When Minu saved the clan

Minu loved to read. She began by reading the labels on the cartons and packets in the grocer's shop. Then she began to read the newspaper.

Published - August 14, 2010 05:28 pm IST

Minu, the monkey lived in a small village with her big family. She was different from the other monkeys in her clan. While the other monkeys snatched and stole food from passersby, Minu sat outside the grocer's shop waiting for children to give her pieces of sweet or salty snacks of their own free will. Minu knew there was something missing in her life, but she didn't know what it was until the grocer's daughter, Pinky started school. The grocer's house was behind the shop.

Every afternoon Pinky sat in the courtyard, teaching all her dolls what she learnt at school. Minu sat next to the dolls and heard all that Pinky said.

Very soon Minu had learnt all the alphabets in the book and learnt to read too. Sometimes Pinky visited the shop. Minu followed her. Pinky would ask her father to explain the meaning of the words she didn't know. Every time her father would oblige, too happy that Pinky was taking a keen interest in learning. He bought her a book every week, and Pinky would read it aloud to Minu.

Soon Minu was reading the words written on cartons and packets lying on the shop's shelves. The leader of her clan was not happy. He warned Minu, “Monkeys don't read. If you continue to read, they will take you to the circus and make you perform tricks.”

Minu was not convinced. “I love to read,” she said. “Reading makes me happy.”

When Minu got tired of reading the same cartons over and over again, she discovered the newspaper. The grocer always had a pile of newspapers lying in the shop to wrap eggs, nuts, spices and pulses.

Then one morning, Minu called for an emergency meeting after reading the day's newspaper. “We will have to leave this place. A dam has been built on the other side of the village. It will be opened in a week's time and the waters will submerge the entire village,” she said to everyone who had gathered.

“The skies are clear and the earth is strong,” said the leader of the monkeys. “We will not leave the village.”

The next day the grocer left the village. More people quit the village the following day. “They will be back,” assured the leader of the monkeys. They are probably visiting fairs or attending weddings in the nearby villages.”

But the people didn't come back. In a week's time the entire village was deserted.

Minu begged the leader of the monkeys, “The waters of the dam will be released anytime. Let us leave the village. If I am wrong, we can always come back here.”

Finally the leader of the monkeys relented and ordered everybody to leave the village that very moment. They climbed a nearby hill. Barely had they reached the top, a loud whooshing sound caught their attention. Right in front of their eyes, water snaked through the streets and flooded the whole village. “You saved us just in time,” said the leader of the monkeys, happy and proud Minu's reading skills had saved them all.

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