Eli’s rain dance

Illustration: Preethi Ninan  

Eli hated his large family. Everywhere Eli went, someone in the family was always there. One day Eli said to his mother, “I wish I had no family.”

“Someday, you will be happy and proud of your family,” said his mother. Eli croaked and decided to go to his favourite place, a large pond in the middle of the forest. He had barely reached the pond, when the king of the land arrived on a horse. Following him were three men on three shiny red tractors.

Eli croaked loudly till the king looked at him.

“Why are you here?” asked Eli.

“I am going to build a castle in the middle of the pond,” said the king.

“You already have one in the city. Why do you need another castle?” asked Eli.

The king smirked, “This is my kingdom. I will do what pleases me.”

“Where will I go? This pond is my home,” cried Eli.

“How can you call this a pond? It is just a big puddle,” laughed the king. “Come with me to the city. I have a beautiful garden. You can stay there forever.”

Yearning to be home

Happy to be away from his family, Eli agreed and travelled to the city with the king. The king’s garden was beautiful indeed. It had a small fountain in the middle. Eli spent hours swimming and playing all by himself. But he wasn’t happy. He kept thinking about his pond. He also missed his family. So, he went to the king and said, “I miss my family. Can I invite them here for a few days?”

The king took pity on Eli and said, “Yes. You can invite your family to stay here as long as they like.”

Through a crow, Eli sent word to his family. The next night it started raining. The king couldn’t sleep. He strained his ears and listened closely. Apart from the claps of thunder and the pitter patter of raindrops he could hear the frog croaking, ‘Trrrr…..trrrr….trrrr….trrrr’. There was not a moment of rest.

“I can’t sleep. Catch that frog,” he instructed his guards.

“Which one?” they asked. ‘Trrrrtrrrr….trrrrtrrrrrr…..trrrrtrrrr….

trrrr,’ the croaking started again.

Angry, the king came out of his castle to catch the frog himself. As he shone the lantern into the garden, a strange sight greeted him.

Big frogs, small frogs, fat frogs, thin frogs. Frogs on logs, frogs on rocks, frogs on the ground; frogs were dancing all around.

“What is going on here?” asked the king.

“I am having a rain dance, your highness,” said Eli.

“But you said you will invite only your family members,” said the king.

“They are my family,” said Eli and introduced his parents, grandparents, hundreds of siblings and cousins, aunts and grandaunts, uncles and granduncles.

The king returned to bed. He couldn’t sleep that night or the next. The frogs croaked every night. Soon snakes, lizards, birds, and hedgehogs arrived to feast on the frogs. The king was afraid to go for a stroll in his own garden.

One day he called Eli and said, “You have turned my garden into a jungle. Go back to your pond.”

“Your highness, it’s not a pond, it’s just a large puddle,” said Eli. The king slapped himself and realised what a big mistake he had made. He ordered his men to stop building the castle and remove the debris from the pond.

A week later Eli went home, proud of his family and happy that he had saved his pond.

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Printable version | Apr 17, 2021 6:28:32 AM |

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