“They gave up!” Anushka was scared now.
The storyteller scolded her, “You really need to learn how to sit still, child. You cannot hurry everything like this.” Anushka promised to stay quiet.
Grandmother began again, “The sisters started crying again so your grandfather could not bring them back for lunch. Then your mother had an idea.
“Baba, let’s go look near the bazaar. Maybe Boo went back to his original home,” she thought aloud.
“So, the three of them walked toward the local bazaar, drenched in sweat, hungry, but
determined to find Boo.”
“Just when they were nearing the bazaar, Moo shrieked joyfully. They were standing in front of a mother dog with her recently born puppies. The mother dog was taking turns to lick her paws and then lick her children. There were four puppies – all the same shade of brown as Boo. They were the same age as well. Your grandfather leaned down to pet them. The mother dog sniffed him with curiosity, moving her nostrils all over his hand. After she decided that he was safe, she wagged her tail.
Then Moo asked: Which one’s Boo?”
Anuskha’s mouth dropped open. When would they find Boo?
The story continued. “Your grandfather admitted that he didn’t know. Moo started crying again. Your mother was more confident. She held each puppy one by one, inspected each from head to tip of tail, and confirmed that the fourth one was Boo.”
Anushka could not help but let out a cheer. Finally! Grandma smiled and told her to wait because there was more. She was enjoying this. She went on:
“The three of them came home with Boo. When they reached home, we were waiting at the door. Everybody was excited and hugged Boo. But then your Leena aunty cried out that it wasn’t Boo after all.”
“Where is the big white spot on his belly?”
“Everybody turned to look at Moo and your poor mother. Your grandfather sat down quietly. I made everybody eat their lunch. It was 5:30PM. Everybody ate a bit, while the ‘wrong’ Boo was given a meal too.”
“And now for your happy ending, little Anu,” grinned her grandmother. Anushka sat up straight, pulling sleeping Chiki onto her lap. Her grandmother chewed on a biscuit, taking her time. She liked creating suspense. “Grandma, please!” Anushka could not take it anymore.
“Alright. So just as Moo and Leena were cleaning up the table and your grandfather was ready to take his nap, Boo wandered in! Everybody ran to him, crying tears of happiness this time.”
“When we were quiet, Moo had a question: What about the other Boo? What will we do with him?
Your grandfather took the wrong Boo back to his mother and brothers and sisters. Nobody forgot about him. Moo and your mother visited him every weekend, taking food for him and his family.”
Now Anushka had a question. “But where had the real Boo been all day?” Her grandmother’s belly shook as she started laughing.
“That is a mystery.”
First published in TeleKids (An ABP Group publication)