Out in the lush, green garden Binnu chased the multi-coloured butterflies which flitted from flower to flower.

Plants take root easily during the monsoon and with plenty of water to nourish them, new sprouts appear.

The Rainbow
The Rainbow [Translated by:Mala Singh]
Suddenly there was a flash of lightening.

Soon, the sky was completely overcast and it begun to rain.
Binnu and his mother sheltered in the verandah and watched the rain.

The rain stopped after a while and the sun peeped out from behind the clouds.

Binnu ran into the garden again. He caught his breath when he looked at the sky. A lovely multi-coloured arc extended right across the blue expanse.

 

“When the sun’s rays shine on the falling drops of rain, a rainbow is formed.”

“Mother, tell me the story of the rainbow,” begged Binnu.

“Well, in King Indra’s court there were seven naughty children who were always quarrelling and fighting.”

“One day an argument arose over who was the greatest among them.”

“The red child said,

‘How can it be

Anyone but me?

Watermelons, pomegranates, apples,

tomatoes

All have red, you see.’

“Spoke the orange child,

‘Oranges, carrots or grain

They are all the same

Their colour to me they owe

All over the world they glow.

“The yellow child piped up,

‘It is said

So far has my fame spread

Guavas or bananas, sunflower or rose
In all of them its yellow that shows.’

“Now it was the turn of the green child,
‘Wherever there is green

I can be seen
On unripe mangoes and tamarind is my seat

My fame proclaimed by the parakeet.’

“Then spoke the blue child,
‘Lift your eyes to the sky
And you’ll know why
None is greater than I.’

“But the indigo child interrupted,

‘Have you seen the peacock dance?

Or the flowing stream?

The water-lily indigo blue v

The lake itself takes my hue.’

“Now it was the turn of the voilet,

‘Be it jamun, grape or aubergine

I give them life

On their bodies am I seen.’

“The children were quarreling when Indra arrived on the scene. ‘Why are you squabbling?’ he asked. ‘You know good children don’t quarrel.’

“They stopped squabbling.

“They told God Indra the cause of the squabble and asked, ‘You tell us who is the best among us?’

“Indra laughed. ‘There is little to choose between you. If you play happily together you will appear even lovelier.

It is when you are together that you form a rainbow. No one can divide you.’

Whenever the seven children appear together a rainbow is formed – red on top,violet at the bottom; always in direction opposite the sun. In the early afternoon, when the sun is high the rainbow is never visible.

Sometimes one can also see a second bow – a double rainbow. In this the colours are in reverse, that is, red at the bottom, violet on the top.

Peacocks dance and everyone is happy. It is as though seven lovable children are frolicking – sometimes red leading, at others, violet.

By Usha Joshi; Translated by:Mala Singh; Illustrations by Manjula Padmanabhan; Published by National Book Trust, India