Derean and the attack on Fraglior

By Anoushrayan Deysarkar



10 billion years ago, in the galaxy ZMY3, a nebula condensed into a star. The rest of the dust and gases formed planets, and one of them was Fraglior.

Like all other planets, it was very hot at first, but then, after a few billion years, it cooled down. It was one of the few planets in the universe that had water. An alien civilization, the Manergitea, noticed this and sent out a ship carrying the basic seeds of life, along with all other components required for life. The ship was unmanned and dived right into one of the oceans on the planet and blew itself up.

The contents of the ship were protected in strong, airtight containers. The containers carrying life opened in the ocean, but the others opened in the air, or what was present like it at that time. The blast was necessary because it sent a shock wave which would eventually help in forming land. But, for the time being, life evolved in water. Several million years later, it emerged on land, and 300 million years later, the first intelligent life had formed. And that is where our story begins.

Fraglior: The planet of the Feredoctiles


Derean sluggishly walked, or rather, crawled towards his house on the cliff. He had just gone to the serambora to get his gerapod checked [1]. It had been looking sick for the past few days. The serambora told him it probably had feratitis[2]. Before that, he had gone to work at the demalor [3] mines.

Derean was a feredoctilis, a dragon-like intelligent creature that inhabited most of Fraglior. Feredoctiles can breathe fire and were resistant to fire.

art by@candraagustianx – pinterest


[1]A gerapod was a kind of living creature that looked like a giant rhinoceros with two large frills instead of the nose horn. They were also very colourful and lacked the several bony plates of a rhinoceros. Instead, they had a single piece of continuous body armour. The large frills usually lie flat, but if the gerapod wishes, it can inflate its frills. This is possibly a mating ritual. Feredoctiles use gerapods for transportation.

[2] Feratitis is a disease of gerapods in which their body armour starts flaking and finally falls off. A serambora is a kind of doctor

[3] Feredoctiles needed Demalor, a solid chemical at room temperature that melted at 50 degrees Celsius. They melt it and drink it. Demalor produced something like what we call Vitamin E in feredoctile bodies. They had lost the ability to produce it, just as we have lost the ability to produce Vitamin C.


The Letter

Derean’s house was on a kind of wide space near the bottom of Mount Pheleros, the tallest mountain in Fraglior. The wide space ended sharply in a steep cliff that ended in a wide gorge. At the bottom of the gorge was a swift river. The road on which Derean was travelling ended in the gorge. This strange geological rock formation is thought to have originated about 78 million years ago, when a huge earthquake cracked open the land, forming the gorge. The earthquake also caused a huge part of the mountain to fall off, causing the creation of the wide space. The part of the mountain that fell off was broken down by the aftershocks. Mt. Pheleros, though the tallest mountain on Fraglior, could be and had been climbed by many people. Of course, that was because most people didn’t start from the bottom of the gorge, which is the actual bottom of the mountain. (In fact, The Geological Survey of Mountains in Drugnein West {GSMDW} reports that Mt. Pheleros is only the tallest mountain on Fraglior if its height is calculated from the bottom of the gorge to the top. Otherwise, if calculated from the end of the wide space where Derean’s house was, it ranked only 11th.) Most people climb the mountain starting from the end of the wide space (Which is, actually, Derean’s courtyard) and thus have to pay some money to Derean.

Derean stopped a little way from the edge. He then broke into a run, and just as he reached the edge, he jumped and flapped his great wings hard. In a moment, he was flying. A few minutes later, he landed on a little patch of grass in his courtyard. He crawled up to the door, raised himself on his hind legs, fumbled around a natural pouch on his leg, and took out a little key. He unlocked the door, opened it and entered. He then turned around and closed the door. He opened the windows and spotted a little letter addressed to him, and a package. He opened the envelope, took out the letter, and read it. This is what was written: –

The Mealdrow, Denkor Cliff,

Red Setar area, Cambola,

Drugnein West


Dear Derean,

Are you still adventurous? If you are, then I have an adventure for you. Meet me at the top of Mt. Pheleros at 26:85 tomorrow. I am sending three bottles of Energiser for the broken portion. Hope you are well and good luck. You’ll need it.

Your friend,


You might be a little shocked upon reading the date and time. There are 70 seconds in a minute, 100 minutes in an hour, 48 hours in a day, 90 days in a month and 20 months in a year on Fraglior. The current year is 4359. As for the broken part, it refers to a broken portion of the road up Mt. Pheleros. Feredoctiles can fly up it of course, but their energy level starts decreasing the higher they go. Energiser is a fluid which gives them energy. Thus, the mysterious letter-writer had sent three bottles of it.

The Meeting on Mount Pheleros

Derean read and reread the letter to make sure. He thought hard and decided to follow the instructions. He opened the package and found the three bottles. It was getting late, so he kept the bottles on his bedside table and went to sleep. The next morning, he woke up and did all his daily duties on a holiday, because if I have not mentioned it before, that day was a holiday. He whiled away his time till 26:00, and then packed the bottles and other necessary items into his natural pouches. Then, he started on his journey. He stopped a few times and drank a little of the first bottle of energiser. Now, to understand what happened next, you must understand that the road up Mt. Pheleros is made up of curves, like the thread of a screw.

Derean finished his first bottle and stopped one curve below the curve on which the broken portion was. He then drank, in one gulp, his second bottle, and started running. Just as he reached the end, he jumped and started flying. He landed one curve above the broken portion and stopped. There were only a few more curves left. He started crawling up the road. Derean had to stop only once to drink energiser. When he finally reached the top, he could see a feredoctile who turned his back to him. Derean said, “Um, Hello?” Instantly, the feredoctile turned around and Derean exclaimed, “Professor Gregory!” The feredoctile smiled and said, “Hello Derean. So, you received my letter.” Derean said, “So that was you. But about your sign, GFH?” The professor laughed and said,” Do you remember my full name?” “Of course, I do”, said Derean, “Gregory Feglin Herecor.”  “Wait a minute”, he said, “G for Gregory, F for Feglin, H for Herecor. GFH. Gregory Feglin Herecor. Oh!” Derean laughed. Then he said, “What about that adventure, eh?  The professor smiled and said, “Come, let me show you.” Then, he pressed a tiny button on the ground, and instantly a trapdoor opened.

Below it, a staircase went down. On the walls, there were glowing bulbs. The professor started going down the staircase. Derean followed. Soon, they came to the bottom of the staircase. They were in a large room, made of some sort of metal, and in the middle of the room there was a giant aeroplane that looked like a fighter plane, only it had far larger thrusters than a normal fighter plane, and it was made of the same strange metal. On its side was printed: Gerelon 2000. Its door was open.

The room seemed to be lit with a strange light given off by bulbs that were much brighter than any Derean could remember. “Welcome”, said the professor, smiling, “to the room of GFH. The plane you see here is my latest invention, the Gerelon 2000. It is a spaceship, and I want you to come with me on an adventure. An adventure to explore outer space!” Derean was surprised but was also a little curious. “Professor”, he asked, “how will it take off? Rockets usually use a huge amount of power, right? The professor laughed and said, “Ah, my dear boy. It’s a good question, and you are right. Rockets do use a lot of power. And my spaceship does the same. Do you want to know how? Well, do you see those thrusters? They channel all the power required.” Derean asked, “But how will it channel all of the power without melting the room? And how will it exit? I thought we were inside the mountain.” The professor laughed and said, “Well, you’re right again. We are inside the mountain. And any ordinary metal would melt under the heat. But rimonosterin, the material this room is made of, is not an ordinary metal. Come, I’ll show you.”

The professor walked across the room to a table at one end of the room. On it, a container was kept, that seemed to be holding some sort of metal. The professor asked, “Derean, I believe you are a mineral checker at the demalor mines?” Derean replied, “Um… well, yes.” The professor said, “Would you mind checking this metal for me?” Derean replied, “Of course! Um… do you have a magnifying glass?” The professor handed him a magnifying glass. Derean peered through it at the metal for a minute and exclaimed, “Amazing! This is Töp – Nötch steel! Where did you get it?” The professor replied, “I bought it from Zaxinom. Now, look. This is a flamethrower. I have set it at the lowest temperature. I am going to aim it at the steel and keep the trigger pressed for one minute. Let’s see what happens. Oh! I nearly forgot! Wear these protective glasses to protect your eyes.” He handed Derean a pair of glasses and put on one himself. After Derean had worn his glasses, the professor pressed the trigger. A minute later, he released the trigger.

Once the flames and smoke had floated away, Derean took off his glasses and was amazed to see that the Töp – Nötch steel was completely molten. Professor Gregory told Derean to follow him. He walked up to a wall, set the temperature to the highest option, and pressed the trigger for five minutes. Once the smoke had cleared away, Derean couldn’t believe his eyes. The wall was completely solid! Professor Gregory turned to face Derean and said, “Well, now you know the strength of rimonosterin. As for being inside the mountain”, he pressed a button and then spoke again, “you can see for yourself how we will get out.” As soon as he had pressed the button, the wall in front of the nose of the ship had started opening up. Derean was amazed and said, “How can you control the mountain?” The professor replied, “This wall is not a part of the mountain. It is just a rimonosterin wall which I have covered with rocks on the outside, to make it look like a part of the mountain. Anyway, let’s get into the ship.”

The Journey – to Outer Space!

Derean followed him into the ship. Inside, there were four seats divided in two rows and a large, complicated control panel. The professor sat down in the left-hand side seat of the first row. He told Derean to sit beside him. Derean was supposed to control the coordinate system. Professor Gregory closed the door with a button. He then pressed another button. Instantly, seatbelts strapped them to their seats. Professor Gregory told Derean, “In five seconds, the thrusters will activate. When I shout ‘Now!’ you must press the yellow button. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… Now!” Derean pressed the yellow button.

The metal straps holding the plane to the ground let go. The thrusters had activated, so the ship instantly shot forward. In a minute, they were speeding forward at 50,000 km/h (0.005 % the speed of light). A minute later, they had passed the atmosphere and were in space. They were not yet in orbital range but were expecting to be there in 8 seconds. The professor had already told him what to do when this happened. He pressed a red button and the ship changed direction. Nearly instantly, the primary thrusters stopped, and the secondary thrusters came into action. Derean hadn’t noticed these thrusters before. There were 4 primary thrusters. They were arranged in two rows, with a gap of a metre between the rows. The secondary thrusters were located in 2 rows of 3 in this gap. Till now, a white light, coming from the primary thrusters, could be seen near the back, as there was a window there. Now, the light became a softer, blue light. But Derean had hardly realised this, when he saw an amazing thing.

They were orbiting in a tilted way, and through the windshield, or rather, spaceshield, he could see Fraglior beside them. It looked glorious from that height. It was a mixture of reds, greens, yellows, and mostly, blues. They were orbiting above the dayside now. In a few minutes, they were orbiting over the last bit of the day side, now they were over the dusk side, and now… they were over the night side! As they orbited, Derean could see the lights of several major cities, shining like several tiny dots of light. Meanwhile the spaceship straightened up. Then, looking at the other side of the window, Derean saw Nenthutos and Gramitos, the twin moons of Fraglior, shining in the distance. Suddenly, the ship changed course.

He looked at the professor and saw that he was steering the ship using something that looked like a joystick. They were heading straight towards Nenthutos. Now they were getting attracted towards the moon. A moment later, with a tricky little movement, they were orbiting Nenthutos. In front of them, they could see the next 4 planets, Helmol, Egromil, Lamirma, and Frendiso in front of them. Suddenly, a dark shadow moved across Helmol. It covered the planet almost completely. The professor wrinkled his forehead. He said, “That’s strange. I don’t think it’s one of Helmol’s moons. They wouldn’t be so big.” They swerved out of orbit to get a better look. The shadow certainly wasn’t one of the moons, because it stayed there for more than a minute. That is, part of it stayed there for a minute. The shadow just became a little thinner. Then it became fat again, covering Helmol completely.

The professor directed the ship towards the shadow. He pressed a button, and six pairs of cameras and projectors activated. The camera on one side captured an image of what was in front of it, and the projector on the opposite side projected the captured image on that side. This made the ship kind of invisible. Then the professor slowly steered the ship round the front end of the shadow. He steered very far to the side and saw the beginning of the shadow. And then, they both let out a gasp, because the ‘shadow’ was actually a ship. A giant ship. And they were staring at its front.


The professor slowly directed the Gerelon 2000 towards the larger ship. They tried to get a better look, but it was at that moment that the made their fatal mistake. The did not realise, that the ship might have enemy sensors. They had steered right into the heat sensor’s sensing field. Thus, though they were invisible, they were caught, as the sensors sensed their thruster heat. Instantly, a bright red light started beeping. There must have been some signal as well, because, in a moment, a hundred smaller ships had come out of the giant ship. They quickly surrounded the Gerelon 2000 and immobilised it by using some sort of electric field. The ships moved towards the larger ship, moving the electric field along with them. At least, Derean and the professor thought so, because they, too, moved along with the ships. In a few minutes, they were inside the ship. The ships moved farther apart and made a strange beeping light. The door closed, and one of the ships took their fuel compartment out. This shut off the invisibility mode.

 The ships then directed their ship towards the bottom. Once they were on the ground, the ship carrying the fuel compartment put the fuel box on a sort of conveyer belt, which carried it out of sight. Then, it opened their door using an electric bolt. The ship landed and opened its own door. A two-legged creature walked out. It had a white jacket, made out of some flexible metal, a pair of white trousers made of the same metal, and a strong helmet that was – well, you guessed it. It was made of the same metal and was, well, white. It had a black gun-like thing. It could see them through the front of its helmet, which was made of glass. The creature must have spoken, but the helmet had converted the voice into a robotic voice. It said, “Come with me, unless you wish to be blown to bits.” The creature moved behind Derean and the professor and activated another electric field. This one made their arms and legs stiff, and they found that they couldn’t move by themselves. The creature seemed to have pressed a button, or something similar, because at that moment their hands and legs began to move. They were being forced to walk down a white metal corridor.

They were made to stop in front of a large room. Its door was open. They walked inside, or rather, were forced to walk inside. There, they were made to stand against two metal poles, and tied with two metal chains. The chains were too thick to break. The creature shut off the electric field, and they could move their hands and legs freely again. The creature left the room, and Derean and the professor were left alone. The professor said, “How will we escape from this place? These metal chains are so strong!” Derean replied, “I’m getting the feeling that I know this metal. Wait, let me examine it closely.” Derean examined the metal closely for a moment, and exclaimed, “Why, this is Ionium! Now I know how to escape from here!” “How?”, asked the professor. Derean impatiently replied, “Don’t you remember the properties of Ionium? It becomes extremely malleable when heated. And feredoctiles can breathe fire and are resistant to fire! All we need to do is breathe fire on the chains and then push on them, and we can create a space wide enough to jump out of!” They did what Derean had suggested.

As he had expected, the Ionium became so malleable that they could create a space wide enough to jump out of by pushing the chains. After jumping out, they quickly went to the doorway and looked down both sides of the corridor. There was no one around. They quickly ran out and turned left. They thought that it would be safer to go that way, because they had come from the right corridor. The corridor joined another corridor after some distance. They turned right along this new corridor and started discussing where to go. “Look”, said the professor, “we need a ship to escape from here. I would suggest going to the dockyard and stealing a ship.” Derean said, “But to steal a ship, we need a disguise. Where will we get one?” “Hmmm… Why don’t we knock one of those creatures out and steal its armour? You can wear the armour and pretend that you were ordered to take me somewhere”, said the professor. Derean said, “But… they can track the ship, can’t they?” Both thought for a while, and then the professor exclaimed, “I’ve got it! You can say that you received orders telling them not to track the ship! Then you can board a ship and we can escape!”

Suddenly, they heard footsteps coming down yet another corridor that was joined by this one. Derean quickly pulled the professor into a kind of small room whose doorway was open. The room was completely dark. Derean quietly peeped out to see what was going on outside. What he saw was amazing. One of the creatures had removed his helmet. Around his head, there were 7 tentacles that were pink coloured, just like his head. They were hanging down to his shoulders. There must have been another one of the creatures who was hidden by the corner, because they started talking at once. “Largis”, said the one he could see, “go to the prisoners’ room and see that they are secure. Report to me later.” “Yes, sir”, said the other.

He started walking down the corridor. The one who had given the order walked down the other corridor. Derean quickly pulled himself into the room and waited till the other creature, Largis, had come close enough. Then, he jumped on him, wrestled with him, and managed to knock him out. Then, he pulled the creature into the room and removed its armour. Along with the armour, there were a few ropes and gags. There was a hook on the ceiling of the room. They tied the creature up and tied it in such a way that it hung two feet from the ground. Then, they found the creature’s tablet, and discovered what their plan was.

Escape – and Foiling the Plan

They wanted to capture Fraglior!

They had assembled a larger fleet of the giant ships and were holding it ready beyond the solar system. This ship would gather all the information they needed and finally, when they were ready, they would send a message to the larger ships to attack and conquer Fraglior.

After they had got all the information they needed, the professor hacked the computer and made it appear as if their bosses had ordered them to bring Gregory to the main ship, which was beyond the solar system. Derean dressed up like a soldier and got all the weapons ready. Gregory also ‘ordered’ the ship not to track their ship they would escape on. The professor then made an escape plan. The plan was: –

Derean would go to the docks, along with an immobilised Gregory and show the guards his ID and orders. Then, he would get into a ship, close the doors, put the highest security option and shift seats with Gregory, who would be able to move by himself, because the electric field would have been deactivated by Derean. He would get the ship out of the dock, and then would try to escape to Fraglior. Then they would try to work out a plan to protect the feredoctiles.

Derean agreed. Soon, he had activated the electrical field to immobilize Gregory. They walked down the corridor to the docks. There were two guards at the entrance. As Derean tried to walk past them, they said, “ID”. Derean showed his ID. Then, “Orders.” Derean complied. Once they were satisfied, they said, “You may proceed. All hail Hymanra [4].”

Derean entered the docks. There were loads of the aliens loading, unloading, taking off and landing. Derean headed towards an empty spaceship. He did exactly as they had planned, and soon, they were flying off. That was when disaster struck. An alert dock regulator noticed Derean’s ship flying in the opposite direction. He raised an alarm, and soon the entire fleet was after them. Derean, who had given the controls to Gregory and was sitting in the gunner seat, said, “Oh brother. Now how do we survive?”. Gregory spoke through his headphones, “Derean, try to take out how many of the ships as you can before that message labelled ‘Not Enough Power’ comes up. Then, you must set that detachment option to ‘Timer’ and set the timer to 10 seconds.

Before starting the timer, set the movement-after-detachment option to ‘Forward and Crash’. Then, start the timer and use the elevator to come up into the main ship. I’ll keep in touch.” Derean began firing. With one hand he held the gun joystick, used for moving the gun around. One of his fingers was on the fire button. To his amazement, the Heirabolan fleet did not seem to have their shields up. Every time his lasers hit the fleet ships, they blasted or half blasted. At the same time, their lasers were continuously missing Derean’s ship. Whenever a laser came too close, Gregory spun the ship around, dodging the lasers. But their luck didn’t hold for long. Suddenly, a laser came and hit the gunner area. It hit the bottom, so not much damage was done. Still, the gunner’s computer told Derean that target marking was not possible any more. Derean was busier shooting the enemy ships.

Suddenly, a laser came right towards him. But, instead of making him feredoctile toast, it was repelled by some mysterious field. Derean was taken aback for a moment, but then realised that the shield was up. He cried out, “Yoohoo! We’re saved.” But at that very moment, the message ‘Not Enough Power’ came up. He remembered what Gregory had told him and did exactly as he was told. Very soon, he was up in the main ship. He was going to greet Gregory, but instead of him, he found a white spacesuit-wearing figure. He stammered, “Wh..whh…whh…what are you?” The figure turned and spoke with a mechanical voice, “Derean, don’t you recognise me? I am Gregory. I put on this suit for a special purpose. Wear the other one, and I’ll tell you why.” Derean quickly put on the other suit.

Then Gregory said, “Derean, we have to think of a plan to save ourselves, and Fraglior, from these aliens.” Derean thoughtfully replied, “Well, if we could shut off their ‘Defence and Attack’ system, then we could shut off the entire ship’s guns.” Gregory exclaimed, “What a great idea Derean! Now, I know exactly what to do.” Derean thought to himself whether Gregory had gone mad when the professor turned the ship around and headed for the opposing spaceships. Suddenly the professor set the ship to automatic coordinate – based motion. The coordinates were set for – the Defence and Attack system area! Suddenly, Gregory spoke, “Derean, I am now going to set the steering to ‘Always-Above-Ship-Following’. We are now following an alien spaceship.

I am going to open the escape hatch on the floor. When I say ‘Now!’ we must jump onto the other ship. Then, using their top escape hatch, we can go in and take over that ship.” Derean agreed. The professor opened the escape hatch. Immediately, they were being sucked towards the hatch. Gregory shouted, “Now!” and both of them jumped. They were immediately sucked towards the end of the other ship but managed to hold on to something. It was the hatch. They managed to get the hatch open but were immediately pushed back again. Somehow, they managed to get inside and closed the hatch. Then, they repressurised the cabin and filled it with oxygen. Finally, the took off their helmets and prepared their guns. Then, after opening the door, they immediately shot the two Heirabolans sitting inside. As soon as they were dead, the two feredoctiles took over the ship.


[4] Hymanra was their great lord, the mastermind, the person who controlled everything from their home planet, Jugastanis 123. It was not actually their home planet, as they had already destroyed their home planet while mining. Since then, they had changed planets 123 times.

This was the last and most stable one. Now it is time to disclose some facts about their civilisation. They were called the “Heirabola”. This civilisation is notorious among other alien civilisations for destroying planets and turning their inhabitants into slaves. They are amazingly advanced. Now to start on their history.

A long time ago, 300 years ago to be precise, the most cunning chieftain they had ever known, Hymanra, arose. He took over the entire world over time. He managed to convince the people that they were destined for greater things and that if they united themselves, they could achieve things that they didn’t even dream of. The people accepted. Within the span of a century, the Heirabolans had conquered half the planets in their solar system. Meanwhile, Hymanra had employed his scientists to make an elixir of life. They finally succeeded in making the elixir and gave it to Hymanra. So that no other civilisation could make this elixir, he had all the scientists who made the elixir killed. He even destroyed all of their research papers.

Due to this elixir, he could live forever. 300 years later, they have a huge system of planets under their control. Hymanra controls this system with the help of his several commanders. His most prized possession is the Imperial Beam. All of the major Heirabolan warships had laser beams, which could destroy an area of about 17.1 million square kilometres with a single shot. The Imperial Beam was about 10,000 times more powerful than that. It could destroy the largest planet in the Fraglioran solar system, Lamirma, with a single shot.


 The Great Escape

After taking over the ship, they quickly switched off the tracking device so that their previously stolen ship did not continue to follow them. Then, they quickly steered the ship downwards so that they could go below the giant ship. Once they had gone below the giant ship, they quickly went across the giant ship and up the other side. Then, they went to the holding docks, where prisoner’s ships were kept. Meanwhile, another thing had happened.

While they were still below the ship, they heard a huge explosion and the entire ship shook from the vibration. At the same time, the fire option deactivated. This meant that the defence sector was destroyed. Once the ship reached the holding docks, they got out of the ship and entered the Gerelon 2000. They found that it had been adapted to run on the aliens’ fuel source. They also found that the ship had been re – fuelled. This made their escape easier. They quickly turned on the invisibility mode and started flying back to Fraglior.

Due to the defence sector being destroyed, the heat sensors were not active. Once they were away from the ship, they both breathed a sigh of relief. But at that very moment, a huge bit of destroyed ship parts collided with them. Both the Gerelon 2000 and the ship parts fell down thousands of miles, through the atmosphere of Fraglior, and crashed onto the surface. What happens next? Read on in the next book!

The Ghost of Neil Damiens

By Anoushrayan Deysarkar

Damiens Bunglow

Many years ago, there lived a man called Neil Damiens. He was a rich man, and he lived in the Damiens’ bungalow on Heather street. He lived with his wife and two children. He was the owner of a sugarcane plantation. One day, while he was working in the plantation, a fire broke out and many people died. Neil was one of them. The plantation was shut down. Thankfully, Neil had made his will already. Half his money went to his family and half to his sister. This was in the year 1751.

Many years later, in the year 1951, one of his descendants, Jacob Damiens found Neil’s diary. He read a few pages and finding it interesting, decided to read a page of it every day before going to bed. He read it till the end. Interestingly, it was on the same day he finished reading the diary –  17th of April, that Neil had died 200 years ago.

On the stroke of midnight, Jacob was woken up by a strange sound, like the whirring of pages. He woke up and saw that the diary was closed. This was strange, because Jacob had been so sleepy that he had forgotten to close the diary. Just as Jacob was about to go to sleep, he heard another sound, like that of a cloak brushing against the floor. Jacob was surprised, because nobody in the house wore a cloak.

He took a torch and went out of his bedroom. He followed the sound of the cloak and reached the living room. There, he saw a cloaked figure standing and looking at a picture of Neil Damiens on the wall. The figure turned to face Jacob. It whispered “Jacob.” Again, it whispered “Jacob.” Then it said “I am Neil Damiens.”

Jacob was trembling with fear. The ghost of Neil Damiens said “Listen to me, Jacob. You must save your cousin, Ben Atkinsons, from dying like me. He lives in Wembley. You must not let him go to his factory, the Cotton Mill Factory tomorrow. It will explode tomorrow. I do not want him to die in the same way as I died. You must save him.”

Jacob was very scared but agreed to do as the ghost said. The next day, he called Ben up and introduced himself as Jacob Damiens. He said that he needed 44 pounds of cotton. He also said that wanted to feel the texture of the cotton so he would go to Ben’s house. After he had felt the cotton’s texture, the two men chatted till 12 ‘o clock. Later, that same day, the news of an explosion at the Cotton Mill Factory, Ben’s factory, appeared in the newspaper. It was also written that this was the very spot at which a similar explosion had taken place, 200 years ago, in a sugarcane factory. The owner of that factory was a man called Neil Damiens.

Woodda’s Fruit-Land

By Moutushi Ghoshdeysarkar

A wood cutter used to go to a jungle near his village to fetch wood everyday in the afternoon. He would mostly be back home in the evening before sun down expect for some days when he would either get caught up with travellers who passed by the path through the jungle or would not be able to find sufficient wood within time. He loved to hear the traveller’s stories of faraway lands and strange places which he was sure actually didn’t exist. He in-turn would weave beautiful narratives and tell them to his mates at the bazaar where he went to sell his wood in the morning. They too didn’t believe a word he said but the stories were so intriguing that everyone would wait for him and be all ears when he started his story camp at lunch time.

“One day”, he started and sipped a little water, “I was unable to find the requisite amount of wood and lingered on longer than I usually do. It was only after sun down that I started for the journey back home. On the way I felt very hungry and could not go on further. I left the donkeys with the wood piles and went up a tree in search of fruits. There were none but I decided to rest for a while as I was feeling very tired. I just sat there staring into the branches and after a while I saw a very ripe and red round fruit which I guess had camouflaged itself in the red and orange leaves of the tree so well that I had missed it while searching. I pranced on it and ate it in a jiffy. I felt very sleepy and it must have happened then. Though I have no explanation for what I am going to tell you next.”

The wood cutter dug at his lunch while others were staring at him with a puzzled look on their face.

“As I woke up, I found myself in a completely different place. There was no jungle. I was not on the tree,” he stopped only take another gulp and continued, “Suddenly a man called me by my name.” “What is your name?” asked an innocent looking young boy hardly in his teens who had come to the market with his uncle. The woodcutter gave a sharp glance and continued, “Well I don’t know, everybody calls me ‘Woodda’; but this man was calling some name and I turned. He said I was summoned by the king. As I followed him I noticed the place was very beautiful, with gardens, springs and to my surprise I myself was dressed in a handsome robe and not my usual attire.”

“A king? Like Vikramaditya?” asked another little boy in shorts. Woodda thought for a while and said, ”Now that you mention his name, might be so. The king was sitting on a large throne and looked very kingly. He asked me who I was and what I was doing in his kingdom that was forbidden for strangers. I said I was myself wondering about the last part and told him the whole episode about the fruit that I had eaten. The king gave a hearty laugh and said, “Do you think you can make a fool out of me with this fruit story? How can anybody just drop into a place by eating a fruit and sleeping?” The King looked very angry but I had no answer to his legitimate question.”

Woodda finished his lunch, washed and sat with his hookah. His mates and their young associates were getting restless and asked, “Then what happened?” “Then a very funny thing happened. The king was very angry and said, ”This man must be a spy from another country and a very trained and learned one at that to have infiltrated our territory.” I had never felt so honoured and proud about myself in my entire life; only all that was being said was so not true that I also felt ashamed of being considered so great. The king continued, ”According to the peace pact we have with other nations no spy is supposed to enter the domain of another and the pact has been honoured for so many gazillion years that all punishments pertaining to such an offence have been forgotten.” I could not stop myself from laughing aloud at this but the king rather than getting further infuriated seemed pleased. He said, “We however do have a punishment for humiliating others and thus shall you be punished.” Later I came to know that more or less crime had been eliminated from that land and thus punishments were also a thing of a very distant past. My punishment for humiliating the court and the king was that I will not be allowed to stay at a place for more than six months. It was very funny for me but looking at the grave faces of the people at the court I thought it must be serious.”

Woodda looked at the mesmerised faces of his listeners and continued, “ I roamed the length and breadth of this strange land which I named fruit land as the real name was so difficult to pronounce that I gave up after the second try. I had finished touring only a part of it, so said the map, when one fine morning I was summoned again. The king looked very much at peace unlike our first meeting. He said, “We have decided that you are not a spy.” I giggled under my breath, they have decided. The king continued, “Since you are not a spy but have somehow entered our forbidden realm we present you with two choices. Either you can stay here forever and become one of us; for which you will be duly trained. The other option is to go back where you came from and though we cannot stop you from doing it, because we do not know how you did it, we will prefer if you don’t bring in more of your kind. It is rude to say do not come again but please come back alone only if you wish to stay here forever.”

“So what did you do?” Stayed back?” said an inquisitive mate. “But then how are you here?” he asked with a puzzled look.

“I had stayed in this strange land for what seemed like a decade but was never comfortable with the unanimity of the place,” said Woodda chuckling at the confused state of his mates. “To give you an example,” Woodda paused to look around and continued, “We see so many houses around the market, some small, some big, some freshly coloured, some in a dilapidated state but there, the houses were all so similar, they might look different from one another by design but the state was all the same. None was rich, none was poor. There was no money business. So you see there was no crime, no punishment, people just lived their lives and since I was not one of them I was kept out of the actual happenings of the place and was provided for everything. In a nutshell it was a boring and monotonous place although it might have been different after I became one of them.”

Woodda took a deep breath and said, “I decided to come back.” Everybody around gave out a loud sigh of disappointment. “Well! Look at the bright side, who would tell you the stories?” cried out an astonished Woodda. “But you could have stayed on and got their secrets and smuggled us in and think what a nice life we would all have” said an elderly fellow. “But they asked me not to do that,” Woodda said baffled. The elderly fellow zapped, “They have no punishments, what would they do if you didn’t listen to them.” The argument was getting heating when the little boy in shorts first mumbled and then screamed, “But how did you come back? If they could not find out how you went there in the first place then how did they send you back?”

“Ah! Now that is interesting and actually by chance I would say,” said Woodda, somewhat relieved to be out of the line of direct fire. He really didn’t think of the possibilities the elderly fellow was talking about. He just wanted to be back home in his familiar surroundings. Woodda continued, “I asked them how could they send me back if they didn’t know how I went there. The king said, “Our scientists have been studying you and have found the likely co-ordinates of your timeline. All we need to do is disintegrate you and send you across. However it is likely that a miniscule error might have happened in calculations and instead of your exact dwelling, as in your case, the tree and the time as stated by you when you fell asleep, it might be some other time and some other place where you find yourself again, like on one of the planets of your solar system, say Mars at a time when it was bustling with life. According to your perception we found there is no life on Mars.” I was too spellbound to say something and kept on looking at the king blankly just as all of you are looking at me now.”

Woodda looked satisfied with himself and also a little amused and said lightly, “It was just yesterday, that I came back and happy I am. I woke up on the forest path only to find that my donkeys have doubled and some boys were managing them. One of them was in fact quite surprised to see me and said, “Where did you come from Woodda? Were you not supposed to visit your relatives today?” It took me a while but then I said, I was coming back from the visit and thought would catch up with you guys. The boy smiled and went on with his work. I tactfully uncovered their names and all that had happened in my absence, which seemed like some 20 odd years. I seem to remember everything till that night and also all that happened in that ‘fruit land’ but can’t recall anything else.  I know I have lost so many years of my life, must be calculation error; but given the odds it is not much, I could well have found myself by the side of an erupting volcano on Venus or among some strange creatures in Mars. Also I find myself wealthier and though so many years have passed I do not feel old.”

“You look old though,” chirped in the teenager. “Also we haven’t missed you for a day. You saw me on the day I was born and also named me, so says mother,” said the little boy in shorts. “Is it now?” said Woodda and smiled. “Lots to catch up with I guess,” he said almost to himself.

The story camp started dispersing with loads of thoughts in the air, was this another stunning stories of Woodda, heard from the travellers and rephrased? Or did he make this up on his own? Whatever the case may be this was indeed an extraordinary story.

Woodda got up slowly as an old man would but he could feel the good old strength in his knees. He has been wondering whether the ‘fruit land’ king had send his forty year old self back to his naturally aging body but things were too complicated for him to comprehend and he gave up. Walking towards home he started brooding over the idea of trying to find that tree and the fruit again and go to his fruit-land or some other place, exploration of new lands is an addiction few can refrain from.



By Moutushi Ghoshdeysarkar

He just loved the little hamlet along the stream which came trickling down the hills that lined the skies. With little savings, Sharan had set out to find a place where he could spend some quality time. Peace he sought, and that is what he got, in this lonesome quite corner of the earth.

Walking around the little village he found a hut in a patch of land where the wind was caressing the plants. It was love at first sight. The hut was a little distance away from the hutment that seemed to house the dwellers of the beautiful place.

After some searching around Sharan met the owner of the hut he had chosen for himself and took it on rent for a month, with an assurance, that he would stay on if it suits his fancy.

Sharan had never felt better, everyday seemed like a dream, with only a little angst, that he was not able to get a domestic help of his choice. Many came from far and near villages but none made an impression on Sharan.

To begin with, he wanted a male servant and most of the aspirants were women. Then, he wanted someone who was both quick and efficient, but in such places where peace prevails, pace of life is relaxed and so are most people. Sharan was a very expeditious man.

Much ado about this trivial yet essential issue was created in the village but finally after 15 days Sharan and his village mates gave up the search and people were told that the position has been filled to avoid the frequent walk-ins.

Yet on the 16th day arrived an old man, from whence he came was not known, somewhere on the far side of the hills was his abode, he wished to serve and hence in front of Sharan he stood.

Sharan was sceptical about the capabilities of this old man but something made him agree to the employment.

A month went by and the old man proved to be very efficient. Sharan extended his stay, from another month to two more and more and more and soon he had lived in his hut with the old man for a year.

Sharan was surprised that the old man never took any leave, but he kept the wonder to himself, lest the old man starts getting ideas and was gone.

He planned to start a school and soon did. Slowly with his contacts in the so called civilized world, he started getting aids and the school was a success. Children and their parents were happy and Sharan would spend most of his time in the school.

The old man was not needed any more, yet Sharan liked him to be around and had no plans to let him go.

A young lady arrived at the school one day, she was very interested to work for the people and the children. She settled in soon and shouldered much of Sharan’s work.

One evening he invited her for tea and told her all about his old domestic help on the way. She listened intently and seemed very astounded. But at home, to Sharan’s surprise, the old man was not to be found.

The young lady offered to make tea but Sharan declined it. He came back with an aromatic tea in a jiffy. A friend from Darjeeling had sent him the second flush lately and this was exactly the occasion he had been saving it for.

Sharan was a little taken aback when the young lady expressed awe at his speed. He had noticed that from the very beginning she had been overtly polite and respectful, which was very agreeable considering his efforts for the school. Yet it felt a little over the top.

He wanted to walk the young lady home but she was more apprehensive about his safety and though embarrassing, her tone had so much warmth and concern that he could not carry on his insistence.

Late at night, the old man was back, he had just been to the market he told Sharan, and seemed a little annoyed at being questioned.

A year followed another and the hut had somehow become Sharan’s own. The owner had stopped collecting rent long back, as he and the whole village felt proud to have Sharan amongst them.

One afternoon the young lady who was had aged a bit since, yet not too much, came calling to Sharan’s hut. He was as punctual as the Sun and a no-show at the school was implausible.

She pushed hard on the door, having received no answer to her shout outs. Sharan was lying on his bed.

The lady rushed out to inform the villagers and all came running dropping whatever they were at. Sharan was lying peacefully as if deep in sleep. He looked so tranquil and heavenly in his white beard.

The doctor came after a while and confirmed the passing away.

After the cremation ceremony, people still lingered on and talked about him. He was a great man to them, who had come to their village one fine day like a boon.

Apart from that little bit of an eccentricity when Sharan solemnly declined any help offered by anybody, speaking of his domestic help, who was supposedly a very dexterous old man with a white beard and whom none had ever seen, the villagers never had anything to complain about him.

Ratified Murder

By Moutushi Ghoshdeysarkar

Chandri was contemplating murder. Killing comes naturally to some but for the majority of the human species its either very strenuous or a sin. Chandri was born after a visit to the slice of paradise called Kashmir, so her parents chose a kashmiri name for her which means moonshine.

It was around 1:30 at night when a faint but consistent scratching like sound woke Chandri up. She sat up looked around and after a visit to the washroom returned to bed having found none to associate the sound with. The scenario repeated itself at 3.30am and around 5 too.

Chandri is not a light sleeper but off late her sleep tends to get disturbed often with trivial sounds. The phenomena had started after her baby boy was born almost 11 yrs back. The boy has still remained a baby when it comes to sleeping and Chandri has ever since been jumpy and prone to check her baby every now and then for misplaced blankets or mosquito bites.

It was an obvious indication and the course of action was also too obvious for any scope of consideration. Yet Chandri was anxious and stressed out. She like the millions could not plan a kill.

The scratching event happened the night after too, keeping Chandri awake almost all night. She turned the whole house topsy-turvy, to find out and alleviate the cause of this irritating midnight sortie; to no avail of her primary mission, but a whole lot of junk cleaning job sitting on the to-do list for months, got done.

Chandri and her son were at their shared table, each on their own comp in the evening; suddenly a shadow passed and Chandri was chary. She kept looking from the corner of her eye and there it was. Once again Chandri ransacked the house and along with her son felt a pseudo relief of riddance from the burden of having blood on her hands.

There are several people but for whom the earth would have lost its variety of species, yet in everyday life the people Chandri met except for her mother, did not feel so strongly against killing, especially if it was a lesser living thing; as proclaimed by most people, of any other species than their own. Once at a party Chandri felt like ripping a man apart, as he was boisterously mentioning that the only interest he had about tigers was if one was on his plate.

Roy was an animal lover. He loved plants too though he could barely make out a Tamarind tree from that of a Mango. The only living things he had an aversion for were insects. It had always been a big bone of contention for Chandri and her husband Roy. He enjoyed drowning ants, smashing cockroaches, squishing beetles and valued his family’s pain caused by a bee sting than the bee’s life.

Ridiculous as it might seem to Roy, Chandri could have well replaced the nat geo guy who was happily feeding the vampire bat with his own blood in order to closely study them. But that is in thoughts, in reality when approached aggressively by monkeys she screams for Roy whether or not he is around.

Roy is her strength, her shield; her entire existence revolves around Roy and of course the little life who is so much a shadow of her own persona and better still. Chandri had been suffering sleepless nights, bearing the physical strain of unsettling and resettling the house and yet was jolly. She just wanted Jerry to leave; it would kill her to see it dead.

Next morning Chandri have had another sleepless night, Roy was concerned and as they were leaving for school, Chandri suddenly figured out that Ghishu had not packed his bag for the day. Voices were raised, the air was taut with anxious alacrity and then Roy said it, “You stop jumping after your mouse.” He has been proposing poison.

Chandri snivelled all through the morning walk session and barely heeded to Roy’s effort of reconciliation. She was contemplating murder. She planned to buy rodent poison for the nightly visitor and have some herself too; the later just an outrageous thought.

For the past couple of years, Chandri the ever happy person feels extreme frustration at times. She was academically bright and was a possessor of multifaceted talent none of which she could focus on and manifest into a career. She is easily distracted and loses her way half or even quarter way through.

Roy was by far the best thing that happened to her whimsical carefree soul and yet deep down she knew that had she not given up on her profession and had she not been dependent on him, not just emotionally but also economically she would have most likely drifted away from him causing the biggest blunder of her life and the ultimate harm to herself.

Having thus passed a melancholy morning because Roy, her best buddy was proposing the killing of an innocent creature Chandri came home and started jumping after the mouse again. About an hour’s effort failed to elicit any response from the little fellow. He seemed like a magician, an expert in the vanishing act. With a heavy heart, Chandri went to the shop and the keeper delighted her. She had forgotten all about it, a dear friend had suggested it not so long ago, the glue pad, only setting the rat free from it would definitely be a task. She had opted for a rat trap earlier so as to bring about least harm to the mouse. She took the pad this time and came back home prancing.

Chandri placed a banana nibbled by the rat on the floor all day long to evade the glue pad; she was ready to undergo yet another sweaty chase out session if her Jerry showed up. He didn’t for the better part of the day. Nevertheless, Chandri was upbeat that she had been able to rescind the ratified murder of the rat.


By Moutushi Ghoshdeysarkar

Dingy went to a bonfire with his parents. They had loads of fun and they came back home late in the night. Everybody had to quickly sleep off as the next day was the festival of colours- Holi.

All fresh and happy the next morning Dingy heard his mother speaking over phone to his grandma that they had a gala time on the eve of the festival Holi. Dingy was about to ask but then Lia rushed in along with Digi and Random, it was time to play with colours! Dingy was amply tired by the end of the day having played and making merry. He slept off. His query got lost in the routine of life and in a couple of days he forgot all about it.

Then one day there was a buzz about Santa coming to town and giving gifts to children on Christmas eve. Everyone at home and around were very excited, Dingy’s mom gave him clean socks to hang on Christmas Eve. Now the query came back. He stopped his mom in the hallway and asked loudly why we are hanging the socks tonight if Santa comes on Christmas Eve.

Mom dad and seemed like the pets and even the furniture laughed aloud. But mom was apologetic and said she would explain right away. “The Eve”, she said, “means the night or evening before the d-day or the actual day of the festival or event. So the day before Christmas or the day before Holi are called eve of Christmas or eve of Holi respectively.”

His query answered, Dingy a relieved boy shot off to hang his socks and sleep tight awaiting the beautiful gifts from Santa.

Fly Birdies

By Moutushi Ghoshdeysarkar

Dingy and his friends were stooped on a book when Lia rushed in with the big news, “Darling lost and found”, she screamed.

Everyone looked at him at once. Digi asked, “What happened? What are you screaming about?”

Lia took a deep breath and started, “You all know that I have two pet birds. One of them called Darling suddenly flew out of the balcony. Mom and dad searched high and low and had lost all hopes. Then a fine gentleman brought her back late in the night.”

Random said, “That’s great Lia, see we were just reading a book on how birds are able to fly?” Digi said excitedly,” Lia your bird could fly because she has strong and light bones.

This book says that the body temperature of a bird is constant at 40 degree centigrade. “Birds have wings covered with feathers, that help them take off, maintain balance and go in the direction they wish to”, added Dingy.

“Guys do you know that millions of years ago birds had front limbs, which turned into wings under a process called evolution”, chipped in Lia.

“Time to fly back home birdies”, called out Random. The group dispersed until next time.

How did Magnets get their name?

By Moutushi Ghoshdeysarkar

Dingy rushed into the room and nearly bumped with the table. Nobody noticed him as everybody was busy playing with MAGNETS.

“Guys!”, screamed Dingy, Lia, Digi and Random looked up startled. “What are you fellows up to?” asked Dingy. “We are experimenting with magnets, come join us”, said all three in unison.

“Okay, but have you guys ever thought how magnet got its name?” asked Dingy, as he settled amongst them.

Lia the jumpy know all fellow, always first to answer said “I know magnets are made from MAGNETITE.”

“And magnets attract objects made of magnetic materials like IRON, COBALT, NICKLE etc,”, added a sober no-nonsense Digi. “But no idea about how this amazing thing got its name”, remarked the clever Random.

“There is a rather interesting story”, said Dingy. “Story time”, all three shouted.

Dingy cleared his throat and started, “Once upon a time in ancient Greece around 800BCE, there was a shepherd called MAGNES. He used to carry a stick whose tip was made of iron and wear boots that had iron nails. One day as he was passing by a rock his stick got stuck to it. He went to take a closer look and stepped on the rock. His boots got stuck to it too. He then left his boot and sticks on the rock and ran to a wise man who lived in the town nearby to narrate his extraordinary find. This wise man was called the Thales of Miletus, regarded as one of the first Greek philosophers and scientists. More about him another day.”

“Well then magnet got its name from the shepherd MAGNES?” burst out an impatient Lia. “That is one possibility Lia. Alternately the name could have been derived from the region that it was discovered from, namely MAGNESIA”, explained Dingy.

“And was that rock a whole big magnet?” asked Random inquisitively. “Yes kind of, the rock was a natural magnet called Lodestone.”

“Wow, that was really interesting, now come Dingy hold this magnet next to mine and lets find out which of their poles are alike?” said Digi.”Yes ! Like poles repel each other!” exclaimed Digi.

It was getting dark outside and Dingy insisted that they pack up for the day. So Random, Digi, Lia and Dingy all left for home with a lovely story and wanting for more, until next time!

The Gho-team

By Moutushi Ghoshdeysarkar

The Gho Team

Several years ago there lived a ghost. Well let us say there used to be a ghost as ghosts are not supposed to live. He didn’t have a name but he had a lot of friends, all of whom were living. To begin with there was Barly the kid, Meril the lamb, Su the infant, Kit the fawn and Rig the boy. These were his core group of friends and then there were many more.

One fine afternoon the ghost came whooshing on to Rig and asked him to accompany. Rig ran along, hardly able to keep up with the ghost’s floating speed. They came to a clearing where a lot of people had gathered and Barly was pinned to the ground forcibly. He was bleating as hard as he could.

Rig and the ghost heard that Barly was to be sacrificed to bring on rains on a certain day. He was chosen because he was healthy and of the correct age to appease the rain god.

The ghost gathered most of his friends and they animatedly discussed how the silly sacrifice could be stopped. Since they were all too young it was impossible to win by force.

Thus they thought hard with their little brains and finally came up with a plan.

Rig didn’t go home that day, as a result people started looking for him. After searching in and around the village the people decided that he must have got lost in the forest. They arranged for a huge search party complete with torches and drums beaters, to keep away the wild animals.

Now it had been decided that all the ghost’s friends would run towards the old temple in the forest, on the west bank of the river as soon as they see the people and create such an impression that something was going on there. The people will follow out of curiosity.

 The search party did follow the animals and reached the temple. It was an old dilapidated structure with a deity that looked fierce and unforgiving. She was the forest goddess. People used to come to her once a year on a particular day with offerings so as to keep her happy. It was believed that she will protect the people of the village from the wild animals of the forest.

That day in the dark the goddess looked more fearsome than ever. The people were scared to their bones when they heard the booming voice of a lady which they were sure was of the deity.

This was actually Rig’s teacher who was speaking through a portion of a water pipe which had been altered a little to turn it into a mike that would make the voice loud and have the special effect of sounding divine.

The voice said, “I have taken one of yours as you were trying to take one of mine.  Though humans are my children too, they behave as if they are above all the living things and can decide upon inflicting cruelty on them as and when they deem suitable.”

The people gasped and looked at each other.

The voice continued, “You fools don’t understand that animals are a part of nature and since the Gods have created them just as they have created you, the sacrifice of a life can’t appease the Gods. The Gods would be happy if you live in harmony. Would you want your children to kill one another?”

Some of the people found a little courage and said, “But the rains have been evading us for months so we thought a sacrifice like the elder days might help.”

“You are supposed to learn as you progress in years. Knowledge is supposed to be passed from one generation to the other so that the quality of life improves. Instead you pass superstitions. May be by coincidence it so happened that by sacrifice some end was met by an elder generation of yours, but did you try to find out if it was conclusive?” said the angry voice.

“We should not question everything that the elders have said, that will lead to questioning the existence of God himself,” said a very scared individual that was Rig’s father.

The voice now a little mellowed said, “Well you should. Only by questioning and by being curious can a society prosper and cut out unnecessary conflicts. Humans have always tried to attribute everything to God and wash their hands off. Would you like to know how rain happens?”

The teacher didn’t want go into deeper discussion about God, as she was posing as one and if caught the whole plan would fail.

“I know,” chirped one of the younger fellows, “The water bodies like ocean, rivers and lakes get heated up due to the sun. The heat causes the water to form water vapour which rises up in the air. That is evaporation”

Another young adult said confidently, “Since the other gases in the air is heavier than the vapour it keeps rising up and then the air pressure decreases temperature drops. The water vapour turns into tiny liquid water droplets. That is condensation.”

“And then?” asked the teacher excited about her students being able to remember and explain the water cycle.

The young fellow who had started answering said, “The clouds we see are a large concentration of these droplets. Then since the droplets are heavier than the air they fall back on earth. That is precipitation.”

“Stupendous children! You can ask for any boon related to your school,” the teacher in the guise of the goddess said, quickly adding, “Since you are young school going children.” The teacher was scared at every point of being discovered.

“Can we have this Saturday off please mother goddess?” said one of the boys remembering the ‘kabaddi’ match they had planned after school.

“Okay I’ll try to put these thoughts across to the principal,” said the teacher gingerly.

“Thus dear humans as you can see rain is a result of evaporation, condensation and precipitation and has nothing to do with sacrificing innocent animals,” said the teacher’s booming voice. She continued, “Stop cutting trees, rather plant more of them. That is the only thing that can bring back the rains”.

The teacher gave the people some time to consider all that had been discussed and then said in conclusion, “You will get back your son tomorrow morning. No harm has been done to him. But remember the earth belongs to all its inhabitants. You are not superior in any way.”

The mass started to disburse slowly talking in hushed tones.

Rig was home next morning, his parents called their neighbours and everybody rejoiced. The people called off the sacrifice not only for then but forever.

Meanwhile the teacher convinced the principal to declare a holiday on Saturday and the kids played ‘kabaddi’ to their heart’s content thanking the forest mother goddess profusely.

Eventually people stopped cutting trees recklessly and tried to plant more as often as possible. Consequently and also because of suitable climatic conditions the rains came.

All this while Rig had been thinking, since everybody had a name, the ghost should also have a name and decided to give him one. He spoke to the others and they unanimously decided to call him Gho. They also named their team as the Gho-team.

The Gho-team became the guardians of nature, they made it their mission to stop any unnecessary killing or cutting or anything that would bring harm to nature.