‘My train is old and shabby. Your brand new one is awesome, Mahesh. I wish I could get a new one too.’ Gautham and Mahesh were playing in Gautham’s house. Mahesh told him, ‘your parents will get one if your old train is broken. I got mine the same way.’
‘But mine is not broken.’ Crash! Mahesh dropped the train and its wheels came off and so did one of the coaches. As Gautham looked on in shock, his mother came running in to find out what had caused the noise.
‘Oh it is your train Gautham. How did it break?’
‘It was the monkey aunty. There is one roaming around in the neighbourhood,’ said Mahesh without a qualm.
‘I did hear about the monkey. But how did it come in and run out so fast? Mummy was puzzled.
‘It was already in the room aunty, holding the train. It dropped it and ran out as soon as it saw us.’
Mahesh continued his story telling and Gautham looked dazed.
‘I will have to keep all windows and doors shut. But I am glad that the monkey did not harm you boys’ said mummy.
Gautham was uncomfortable about the stories. But he was glad he was not scolded and was hopeful of getting a new train. His daddy did get him one, but to Gautham’s astonishment, he did not feel excited about it, he only felt guilty.
The next day, when he returned from school, he found all his board games and most of his toys gone. He ran to mummy. She said, ‘Oh I put them away as I did not want the monkey getting at them.’
Downcast, Gautham went back to his room, unhappy on seeing his empty shelves. To make matters worse, it began to rain the next day which was a holiday and he could not even go out to play. His neighbour and friend, Harish, came to play chess with him which Gautham loved and enjoyed.
Gautham desperately wanted to come clean. He was constantly feeling guilty too. He went to his mother and told her the truth. His mother hugged him and said, ‘I knew from your expression that Mahesh was building one story after another. But I wanted you to realize that one untruth will lead to another and also bring unnecessary trouble. Honesty is always the best policy.’
‘Yes, it is mummy’, Gautham hugged her back as she handed the chess set she had kept in the loft along with his other stuff. Gautham ran to play with a light heart and a happy smile on his face.