Dada and Dadi were very funny. They were good fun too. They loved everyone and always had a good thing to say for everyone they met. They could always make people laugh.

All, that is, except each other. Somehow, they just had to look at each other, and they’d start fighting. It was really silly how the two of them were forever snapping at each other. And since they spent lot’s of time together, their moods were becoming more and more sour. Soon they didn’t have a good thing to say about anyone. They made no one laugh anymore. In fact, they often ended up making people cry.

If The Tooth Be Told!... [Illustrations by Priya Nagarajan]
If The Tooth Be Told!… [Illustrations by Priya Nagarajan]

Oh dear, Dada and Dadi weren’t that much fun anymore. One day, Dada shouted at Shivi for having left his shoes under the dining table. Then Dadi shouted at Gogo for jumping on the sofa. Gogo went crying to Shivi and found him crying too.
“We must DO something!” said Gogo.

But WHAT? What are children supposed to do when grown-ups start behaving like badly brought up children? But Shivi and Gogo were very angry and they simply HAD TO DO SOMETHING!

That night Dada and Dadi fought and fought and fought. Over nothing. The whole house went to bed sad. Shivi and Gogo couldn’t sleep. They waited till everyone else was asleep. Then they stole quietly into Dada, Dadi’s room. Dadi was snoring and Dada was snoring and Dada was mumbling – still fighting in his sleep!

Shivi and Gogo looked around, trying to think of SOMETHING they could do. But nothing turned up. Then Shivi went into the bathroom. The moon shone on the shelf and Shivi saw two pairs of laughing teeth floating in two glasses of water.

“Gogo, look,” he said.
“It’s Dada Dadi’s teeth,” Said Gogo, “But how does that help us?”

“Isn’t it funny that the teeth seem to be laughing at each other now, but when they’re in Dada Dadi’s mouths, they have nothing nice to say to each other at all?”

Then Gogo had an idea. He dipped his fingers into one glass and fished out the set of teeth. Then he fished out the other set of teeth. And do you know what he did? He plopped the teeth into the wrong glasses! So now Dada’s teeth laughed silently in Dadi’s glass while Dadi’s smiled happily in Dada’s. Shivi and Gogo weren’t sure how any of this was going to help, but they sniggered their way out of the room and jumped into bed.

Next morning, Dada awoke first. He was grumbling already. He said that he hadn’t slept a wink because of Dadi’s snoring and that his throat hurt and it was all HER fault. Dadi immediately sat up and grumbled back at him, saying that his throat hurt because he had grumbled all night and kept her awake, so it was all HIS fault. Dada went to the bathroom. He washed his face and then he put on his teeth. Only, you know, of course, that they weren’t HIS teeth but HERS! Then Dadi washed her face and put on her teeth. Only, of course, they weren’t HER teeth but HIS. They came out of the bathroom.

“Good morning, dear, can I get you some nice hot tea to soothe your sore throat?” said Dadi.

“Don’t botherji, you rest. I’m sorry I kept you awake all night. You rest now, let ME bring you some tea.!”

Dada came out singing. He patted the dog instead of kicking him aside. He made a big pot of tulsi tea and whistled his way back to the room. Dadi leapt out of bed and hugged Dada and lightly skipped to the kitchen to fetch Dada’s favourite biscuits.

Gogo and Shivi crept out of their room. They peeped into Dada Dadi’s room. They found them sitting on their beds, laughing, joking and sipping tulsi tea. Their old Dada and Dadi were back. Laughing, joking and being NICE instead of NASTY.

Shivi and Gogo winked at each other. They knew the TOOTH about the change. If the TOOTH be told, they were glad.

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

Filed under: stories
Tags: #tulsi, #throat, #teeth, #glass, #sleep, #glasses

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