A boy was standing on the roof of his house, looking down at the valley below. His house was the last of a row of houses. Beyond it stretched a dark and menacing jungle. Although he had been living in the valley all his life, the boy had never stepped inside the jungle. He had heard that it was full of wild animals that ate up any human they came across.

He could see the forest from his window. At night he heard all sorts of noises coming from it — noises that penetrated the closed window and reached the boy’s frightened ears. He was scared of the jungle, and of all the creatures that roamed in it.

But that was at night. In the morning, the boy felt differently. Standing on the roof of his house, he surveyed the jungle majestically. All he could see were the tops of green trees and they were hardly scary. I could go there anytime, the boy thought to himself.

The Boy and the Wolf [Illustration by Sudheer Nath]
The Boy and the Wolf [Illustration by Sudheer Nath]

Suddenly, he caught sight of a gray wolf passing by right under his nose. He looked at it fearfully. Actually, it didn’t look that big, from where the boy was standing. It looked like the black dog that his neighbours had. He felt very brave knowing fully well that the wolf could not reach him.

“You ugly beast, how dare you come near my house? Get away or I will set my dogs on you,” he screamed.

“I was just passing by,” said the wolf in quiet tones. He knew he was in enemy territory and he didn’t want any trouble.

“Passing by, huh?” thundered the boy. “How dare you use my area as a thoroughfare, you evil animal? Get off right now,” and he waved a stick that was lying around.

“Curse away,” said the wolf to the boy. “It is easy to be brave from a safe distance.” And he growled so loud that the boy ran cowering inside.

337 words | 3 minutes
Readability: Grade 4 (9-10 year old children)
Based on Flesch–Kincaid readability scores

Filed under: folktales
Tags: #valley, #jungle

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