The ‘Pumpking’ Soup

King Sondumal was just like his name. Always sleepy and lazy. He had a huge kingdom but he didn’t try to make it rich, strong or happy. People came to him with their problems, but they were always sent back saying the king was resting.

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King Sondumal’s kingdom was in a bad condition. People were poor and unhappy. But do you know who was the unhappiest person in the kingdom? It was the royal cook. He worked hard to grind the spices, cut the vegetables, cook them into rich curries, but the king never liked what he cooked. Everyone else loved what he cooked. But it was just the king who never even finished his meals.

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“What a tasteless curry! You call yourself the royal cook? You don’t know how to make a simple potato curry. Take it away”, the king would shout and go back to bed.

The cook prepared the next meal with even more dedication. But it was impossible to please the king.

One day the cook had an idea. He went to the king and said, “My Lord, I want to treat you to the tastiest meal in the world.”

The king made a face. “ You cannot make a simple

“ You cannot make a simple daal and you talk about treating me to the tastiest meal?”

“Yes my lord, trust me. Pumpkin soup- it’s the tastiest meal in the world.”

“Would someone take this madman away? or should I throw him in the jail? Pumpkin soup is the most tasteless thing in the world. Do you understand?” yelled the king in frustration.

The cook was unafraid. He said, “What if I prove you wrong? I have a ‘pumpking’ growing in my garden.”

“A pumpking? What’s that??” asked the king.

“It’s a royal pumpkin and the tastiest breed of pumpkin. It’s so royal that when anyone who is not a king touches it, it rots immediately. So all I want from you is to go to my garden and bring that ‘pumpking’. I will make you a soup so yummy that you would want it every day. If I fail, you can put me in the jail.”

The king was surprised at his confidence. And he was curious about this ‘pumpking’ growing in his garden. So he agreed.

He called for his chariot.

“My lord, you cannot take a horse or a charioteer with you. They are not kings. The king has to go alone to the garden and pick the pumpking”, said the cook.

So the king walked towards the cook’s home. He found that the cook lives uphill. He started climbing the hill on foot. In just 15 minutes he was sweating and panting heavily. And the cook’s home was still far.

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The king kept walking and walking for 2 more hours and reached the cook’s home at the top of the hill. He found the ‘pumpking’ in his garden.  It was huge. He picked it and carried it back to his palace.

The ‘pumpking’ was too heavy and the road was too long. The king walked for another 2.5 hours before he reached his palace.

He was fuming.

“Now if you don’t make a good meal out of this, I am going to kill you,” said the king.

The cook went inside and quickly made the ‘pumpking’ soup- bland and tasteless.

He served it in the royal bowl to the king who was very tired and hungry.

As soon as he saw the soup, he gulped it down.

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“I can’t believe this! This is definitely tastier than anything I have tasted till now,” declared the king.

And then he asked for two more bowls of ‘pumpking’ soup.

The cook was happy. Back in the kitchen, the cook’s helpers tasted the soup.

“There’s no salt! It tastes horrible,” said the helpers.

“I told you, it’s a royal pumpkin. Only the kings will find it tasty”, said the cook smiling to himself.

 

But kids, you are smart. You know the truth, right? The king worked hard for the first time. He walked for hours carrying the pumpkin on his shoulders, got tired and hungry. So he found even the saltless pumpkin soup tasty. Those who work hard, enjoy their meals the most.

 

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Namby-Pamby and the tale of two cities

Long ago, there was a city called Lilyliver. The king of Lilyliver, Worrywart, had two sons, Namby and Pamby.

Namby and Pamby were just like their names, weak and lazy. They never ate greens that the royal cooks prepared. They never liked fruits and vegetables. The king tried many cooks. But no one was able to make them eat those greens.

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Namby loved burgers. You would always find him munching on his burger watching TV. And Pamby’s favorite was Pizza, dripping with cheese.

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They never went for their archery training; never cared to wake up early and do some yoga to stay fit. They started enjoying horse-riding though, but the horse hated them. They were so heavy! So one day, it just threw them off its back. And that was the last horse-riding session they had. Both of them loved watching TV and the TV loved them back. They spent the whole day munching on something greasy and watching cartoons. There was always something on TV that kept them glued.

King Worrywart was worried. Because Namby-Pamby were growing weaker by the day. They were not ready to put a strong fight with the enemies.

“What if there is an enemy attack? I am growing older and older, and these two boys are growing fatter and fatter,” thought Worrywart.

Tattle, the minister of Lilyliver, was very unfaithful. He went to the neighboring city, Wickedshire and told the king all about the bad state-of-affairs of Lilyliver.

“The king is old. The princes are good for nothing. You can plan an attack anytime, Sir,” said the minister.

So the king planned to attack Lilyliver after 5 days.

Now, there was an unfaithful minister in Wickedshire too. He was called Prattle. Prattle immediately went to Lilyliver and told the king everything about the attack that was to happen in 5 days.

Now the king started panicking. What to do now? We will be ruined!

He looked at his sons, Namby and Pamby. They had slept on the couch watching TV till midnight.

The king had no hopes from them.

Just then the queen came in and suggested that they visit Solon Longbeard, a very learned and wise sage who meditated on a bed of thorns somewhere outside the country.

The king, queen and the two princes visited Solon Longbeard and asked him if there was anyone who could fight to save Lilyliver from the attack.

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“Don’t lean on unknown pillars. Those who can solve your problem are your owns,” said the sage in a deep voice.

The king understood that he will have to send his sons to the battleground.

“But how? Please tell me how can I make my sons fit enough to fight and win?” asked the worried king.

The sage looked at the plump princes and said, “Getting up at 5 a.m. and walking 5 miles should be their routine for the next 5 days. 5 green vegetables, boiled and ground to paste, should be the only meal they get for the next 5 days.”

The princes were taken aback. Even thinking about boiled, ground veggies made them want to vomit. And getting up at 5 a.m. was out of question!

But did they have any choice?

The king and queen dragged them out of the bed at 5 am. And they ran 5 miles. When they came back they were served the meal of boiled and pureed veggies.

“No one on earth can eat this,” declared Namby.

“But you will,” said the queen, strictly.

And so they ate, trying not to taste what they were eating.

It tasted disgusting. But surprisingly, they felt quite full of energy and strength. This continued for the next 5 days. 3 meals of green veggies and 5 miles walk everyday did wonders to their health. The princes were quite active. And did I mention, they had not watched TV in these 5 days?

The princes were trained in archery and swordsmanship. They started horse-riding again. With bearable weight on its back, the horse didn’t throw them away this time.

Now on the sixth day, the kingdom of Lilyliver was attacked by Wickedshire. But they were in for a surprise! The princes fought bravely and drove the army away!

The king of Wickedshire was aghast!

“You said the princes ate burgers and pizzas, and that had made them weak,” the king accused the minister of Lilyliver, Tattle.

“Y..yes, Sir. I saw them eating burgers and pizzas all the time,” said the terrified Tattle.

“This means, these things make you strong and active, not weak and lazy. I order, from now on, everyone in my kingdom will only eat pizzas and burgers. We need to prepare ourselves for the next attack on Lilyliver,” declared the dumb king of Wickedshire.

So the entire city of Wickedshire ate only pizzas and burgers thinking it will make them stronger.

But you know what? After one month, there was an attack by Lilyliver on Wickedshire. They had grown even stronger as they had been eating greens and training all through the month. The burger-eating Wickedshire lost the battle. Lilyliver, fed on greens won not just this but every battle, henceforth.

So kids, don’t be all that Namby-Pamby; ask mom to make some delicious greens for you, tonight.

 

 

Why Longie and Stripes stay together?

Ever wondered why the herds of giraffes and zebras stay together?

 Ok, did you know that they always stay together?

If you know, great!

If you didn’t, you now do. That’s great too!

Now let me tell you why it is so..Let’s begin the story.

Once upon a storytime, in the Savanna grasslands of Africa, there were many, too many zebras and giraffes. They had a lot to eat, fresh creeks to drink water and a very pleasant climate to roam about. But like every other plant eating animal, they had a problem.

Every second day, one among them was attacked and dragged away by lions and leopards.

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“What to do? We are so helpless?” said a zebra.

“Why has God made us so weak?” said another.

“The cheetahs can run fast. The lions are clever attackers. What a pity! We neither have strength nor brains,” cried another.

There was…

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The Lingo Man

“You have always done well in all your exams. I am sure you will be a topper this time too,” said Lokesh’s mom.

Today was an important exam for Lokesh which might get him a good job with lots of money at the end of every month.

But when Lokesh saw his question paper, he couldn’t understand a word!

“Which language is this? Can I get the question paper in English?” Lokesh asked the teacher who was standing there to see that no one cheats.

“I am sorry. You should know Telugu to pass in this exam,” said the teacher.

Lokesh was shocked. He could not believe that he can ever fail in an exam, and that too because of a language!

Lokesh came home and cried. His mother said,”Lokesh, do you remember, you used to hate Mathematics when you were small. But instead of crying, you practiced and practiced till you could get no sums wrong. Can’t you be the same Lokesh again?”

Mom’s words made Lokesh feel good. He made a promise to himself, “If language is where I fail, I am going to master all the languages in the world.”

And then, Lokesh started learning languages. He started with Indian languages first.  He realized that there are 1652 languages in India, but he conquered them all. And then slowly, he learnt all the foreign languages too.

Lokesh was enjoying. Languages are good fun!

One night, when he was working hard learning to write the last human language that was left, a strange light filled his room. He heard a voice.

“Lokesh, you are great. You failed in an exam, but didn’t lose heart. Instead, you made the reason of your failure your strength. You have now become a true hero who can solve all the language problems in this world,” said the voice.

“From now on, you are not an ordinary man. You are the Lingo-man. Here take this. This is your lingo-booster.” Suddenly a strange looking thing appeared on his study table. It looked like a mini-fire extinguisher.

“What is a lingo-booster?” asked Lokesh. But when he looked up, nobody was there.

After that strange day, the Lingo-man, just like the Spiderman and the Superman, started saving the world from language problems. He helped a man, who could speak and understand only Tamil, talk to a doctor who did not understand a word of Tamil.

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He helped a Hindi speaking girl make friends in her school in London, where no one knew Hindi.

He also helped a German couple talk to the taxi driver in Mumbai.

But he still couldn’t understand the importance of the lingo-booster. It was a cylindrical object, which seemed to have no use at all!

But he was sure, it was something very important.

One day, when the Lingo-man came back home from a long, tiring day, he opened his bag. Alas! The lingo-booster was not there!

“Who stole my lingo-booster!” cried the Lingo-man.

And that’s when he heard an evil laughter.

“He-He-He-He”

“How are you Lingo-man? You are such an ordinary human-being. I wonder, how you got the precious lingo-booster!” said that evil-looking man.

“Who are you? Give me my lingo-booster back,” said the Lingo-man.

“I am someone who deserves to be the Lingo-man, not you. If the lingo-booster cannot be mine, then it cannot be yours too!” With this, the evil Fussy-lingo threw the lingo-booster in a gutter nearby. The Lingo-man punched him hard, and ran after the lingo-booster. He realized that the water from the gutter goes into the sea, so he reached the opening from where the gutter water falls into the sea.

The shining lingo-booster fell from the gutter, straight to the bottom of the sea into a dark pit on the sea floor. When the Lingo-man entered the pit, he got very scared. It was a mermaid’s cave. The mermaid was not like the beautiful ‘little mermaid’. She was like the mermaid who Harry Potter met during the Triwizard Tournament. Scary and ugly. When she spoke, it sounded as if she is clearing her throat and clicking her tongue and sometimes roaring and growling like a lion. Scarier.

“I want my lingo-booster back,” the Lingo-man pointed at the lingo-booster.

When she didn’t give it back, he jumped and tried to snatch it away from her. All of a sudden, a current passed from the mermaid to the Lingo-man through the lingo-booster. The very next moment, Lingo-man could understand her language!

She was saying, “Who are you? Have you come to catch me?”

To which, the Lingo-man replied in the mer-language, “I am your friend. And I just need my thing back. I will tell no one about you.”

The mermaid was surprised to hear a human speaking her language. She let him go with an ugly smile.

The Lingo-man was back on the shore. He now understood the real purpose of the lingo-booster.

From that day, he became the master of not only all the human languages, but also the languages of animals, birds, insects, aliens and ofcourse, mermaids!

Nanu- The fussy-eating kid (Age 2 to 6)

Nanu was a fussy eater. He loved noodles, but when mamma cooks his favourite noodles with veggies, he would push the bowl away. Cutlets made his mouth water. But mamma is so adamant to make him eat those greens that she cleverly includes some finely chopped beans and spinach in the mix. Nanu would eat gladly unless he spots the green lurking in the cutlet. 

One afternoon, Nanu was playing with his favourite round-about train set. Mamma tried to put him to sleep but he was not at all sleepy. He wanted to make the train run few more rounds. Finally, mamma dozed off.

Few minutes later, Nanu’s stomach gurgled. Was he hungry? But he just had his lunch. Oh no. He had been a bad boy yet again. He had refused to eat the porridge mamma made for him. There were beans, coriander and spinach in it. So he…

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Exam Fever!

They are uninvited, they are unpleasant,1

But unfortunately, they are here!

Forget ghosts, forget beasts,

Exams are my only fear.

 

Theorems make me break a sweat,

Periodic tables make me shiver.

I am afraid I am down with,

What they call ‘exam fever’.

 

But am I the only one,

Burning the midnight oil?

No, there’s someone else too,

Putting up with a turmoil.

 

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Someone who can expertly ease,

The butterflies in my tummy.

No points for guessing,

My 3 a.m. buddy is my mummy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Ugly Rhino (age 2 to 5)

Renno, the rhinoceros was a new student in the class. 

So, he was sitting alone in a bright orange chair.

The new school was big. It had see-saws and slides. It had so many classrooms. And so many kids to make friends with. Renno was excited.

Just then he saw a rabbit sitting alone like him. He was a beautiful rabbit. He had milky white skin and long ears. He had a pink nose and big black eyes. Renno thought, he must be a new student like me. Let me go and ask him to be my friend.

Suddenly, Jeremy, the giraffe, entered the class. He was the class teacher.

“Attend to your roll calls, children” said he.

Then he called the children one by one by their names. Renno listened and memorized every student’s name.

There was Anna, the anteater , Buffy, the baboon  

Esho, the elephant  

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