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Updated: December 10, 2012 18:39 IST
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Pappu saves the peepul tree

M. R. ANAND
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The peepul tree was wise and had many friends in the forest. While the parent birds were out searching for food, he took care of the chicks telling them stories and keeping them entertained.

A thousand years ago, when the forests were left untouched by human civilisation, at the foot of the Vindhyas, in the heart of a beautiful jungle, stood an old peepul tree. He was said to be wise.

He sheltered a number of birds. While the parent birds were away looking for food, the peepul tree took care of the chicks. He kept them amused by telling them wonderful stories.

One day, it so happened that a king on a hunting expedition came to rest under the peepul tree. At that time, the tree was talking to a parrot chick called Pappu.

Pappu asked questions and the peepul tree answered them patiently.

The king, who could understand the language of birds, animals, and plants, was amazed at the wisdom of the peepul tree. In his mind, he compared the tree with his dull-headed ministers. He decided that he would include the tree in his cabinet.

The peepul tree was reluctant to accept the offer. But the king was adamant.

“Don’t worry, I won’t bother you often. I will come to you only when I face difficult situations.”

The peepul tree agreed.

Disaster

A year passed during which the king overcame a famine and averted a war, thanks to the advice of the peepul tree. The peepul tree was then appointed the Prime Minister. The ministers were mere dummies. The ministers who had been sidelined began to hate the peepul tree.

One day, they called for a secret meeting in a deserted house. They decided to do away with the peepul tree. So, they hired three woodcutters and took them into the forest on a full moon night.

But one thing the foolish ministers did not know was that the peepul tree had friends all over the forest.

They had hardly entered the outskirts of the forest, when news spread through the forest. Every one was aware of their intention. The peepul tree was troubled. Everything was happening just as he had feared.

“This is the reason I was against having anything to do with human beings,” he moaned to his friends who were all very sad. They did not know what to do. Suddenly, Pappu flew away, crying, “I will inform the king.”

Pappu flew at great speed and arrived at the palace in good time. The king was talking to his queen when Pappu landed on his lap.

“Oh King, your friend, the peepul tree, is in danger. Please save him,” shouted Pappu.

The king rode quickly into the forest with Pappu in his coat pocket. When they reached the spot the woodcutters had begun their work. One limb of the peepul tree was almost gone.

All around birds and animals were crying. On the other hand, the ministers were very happy, laughing and dancing.

On seeing this, the king was angry. He thundered at the woodcutters to stop. The woodcutters were shocked to see the king.

They fell off their perches, trembling. The ministers were tied and dragged by horses all the way back. They were tried and thrown into prison.

The king presented a beautiful swing to Pappu for having acted promptly to save the Peepul tree.

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