Cheeku was a naughty rabbit. He lived in Champakvan. He played the whole day. He spent the day eating juicy, red carrots. He had become round and chubby. Whenever Baddy the fox saw him, he felt tempted to eat Cheeku.
However, Cheeku knew that Baddy wanted to eat him. Therefore, he stayed away from him. Cheeku spent most of his time hiding in the bushes or playing.
One day, Cheeku was sitting near a mucky pond. He was happily enjoying carrots when he saw Baddy coming towards him. He did not have enough time to escape. So he thought of an alternate plan.
He entered the mucky pond. He covered himself with muck. He applied dirt to his entire body and face. His entire body, except his eyes, was muddy. He looked like a brown lump with red eyes. Instead of running away, he sat in a corner of the mucky pond.
Just then Baddy arrived. He felt that Cheeku was around. He searched for Cheeku in the bushes. However he couldn’t find him. He did not have the slightest idea that Cheeku was hiding in the pond.
Cheeku thought that Baddy would go away as he had not found him in the bushes. However, Baddy came towards the pond. He was thirsty. He wanted to quench his thirst. Cheeku got scared knowing that if Baddy found him, he would definitely kill him.
Cheeku was a smart fellow. He never gave up easily. He started thinking about what he should do next.
He shouted at Baddy, “You strange animal! Who are you? How dare you come near my pond to drink water? Don’t you know who I am?”
Baddy gazed around. He realised that the sound was coming from a small creature that was half sunk inside the pond. Its eyes were a dangerous red in color. He was stunned to see such a weird creature talking to him.
No one had ever spoken to him in such a manner.
Baddy replied in a nervous tone, “Sir, I have come to drink water from this pond. I was totally unaware that you own this pond. I have never seen you before. May I please drink water from your pond?”
“No,” said Cheeku. He added, “You can drink water from my pond on one condition.”
Baddy was very thirsty. He couldn’t wait to go elsewhere to drink water. He said, “What is the condition, Sir?”
Cheeku said, “I don’t know who you are, but let me introduce myself. I am the King of Muck.”
Baddy became nervous when he heard the word ‘King’. He had seen the Lion who is the king of the jungle. However, he had never heard of the King of Muck. He was surprised to meet another king. He thought that a Lion staying in muck is known as the King of Muck’.
Baddy was deep in thought.
Suddenly Cheeku shouted, “Listen to me carefully. I ate a big fat rabbit a while ago. However, I am not satisfied with it. I did not like its taste.”
Baddy was now very frightened. He was sure that this king had eaten Cheeku since he was around a while ago. He was surprised that he did not like the taste of a rabbit.
He said, “Sir. Rabbits are very tasty. How come you did not like its taste?”
Cheeku replied, “My brother, who stays in the jungle, had come to meet me yesterday. He brought a few pieces of fox’s meat for me. That meat was so delicious. After eating that meat, I don’t like any other type of flesh.”
Hearing this, a chill ran down Baddy’s spine. He started shivering in fear. He thought that if the King of Muck realised that he was a Fox, then he would get killed. He started thinking of ways to escape from there.
“I want to eat a fox,” said Cheeku. “There might be foxes in this forest. You have to get me and my friends a few foxes. I want to treat my friends. They will arrive in a couple of minutes. You can drink water from my pond only after you get me some foxes.”
By now, Baddy was sweating and trembling. He thought that if the king’s friends came to the pond they might recognise him. Then, they would tear him apart and feast on him. He realised that it was thus best to run away from the pond at the earliest.
Baddy said, “Sir, there are a lot of foxes in this jungle. I shall quickly go and fetch a few for you and your friends. I will be right back with some delicious food for you.”
He began to walk away.
Cheeku said, “I am not in a hurry at all. Tell me your name before you leave.” Baddy replied, “I do not have that much time, Sir. First, let me get some foxes for you. Then, I will sit and chat with you.” Baddy ran away never to return. Cheeku laughed at Baddy’s foolishness. He walked to the nearest river. He washed his body and removed all the muck and dirt.
Cheeku now breathed a sigh of relief. He felt proud of his intellect as it helped him get to rid of Baddy.