Chapter 8




Binya was in the forest glade [opening] where she had first seen the umbrella. No one came there for picnics during the monsoon. The grass was always wet and the pine needles were slippery underfoot. The tall trees shut out the light, and poisonous looking mushrooms, orange and purple, sprang up everywhere. However, it was a good place for porcupines, who seemed to like the mushrooms; and Binya was searching for porcupine quills.

     The hill people didn’t think much of porcupine quills, but far away in southern India the quills were valued as charms and sold at a rupee each. So Ram Bharosa paid a tenth of a rupee [such a little bit!] for each quill brought to him, and he in turn sold the quills at a profit to a trader from the plains.

     Binya had already found five quills, and she knew there would be more in the long grass. For once, she put her umbrella down. She had to put it down if she was to search the ground well.

     It was Rajaram’s chance.

     He had been following Binya for some time, hiding himself behind trees and rocks, creeping closer [moving forward, low to the ground] whenever she became absorbed in [concentrating on] her search. He was anxious [worried] that she should not see him and be able to recognize him later. He waited until Binya had wandered [walked off] some distance from the umbrella. Then, running quickly forward, he seized [took] the open umbrella and dashed [ran quickly] off with it.




     But Rajaram had very big feet. Binya heard his heavy footsteps and turned just in time to see him as he disappeared between the trees. She cried out, dropped the porcupine quills, and ran after him.  Binya was swift and sure-footed, but Rajaram had a long stride [how far forward your feet go when you take a step or run]. All the same, he made the mistake of running downhill. A long-legged person is much faster going up hill than downhill. Binya reached the edge of the forest glade in time to see the thief scrambling [when you walk or run with difficulty] down the path to the stream. He had closed the umbrella so that it would not hinder [slow up] his flight [his running away].

      Binya was beginning to gain on [get closer to] the boy. He kept to the path, while she leapt down the hillside. Near the bottom of the hill the path began to straighten out, and it was here that the long-legged boy began to get ahead of her again.

     Bijju was coming home from another direction. He had a bundle [armful] of sticks which he had collected for the kitchen fire. As he reached the path, he saw Binya rushing down the hill as though all the mountain spirits in Garhwal were after her.

     “What’s wrong?” he called.  “Why are you running?”

     Binya paused only to point at the fleeing Rajaram.

     “My umbrella!” she cried. “He has stolen it!”

     Bijju dropped his bundle of sticks and ran after his sister. When he reached her side he said, “I’ll catch him!” 


 < Chapter 7  |  Chapter 9 >

 ©InterestEng. July 2013 - April 2022 §  The stories in the magazine portion of the site are written by English language learners. Stories are corrected by a native English speaker.  § Photos are staff photos or used with permission.  §  To contact us: