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A Story for Children
by Lakshmi Menon

Long ago, in a tiny village in Kerala, there was an old school.  Shanku Master was the Principal of the school.  He also taught Mathematics for the sixth standard children. 

He used to give personal attention to each and every student. Every one adored him and enjoyed sitting in his class. But Kumar was an exception.  He disliked the Master and his subject.  In the class, he used to draw funny pictures of the Master and show to his friends to make them laugh with him.  Many times Shanku Master had tried to advise him, explaining the importance of studies for his future, but Kumar ignored them completely and continued to tease him.

Surprisingly, every day he managed to come to the class with his answers done well. The Master wondered how it was possible. He knew that Kumar’s parents were not educated enough to help him with homework. 

The Master also came to know that Kumar was not attending any special tuition class either. 

One day Raghu, another student, told the Master that Kumar was bullying him to do his home work for him.  After Raghu completed his own home work Kumar collected his book and copied the same into his book!  Kumar, a repeater in the class, had a well built body and used to bully others whereas Raghu was a small boy.  He was afraid of Kumar harassing him in the bus on the way home and his father was also working for Kumar’s father. So without complaining, he had agreed to help him. 

This made Shanku Master very upset. He decided to test his lazy student. “Did you do this sum on your own, Kumar?” Please tell me the truth.”

“Yes, Sir, I always do it myself”, said Kumar without any hesitation.

Shanku Master couldn’t believe him. He knew very well that his student was lying, and he was not even feeling guilty for doing it.  He wanted to correct his student before it was too late. 

He called Kumar and gave him a similar type of sum to do on the board.  Kumar never expected this!  Reluctantly, he came to the platform and took a chalk piece to write on the board.  He hesitated to do it, but the Master encouraged him gently. 

Kumar stood there holding the chalk in his trembling hand, unable to do the sum. He knew the other students were watching him anxiously. Shanku Master kept on encouraging him gently.  Finally, he was forced to confess that he could not do it. 

The whole class of students laughed at him and he went back to his seat feeling terrible.  His head was bowed with shame. 

Shanku Master gently walked to his student. 

 “Kumar, you should never copy from another student.  After the school is over, if you wish to stay back for an hour every day, I’ll take extra class for you.  You’ve to learn your own lessons and for the final examination,  nobody will be there to help you. Please remember that,” said the Master affectionately, patting him on his back. 

To be concluded in Part II.