A Free Bird
"You're eight years old now! You're not a baby any longer! Why can't you answer when you're asked a question?" And so his mother would thunder away like an angry, rumbling monsoon cloud, while his older brother would chant teasingly, "Shy baby! Shy baby!"
Somu spoke only when he simply had to speak. In school, he preferred to sit at the far end of the classroom so the teacher might not spot him. More often than not when he was asked a question he would pretend he was sick and wriggle his way out of answering. The teachers had grown tired of his shyness and usually left him alone. His family grew tired of his shyness and left him alone. Everybody left Somu alone and he became a very lonely little boy.
So, as you can see, life was difficult for Somu. His family didn't understand the reason for this great shyness and, in fact, nor did Somu.
Every night as he lay in bed he prayed that he should be able to overcome this terrible shyness and every morning when he awoke he discovered that he was still the same old shy Somu. He wished he could be more like his brother, Hari, who was full of life and chattered away all day long like a monkey. Everyone liked Hari but everyone left Somu alone.
One day, as Somu and Hari were returning from school, Somu decided to take the longer way through the woods and he split away from Hari and his friends. Hari who, as usual, was busy chatting never noticed that Somu was not with them any longer.
The woods became thicker and the sun went into hiding behind the heavy curtain of leaves. Somu liked this part of the woods. It was always quiet and cool here with nobody around to bother him. He put his school bag down and sat in the shade of a cluster of high Eucalyptus trees.
A Free Bird [Stories for kids]
By Amrita Chak; Illustrations by Kusum Chamoli
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