Lali Finds a Friend
Lali was a happy go lucky girl who was helpful and kind to everyone in the village. Her father was the village potter and her mother used to paint pottery beautifully. Lali used to help them both and also study at the village temple. In the kingdom of Vijaynagar, their small family lived happily.
“Mother, I am going to the lake to get water,” said Lali.
“Be careful Lali, a herd of elephants was spotted by Kalu Ram yesterday near the lake.”
“Yes mother,” she replied and off she went with a song on her lips and gleaming eyes.
As she approached the lake, she heard wailing sounds which sounded like an animal in pain. Instead of getting scared Lali got curious and moved through the bushes to take a closer look. Near the lake she saw a baby elephant. It looked tired and hungry.
“Oh my God! It probably has strayed from its herd. I should warn the villagers!” said Lali to herself.
As she turned around to get help she realized that the villagers would capture the elephant instead. She decided to be brave and help the baby elephant herself.
She ran back to her house and got a bunch of bananas her father had got for them.
“Where are you taking all the bananas and where is the water?” asked her mother.
“I met Bholu on the way and he hasn’t had anything to eat since morning. I will give these to him and get the water after that,” she told her mother.
Bholu was the village beggar and Lali’s family was kind to him and used to give him food.
“Very well,” said her mother.
She ran back to the forest, near the lake only to find the elephant still there looking for food. Bravely she moved forward and patted the elephant on its trunk. The elephant realized that Lali was trying to help and responded. Lali placed the bunch of bananas in front of the elephant and he devoured it happily. When the elephant had eaten to his heart’s content he raised his trunk and touched Lali’s hand.
“Aww.. You are so cute! Will you be my friend?” asked Lali.
The elephant nodded as though it understood what Lali has asked.
“I will call you Appu. My name is Lali. We will meet by the lake every day,” she told him.
She used to meet her new found friend every day and feed him bananas. She didn’t tell anyone about Appu because she knew that she would be advised against befriending a wild animal.
One day, while coming back from the lake, Lali fell in a ditch which was probably dug by poachers for trapping animals. Her pot of water broke and she got hurt. She cried for help but she was far away from the village.
“Appu! Appu!” she screamed, hoping that her friend would hear here.
She heard trumpeting at a distance and her heart became joyous. “In here! I am here,” she said.
Appu saw his friend inside the ditch and broke a strong trunk of a tree. He then dropped it down and gestured Lali to hold it. Lali held the trunk tightly and Appu pulled her out. He then picked her and placed her on his back and carried her near the village.
“Thank you my friend! I must tell Baba to cover the ditch dug by poachers. Animals will fall in and get hurt. He cares for animals and doesn’t like that we kill animals for profit,” she told him.
Her father and Lali covered the ditch, but Lali knew her friend would always be in danger from the villagers. She kept the friendship a secret from her family and knew that the friendship would thrive with time.
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