A farmer named Kira lived with his wife Leela and his little daughter, Mala, in a small village called Farmdale that was near a forest. The farmer was neither wealthy nor poor, but he was an honest and kind man. Every day he worked on his farm while his wife tended to the house and looked after their daughter while she played all day. Now little Mala did not have any toys to play with like the other children in the village, so instead she would play with the various animals on the farm. Sometimes wild animals from the forest would come down to the farm and she would play with them, too.
She loved all animals, and she wouldn’t live without animals.
One morning, Leela saw that she did not have any firewood on the farm.
“Mala, I am going into the woods to get us some firewood so I can cook dinner for us. You stay here and be a good girl.”
“But Mama,” Mala protested, “I don’t want to stay here, I want to come with you and help collect firewood.
“There are dangerous animals in the forest, Mala.”
“I know that, but I’ll be very careful, Mom, I promise. Please!”
Despite her concerns, Leela relented. “Okay… I’ll let you come with me. But you must promise me that you will not stray from my side while we are in the forest.”
“I promise!” Mala said gleefully.
So off they went into the woods. After they had traveled a bit into the forest, Mala saw something curious.
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