Nitin put the caterpillar in his pencil box and took it to school. Little did he realise that it would save his day!

Nitin was on his way to school. He skipped a bit. He jumped a bit. He wanted to enjoy watching the early morning creatures that crossed his path, running behind a squirrel and chasing a butterfly.

Suddenly, he tripped over a stone and fell. The bump knocked his pencil box out of the side pocket of his bag. It opened and everything went flying. He picked up bits of chalk and his chewed down eraser but he found his pencil missing. Oh dear! He had only one pencil. He searched and then saw it lying near the side of the road in the middle of a pile of pebbles. He ran to pick it up – and there, just next to it, he saw a beautiful green, yellow and black caterpillar between the stones.

“I want that!” he thought. He put his pencil in the path of the caterpillar. At first, it tried to move around it, but Nitin moved the pencil too. Slowly, the caterpillar came atop it, and carefully, Nitin brought his pencil box close and put the pencil inside.

There was a little gap at the back of the box, which he hated earlier because it made his box look old and broken, but now he was happy. The caterpillar could breathe inside while he was at school. Just in case it felt hungry, though, he picked a couple of leaves and put them into the box as well.

When he reached the school gate, Nitin saw that Assembly had started. Luckily, his teacher didn't see him and he managed to get into class without her noticing that he was the only latecomer!

When Jyoti Ma'am, the Maths and Science teacher, came to class and started to write the sums for the test on the board, Nitin opened his box for his pencil. The caterpillar was wound around the pencil. Nitin glanced around anxiously, hoping to see extra pencils with some of his friends. “No looking here and there,” said Jyoti Ma'am loudly. “Pay attention to your work!”

Nitin was ashamed to ask for a pencil. Then everyone would know that he carried only one pencil in his box. He kept looking inside his box, waiting to see if the caterpillar would move. Eventually, it did. Crawling off the pencil and going to lie on the ruler. Nitin grabbed his pencil and started his test.

“I should have taken out the ruler and eraser too and just left the leaves inside the box,” he thought when he realised he needed the ruler to draw a square. He'd never finish the test at this rate! Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Sudhir's ruler lying on the desk. He put out his hand slowly and pulled it towards him and quickly finished off his work.

What a relief! The test was over - oh, but what was that shadow beside him?

“Forgot your pencil box, Nitin?” asked Jyoti Ma'am sternly. “Give me your diary and I'll write a note to your mother to check your bag daily.”

Nitin stood up and hung his head. Slowly, he pulled his box out from the space beneath his desk. “I have it Ma'am,” he whispered. “but, but…”

“But what?” she said impatiently, opening the box.

Then she smiled. “Oh, you remembered our science activity!” She patted his shoulder. “Good,” she said as the bell rang and she started collecting the test books. “Let's get a cardboard box and make this caterpillar our project for the week!”