Boomba was the lion king’s son. He had a bright yellow coat and his mother often told him lovingly, “Boomba, you look like a ball of wool!” His parents were very proud of him and knew that one day he would grow up to be the handsomest lion around.But Boomba was not happy with his looks. At times he secretly desired a beautiful tail like the peacock’s or wings like the butterfly’s. All his friends were tired of him, because in the middle of a game he would always stop and ask, “How do I look?".

Boomba – The Lion Kid [Illustrations by Amarjeet Malik]
Boomba – The Lion Kid [Illustrations by Amarjeet Malik]

One day his friends decided to play a little trick on him. They were playing a game of hide and seek. Boomba and Mithu, the parrot, were hiding in a bush when Boomba stood up and spread his arms, and asked, “Tell me Mithu, do you think I am good looking?”

“Oh! Shut up, Boomba! And get inside the bush, or else you’ll be caught”. Then quickly Mithu added, “Ask kalpataru to make your colour green. You will look much better, and then you can also hide in the bushes properly”.

“How true Mithu is!” Boomba thought. So off he went to kalpataru, the magic tree, and said, “I want to look beautiful. Please make me green like Mithu”. As he uttered the words, Boomba looked down at his feet. They were green! And so was the rest of his body. He raced to the riverside to see his reflection. Ah! There he was! And how nice he looked! He even had a red ring around his neck.

Boomba felt very excited. He wanted to show off his ‘new’ self to his friends. “Buzz, buzz”, he heard as he walked along the grassy path. Boomba looked around and saw Chutki, the fly.

“Oh Chutki! How am I looking in this new green coat?” he asked eagerly with a broad smile. “Boomba, how can you be so silly?” asked Chutki, looking very surprised. “Look at me. I am small, but I can do so many things that you can’t.” And Chutki fluttered her delicate wings. “I can fly over people’s heads and watch them secretly. I can sit on the tenderest flower and curl up on its soft yellow bed. I can lie under a leaf and keep myself dry when its raining. I can—” Chutki stopped and looked at Boomba. Boomba was buried in deep thought. “You are right, Chutki” he murmered.“Small is beautiful.” He slowly turned and began to walk toward the magic tree again. “I’ll do something about it!” he yelled back. Chutki grinned mischievously. “Best of luck, Boomba!” she called out loudly and flew to tell the others.

Boomba stood before kalpataru again. “I want to be small, and have wings too!” cried Boomba. “Make me like Chutki”. The next moment everything around him seemed so large! Boomba had become tiny! He sat on a pebble which seemed like a huge rock. And he had those shiny wings too! Oooh! Boomba spread his wings and flew and flew and flew.

Soon Boomba spotted Shakti, the elephant. “Buzz, buzz”, Boomba landed on Shakti’s long nose. “See how I fly!” Boomba smiled and looked into Shakti’s big brown eyes.“Bah!” snorted Shakti. Why do you want to be small? Be BIG — like ME!” Shakti lifted her trunk and trumpeted so loudly that it almost deafened Boomba.

Poor Boomba! Back he went to kalpataru. And this time he became big, really BIG! He was like a lion with the shape and size of an elephant. But Boomba began to feel a bit awkward too. He wanted to see himself before anyone else saw him. So hiding himself among the trees, he walked towards the riverbank, his large ears and tail hanging.

Boomba sat there for almost two hours, thinking about himself. By now he was tired of changing so often. He watched the little waves and the fish swimming happily in and out of them. “I wish I could be like them… Yes!” thought Boomba. “I’ll try once more”. Soon Boomba was in the waters among the fish. He enjoyed the cool waves for sometime. But after a little while he began to miss the land and his friends. Boomba felt very unhappy and angry with himself. He felt like being a lion cub again!

Just then he looked up. All his friends were at the river bank watching him. Boomba was filled with shame! “Don’t worry, Boomba!” they all shouted. “Come out and be your own self again” Chutki flew near him and buzzed as loudly as she could.

And so Boomba was Boomba again! Mithu, perched on his back, said, “Every creature looks beautiful in its own colour and shape. You should not try to change that.” " I think you look very good just the way you are”, added Shakti, giving him a pat with his trunk. From that day, Boomba never worried about his looks.

834 words | 8 minutes
Readability: Grade 3 (8-9 year old children)
Based on Flesch–Kincaid readability scores

Filed under: stories
Tags: #wings, #trunk, #magic

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