FIRST READ THE BRIEF SYNOPSIS OF
CHILDREN OF THE ENCHANTED JUNGLE
Children and animals join forces to save their jungle
Orphaned children live happily around a mysterious
Power in an Indian jungle. Because of this power, they
can communicate with all their friends and neighbours
- animals, birds, reptiles and insects that inhabit
their jungle. And, at times, make themselves invisible.
The two main characters
are an Indian boy, Coolclear, and a blonde European
Time and the passing
seasons have no meaning for the children of the enchanted
jungle who never age beyond fourteen. The local people
believe the children are ghosts. Their wildlife friends,
all with their distinctive characters, include tigers,
elephants, monkeys, cobras, cheetal, bears, among many
An evil witch, Varang,
who has been searching for this mysterious Power to
capture it and rule the world, finally discovers where
it has hidden itself. But not exactly where in the jungle.
She enlists the help of a real estate developer to raze
the jungle, destroy all the wildlife and find the Power’s
The children learn
of her plans and, with the help of all the jungle’s
wildlife, fight her and her army to save their jungle
from destruction. It’s a bloody battle and they
eventually win it. At the same time they also outwit
Varang with the Power’s help.
But the Power, knowing
it to be only a temporary victory against man, takes
the jungle, the children and all the wildlife away to
another plane. All that remains in its place is a desert.
CHILDREN OF THE
A SPY WATCHES
Coolclear heard Latrommi whisper in his head, ‘Look
for a spy, someone who doesn’t belong among you.’
In turn, he whispered
the message to Stronston who passed the whisper on around
to the other children. They each looked at their neighbours.
Was it Perythala? Was it Saahoom? Was it the Karpoopoonai?
Was it the Baaloo? They looked innocently familiar,
they were not capable of such a betrayal, it wasn’t
in their nature. As Coolclear looked up at the birds,
a bird dropping missed him by a fraction.
‘Before we start,
I’d prefer the birds sat on the ground,’
Baayyy, who’d also dodged a dropping, said. ‘We’ll
all be splattered white and smelly before the meeting
comfortable where we are,’ Keee said for all the
birds. ‘And we will try to control our habits
but don’t take too long.’
‘We will sit
between those who are enemies,’ Coolclear announced.
In that way, the children could keep looking out for
the spy amongst them.
The clearing was circular
and the children scattered to sit between the tigers
and Poineer, between Karpoopoonai and Grunt, between
Snapsnap and Saahoom.
Just then they heard
a rush of hoof beats as someone crashed through the
undergrowth towards them. They all turned in the direction
of the sound. A long moment later, Gaaah, the gaur,
ran through the bushes and skidded to a halt. He was
a massive fellow, thrice the height of a child, with
a brownish black coat and a white patch on his forehead.
He was about the weight of a large boulder. He had powerful
shoulders and on his head were curved horns. Perythala
licked his lips, he’d never tasted buffalo in
his life and he imagined what a tasty meal the gaur
would make. Unfortunately, the gaur was too powerful
even for a tiger. They moved in a herd and should a
tiger think of attacking they would form a circle, their
horns pointing outwards towards the tiger. Perythala
turned away, sighing at such a missed pleasure.
‘Am I late? Is
the meeting over? What was decided?’ He spoke
quickly in a deep bass voice, still panting away.
just about to start,’ Coolclear said. ‘Is
there anyone else coming?’
‘I passed Loneorn.
He was moving very slowly and had lost his way. So I
told him to follow me but then he lost his way again.
He’ll get here eventually.’
and get him,’ Yellflo said, always wanting to
be helpful. She jumped up and ran in the direction Gaaah
had come. She knew rhinos were so near-sighted that
once they were lost they could remain that way for days,
and they were also forgetful, so probably Loneorn had
forgotten why he was moving in this direction.
‘Now you all
know why you are here,’ Saahoom continued, annoyed
to have been interrupted by late arrivals. Every animal,
bird and insect stayed silent to listen to him. He was
the oldest and wisest of them all. ‘There’s
a threat to us all from the man animals across the river.
We will lose our homes, we will lose our feeding grounds,
we will lose our freedom and we lose the right to live
our lives as we always have. We will all die, which
is what they want. None of us are afraid of death, this
is part of the natural order in our world. But to be
destroyed needlessly is not part of the natural order.
When they wipe out the jungle they wipe out all the
plants and herbs which cure us when we are not well.
There will no longer be any trees to rest under or fruit
to eat. The man animal will kill the trees, which have
harmed no one. They will also kill the water that we
drink and it then kills us, as if we are to blame for
what the man animal did to it. We all know they have
come before and stolen little pieces of us. We have
been killed before, one at a time, not to feed them,
which we understand, as that is how we all survive,
but for the beauty we possess. I do not know what they
do with my long teeth, I do not know what they do with
the coat of a tiger, I do not know what they do with
the skin of a snake. I do not know why we’re killed
for these things we possess. Lucky are those who don’t
possess anything that the man animal wants.’ Saahoom
paused. ‘The man animal believes he is superior
to us and that we, and everything in this jungle, are
not necessary for his own survival. His only superiority
to us is his ability to kill us from a long distance,
or so I believe. Otherwise, he shows no other superiority
though he believes he alone has the power of thought.’
THE WAR PLANS
It was the longest speech Saahoom had ever given. He
fell silent, believing he had spoken for them all. The
others remained silent too, nodding their heads, twitching
their tails, fluttering their feathers as their signs
‘So what do we
do then?’ Keee asked.
Perythala said, remembering how close he had been to
losing his mate.
going to fight them,’ Coolclear spoke for all
the children. ‘We too are a part of the jungle,
just like all of you. You are our neighbours and friends.
We too will die when this jungle is destroyed, because
we have no other home.’
‘But you can
go and live with the man animals in their crowded places,’
Chief Korung said. ‘They will accept you as one
‘No, they will
not,’ Redflogren said firmly. ‘They will
know we’re from the jungle and don’t know
their cunning ways. They won’t want us among them
as we’re strangers, and they will kill us. Even
if they don’t, how will we live in the Crowded
Place? They use something called ‘money’
which feeds them. We have a little of it, but in the
jungle, we don’t need a lot. Like you all, we
live off the jungle, we eat its fruits and vegetables,
we eat its herbs, we too heal ourselves with the plants,
we drink the same water and rest in the shade of the
‘Sooo, then how
do we fight? I’m not afraid of dying,’ Spottopunai,
the leopard, whispered from his place above their heads.
He lay on a thick branch, tail dangling, the spotted
sunlight on his coat making him almost invisible, and
when he spoke, Chief Korung and his nephew leapt up
to higher branches and screamed their fright. He had
crept in so quietly, so swiftly, that they hadn’t
‘None of us are
afraid,’ Perythala snapped, standing, bristling,
taking it as a personal insult to his bravery.
not argue amongst ourselves,’ Coolclear shouted
above the uproar of agreement. ‘Only by remaining
united can we win this fight. We will be helped too
by the power of Latrommi. It will guide us because its
enemy is out there too. First of all, I will be crossing
the river to attack their machines.’
go alone,’ Saahoom said. ‘One of us should
go with you too.’
‘My nephew here,
Kotung, will accompany you,’ Chief Korung prodded
his nephew forward. He was a sleek, silvery young monkey
with a dark face and beautiful long tail. ‘They’re
used to seeing us among them and won’t pay attention
my brother,’ Chief Roh the Rhesus monkey said
quickly, not wanting to be upstaged by Chief Korung’s
tribe. He was a powerful, brown-furred monkey, also
with many scars, and savage teeth.
‘Two will be
enough, but thank you,’ Coolclear said.
‘And I will come
along,’ Keee said. ‘I can keep watch from
the Crow said and looked across to see whether the stranger
crow would agree. But it remained silent, turning this
way and that, looking down, around, up and down.
‘I should be
with you too,’ Stronston whispered.
‘No, you and
the others must prepare for the fight here.’ He
paused. ‘Our first line of defence is the water
that flows around us. I will speak to BigBigsnout when
I see him. He and his people will attack those who try
to cross by boats. If any should survive the first attack,
and reach the jungle, then Hissspambu and his people
will be waiting for them. Big people are very afraid
of your people.’
‘We are even
more afraid of them than they of us,’ both snakes
replied. ‘They beat us to death or even while
we live and breathe they strip off our skins so as not
damage its beauty and we die in agony. They don’t
care how they hurt us, they never hear our screams of
fear and pain.’
all afraid of man,’ everyone chorused, filling
the air with their painful memories.
‘So are we,’
Coolclear spoke for the children, nodding their heads
vigorously. ‘We are of their species but we cannot
kill and destroy the way they do. Despite our fears
we must fight them or we’ll all die.’ He
returned to Hiss. ‘How many will be with you?’
counted,’ Hissspambu said crossly, ‘but
as many as we can get. There are probably as many of
our people as there are trees in this jungle.’
‘But we don’t
want to waste our precious juices on them,’ Yellowblackhisss
spoke in a silken whisper. ‘We need it to feed
‘Just use a little
to frighten them,’ he looked around. ‘Where’s
Skaa, has he come?’
Skaa said in a harsh tone, edging out of the grass.
He was a King Scorpion, the size of a man’s hand,
black as the night. His red-tipped tail wavered high
in the air behind him.
‘They are afraid
of your people too,’ Coolclear said. ‘So
you should be with Hissspambu just along this side of
the water. As they step into the jungle you all attack
Skaa said. ‘I don’t mind wasting my precious
juice if it’s going to protect the jungle, unlike
some other people I know.’
‘When I bite,
they die,’ Yellowblackhiss hissed, angry that
he should be insulted by a scorpion. ‘When you
bite they only feel pain …’
‘A terrible pain
…’ Skaa chuckled. ‘And it can kill
enough,’ Stronston scolded. ‘We children
will be with you and we will carry bows and arrows and
sling shots to attack the men. But there are not many
of us. Korung and all his tribes will attack them from
the branches up high.’ He turned to the old chief.
‘You must gather stones and store them up in the
trees and drop them on the men. The bigger the better,
let it be a thunderstorm of stones.’
‘What about us,
what about us, what about us?’ the chorus rose
from all sides—Snapsnap, Saahoom, Perythala, Spottopunai.
Growls, grunts, trumpeting, hisses, squeaks.
Coolclear held up his
hand, silence slowly settled. They waited. Coolclear
listened to the voice in his head before speaking. ‘We
know why we’re in this war, which is the most
important point of it and we’re fighting it together
and not alone. We also know the jungle, our home, its
ways, its mysteries, its strengths and dangers. They
know nothing of all this at all. And in a war, we must
have unexpected surprises. You Snapsnap and your tribe
can move swiftly, so you will roam and attack those
men who get through our first lines. Be quick, hit them
hard and then vanish. The same with Perythala, quick,
in and out, so you are not harmed. While the others
like Saahoom and his tribe use weapons, great branches,
to attack those who come even further in. Loneorn and
his tribe will be with you to gore those who escape
your attacks.’ He paused, listening again. ‘They
will return across the river but … and this is
important … they will return. They’ll want
us to believe we’ve won and we’ll disperse
so they’ll wait. We must wait too for the second
attack.’ He looked up the birds. ‘You are
our eyes and you must tell us every move they make so
we can be ready for any surprises. The jungle has protected
us all our lives, now we must protect the jungle with
There was a long silence
when Coolclear stopped. Each animal, serpent, insect
and bird mulled over his words.
‘What about us?’
Buuzzz the wasp asked in a buzzing voice.
‘You will attack
when they have just crossed the river,’ Coolclear
said. ‘While Hissspambu and Skaa are on the ground
you bring in every one of your tribe and sting them.’
Buuzzz said. ‘I thought you’d forgotten
The birds flew away
first, a great cloud of them darkening the sky, crows,
parrots, brilliantly plumed woodpeckers and kingfishers.
They wheeled high above and flew towards the river.
The animals slid back into the jungle. Just then Yellflo
entered the clearing, riding Loneorn. He had been lost
and it had taken her a long time to track him down.
Coolclear explained what the meeting had been about
and his role in the war and the rhino nodded his head
‘We will join
you in this battle, though there are not many of us
left,’ he spoke in gruff grunts. ‘We may
as well all die in this war than be killed one by one
only for the horn on our faces. They kill us, cut it
off and leave our bodies to rot away and be eaten by
the vultures and jackals. What do they do with this
very small piece of us, we wonder always?’ He
sighed heavily, thinking of his cousins and brothers
who had been killed by the man animal, then turned to
Yellflo. ‘You better show me the way home now.
I’m not used to traveling so far away. I’ll
gather my people and you can lead us to where we must
stand and fight.’
She gently took him
by his single, fierce horn, turned him around and pulled
him along behind her back into the jungle.
As the children returned
to the Glade, which was a few hundred metres away along
a winding path through the undergrowth, the black bird
with red eyes flew down to the ground and hopped along
behind them. They didn’t notice it following them.
Its hops were more like kangaroo hops, not as delicate
as a bird’s, but as if a tight spring triggered
Keee spread his great
wings and was about to fly away when it noticed the
black bird. He watched for a moment, as it followed
the children, whispering among themselves.
What a strange bird,
Keee thought. It can’t even walk properly.
Instead of flying up
to the blue sky, Keee glided down to the ground and
walked behind the hopping black bird.
Keee thought, is that it doesn’t even notice me
following it. Most birds are afraid of me and would
have flown away shrieking in fear.
Keee now loomed over
the black bird. The bird barely reached Keee’s
ankles and though his shadow fell across the bird, it
kept hopping after the children. It didn’t look
left or right either, and it didn’t make any sound.
Keee bent and pecked it gently on its back. It kept
hopping, not even noticing the touch from the curved
wicked beak. Keee tapped it harder. It stumbled at the
peck but kept hopping. It didn’t turn to see Keee
looming over it.
Keee, remembering the
message the children had passed around about a spy,
Keee grabbed the black bird by its neck with his beak.
‘Look at what
I’ve found,’ Keee said in a muffled voice,
his mouth full of the bird. It didn’t even struggle.
‘It was following you.’
The children turned
and stood in a circle around Keee and the still bird.
Coolclear touched it gently.
‘They are feathers,’
he said. ‘Very silky and very soft. And it has
strange eyes.’ He placed an ear against the body.
‘It’s inside beats but very slowly. It’s
see what it is,’ Keee said. He dropped it on the
ground. It struggled to stand but not for long. Keee
jumped on it with his claws and ripped it apart, tearing
away the covering and breaking into its body. If they
expected blood, they were disappointed. Inside was a
kind of machine they’d never seen before. One
of the children picked up a tiny, square, shiny object.
Coolclear took it, wondered what it was doing in the
bird and bit into the microchip to find out how it tasted.
He spat it out.