On this day :
1812 War of 1812 begins, 1778 British abandon Philadelphia, 1923 Checker Cab produces first taxi at Kalamazoo factory, 1864 Union hero Joshua Chamberlain is wounded at Petersburg, 1979 Carter and Brezhnev sign the SALTII treaty, 1984 A radio host is gunned down for his controversial views, 1972 Mysterious crash at Heathrow, 1815 Napoleon defeated at Waterloo, 1983 First American woman in space, 1942 Film critic Roger Ebert born, 1937 Novelist Gail Godwin is born, 1967 The Monterey Pop Festival reaches its climax, 1847 Alexander Murray departs for the Yukon, 1798 Adams passes first of Alien and Sedition Acts, 1960 Arnold Palmer wins US Open, 1965 SAC B52s are used for the first time in South Vietnam, 1966 Westmoreland requests more troops, 1915 French troops halt fighting in Artois region, 1940 Hitler and Mussolini meet in Munich,

Stories

Communication

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One Sunday I was relaxing in my study, when my mother arrived to tell me some news.

“You know the zoo nearby? Remember they imported a lion recently. Well, it so happens that the lion has escaped. I told you because you should take extra caution when walking to school.”

I thanked my mother for the information and promised to stay safe.

The next day, near afternoon, when the school was just about to end, the Principal made an announcement, saying that the school would close immediately due to the danger of the lion. Children cheered and some sneered at the teacher, whose sermon was interrupted. They all picked up their bags and left for the day.

I had some work and so stayed back. I was working on a project about the way we communicate with animals. I was not making any headway and so finally I left at quarter past two.

The school ground was deserted. Besides a few watchmen, there was no person in sight. The thought occurred to me that such a place, isolated of humans, was perfect for a runaway lion to hide.

No sooner had I stepped out of the building, than I saw a sight that froze me in my tracks.

Its feet were strong and muscular, and they moved majestically and slowly. The claws were out in a cautious manner. Its face was grim and covered with bushy hair and the dominating aura, all that belonged to the lion.

Its nose twitched, and it turned its head my way. I stared in shock in those brown eyes. It stared in mine. The scene was silent. I was too dumbstruck to make a move, and the lion was too wise to.

It walked up to me. I felt like a tombstone in a graveyard. Then my ears started working. The lion was whimpering. It was surely scared of being caught. Seeing it scared, I felt confident. I raised my hand to pet it. It did not oppose me. I thought of feeding him left-over food from my tiffin. Suddenly I felt delighted at the fact that I was a non-vegetarian. At least I could please a lion, if not people around me.

As he ate from my hand, I realised that one does not need advanced technology or exquisite skills to communicate with animals. All you need to do is feel. The lion communicated its fear to me and I communicated to it assurance and comfort.

He had developed a trust in me and I decided to do something about that. Long ago, I had discovered a secret entrance to a sanctuary behind my school. I put that knowledge to use finally. I led the lion to the secret entrance, and let him go. He must have felt grateful.

The next day newspapers declared that the lion was missing, but since it was far away from civilisation, it posed no threat. I happily read the article and rushed away for another day at school.

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