Two friends, Hemant and Vikas, planned to go hiking in the woods. They packed their knapsacks, lugged them over their shoulders and started out.

One evening, while walking through the dense forest, they heard a bear growl. They were very scared and started to run away, but “Twick, twick”, they could hear the twigs breaking with each step the bear took towards them.

Desperate, Hemant saw a low branch hanging from a tree. He quickly caught hold of the life-saving branch and climbed on top of the tree as soon as possible. He was so scared that he did not even look at his friend once.

The Friends [Illustration by Shinod AP]
The Friends [Illustration by Shinod AP]

Vikas, who was behind the first, was not so lucky. The bear was right behind him and when he saw Hemant save himself, all he could think of doing was to was to throw himself flat on the ground.

And that’s how the bear found him. Face down on the ground and not even daring to breathe. The bear put his nose close to Vikas’ ear – and then he sniffed and sniffed and sniffed. He was trying to make out whether Vikas was just pretending or if he was dead.

Then finally he stopped sniffing. Vikas dared to take small breath. Then the bear growled, and Vikas’ blood ran cold.

But by then the bear had decided that Vikas was not alive and it is well-known that bears will not touch dead meat. So the bear slouched off into the forest.

Seeing that the worst of the danger was over, Hemant slowly climbed down the tree where he was hiding. Walking up to Vikas, who was still so shaken up that he could hardly stand, Hemant he laughingly asked, “Hey, what did Master Bear whisper to you?”

Vikas gave Hemant a long steady look. “He told me,” said Vikas very slowly, “never to trust a friend who deserts you at the first opportunity he gets. So, if you’ll excuse me…” Saying that, Vikas picked himself up, brushed off the dust, and walked away.

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

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