disguised as a hermit. He spent his time in the kingdom talking to people, roaming the streets and observing things minutely. Finally, after ten days, satisfied with the information he had collected, he returned to Dongrila. On the morning after his return, he went to meet the king in his chamber. "Maharaj I have found out the secret behind King Rishi Raj's success." "What is it?" "It is a bird called Kokila," Gyan Deep began and told the king about the legend of Kokila. "Then, I must somehow get this bird to Dongrila. Gyan, prepare for war. Let us attack Shangrila and forcibly take the bird." "Maharaj, that would be unwise. You know in our army the generals are busy fighting with each other. It is divided into many factions, one opposing the other. Shangrila's army, on the other hand, is strong and well-knit. Our army will never be able to vanquish it." 'Th