Nisha was fed up with being alone all the time. How could she play when she had no friend?

Nisha was in a bad mood. She sat on the garden swing and kicked angrily at a weed. Her mother had said, “No more watching TV today! Go out and play.” Nisha felt sorry for herself. “How can I play all alone? It’s so boring.”

“Boo!” said a voice from behind her. “Boo!” it said again.

Nisha thought it must be Suniti, the girl next door. Nisha didn’t play with Suniti much, because she was always fighting, pushing and grabbing. Nisha said, “Go away, Suniti, I’m not in the mood for this silliness.”

There was silence. Then again, a small trembling voice said, “Bo-o-o”. Nisha turned and looked and she saw a ghost!

“Are you a ghost? You’re so small.”

“Oh, thank goodness!” exclaimed the ghost. “A sensible child who doesn’t scream and run away when I introduce myself.”

“What’s your name?” asked Nisha.

“Boo,” said the ghost.

“Okay. But what’s your name?”

“Boo. My name is Boo. It’s short for Boo Tham. My friends call me Boo. You can be my friend if you want to.”

“Yes, I’d like to,” said Nisha. “Where are your friends?”

“They’ve all gone away,” said Boo sadly.

“I’ve no friends here either. Come and sit on the swing with me.”

Boo did, and as Nisha pushed the swing back and forth while the two of them talked. What do a girl and a ghost talk about? Well, about girls and ghosts, of course. Boo knew much more about girls than Nisha knew about ghosts. But Nisha found that she loved to listen to Boo’s ghost-talk.

Surprise!

Nisha’s mother looked out of the kitchen window and wondered at her daughter’s change of mood. Just a few minutes ago the child had been sulking and frowning, and now she was smiling and seemed to be talking or singing to herself! Good, it was time for lunch anyway.

“Nisha, lunch!” she called.

“Just a minute.” Hurriedly she asked Boo, “What about you? Have you had lunch?”

Boo laughed long and loud. “Lunch? Ghosts don’t eat lunch. Nor breakfast. Nor dinner.”

“Shh! warned Nisha, horrified at the noise Boo was making. “My mother will hear you.”

“No she won’t,” said Boo. “No one can see or hear me unless I want them to.”

“Then come with me to my room. You can wait there while I finish my lunch, and then we can talk and play all afternoon.”

And that is what they did. Later, after Nisha finished her tea, they went out into the garden again. They couldn’t play hide-and-seek, of course! They couldn’t play with a ball, because a ball would go right through a ghost without stopping at all! Despite this, they thought up some fun games and had a good time.

At bedtime Nisha didn’t want to part with her new friend. “Boo, please come and sleep in my room,” she said.

Boo laughed. “Ghosts don’t sleep but I’ll stay with you.”

That night two burglars came to Nisha’s house. They got in through a window downstairs and crept up the stairs. When they got to the corridor, a scary sight met their eyes. In the dim light, a ghostly white figure jumped up and down and shouted “BOO!”

The burglars dropped their bags and tools and turned to flee. In their fright and hurry they tripped over each, and went rolling bump…bump…bump down the steps. They landed at the bottom of the staircase, groaning and panting with fear. ‘

“Lie still!” said Boo from the top of the stairs. The burglars were so scared they obeyed.

Meanwhile Nisha heard Boo shouting. She was startled to hear the crashing sounds of people falling down the stairs. Nisha’s parents had not heard Boo, of course, but they heard the burglars. They ran out of their room and saw the burglars at the foot of the stairs. They promptly telephoned for the police.

Till the police came, Boo stood guard over the burglars. Nisha’s parents thought the burglars had been so badly hurt by their fall that they couldn’t move. Nisha said, “Well done, Boo!” much to her parents’ puzzlement.

The police had been looking for these burglars for weeks. They had broken into a lot of homes. They were grateful to Nisha’s parents. “It was brave of you to push these fellows downstairs,” they said.

“But we didn’t,” said Nisha’s parents. “They must have fallen by accident.”

“No, they didn’t fall by accident,” said Nisha. “I know just how it happened. But I can’t tell anyone.”

So Boo and Nisha kept their secret. But they told me. And now I’ve told you the story. But please don’t say a word to anyone else about Boo!