But now, when life should have been wonderful for the crocodiles of Pambupatti, all kinds of awful things began to happen. To begin with, the rats grew bolder by the day. They became so fearless that they jumped and turned somersaults on the crocodiles’ backs! And there were too many frogs. They seemed to be growing larger, and there was no one to eat them but the crocodiles. These huge frogs began to eat the baby crocodiles. And the insects! Now that the lizards were gone, there were millions of them, growing bigger and nastier by the day.
It was a terrible time for the crocodiles. They couldn’t understand what had happened to their happy forest home.
Then one day, a squeaky little voice piped up at one of their meetings, “We know why the forest has gone crazy, don’t we?”
Suddenly everyone was silent. They looked at Makara fearfully, but to their surprise, he looked nervous. He shook a rat off his tail and asked the small crocodile. “Why, little fellow?”
“It all began with the tort—”
“Okay, okay”, said Makara. “There’s no need to talk so much.” Makara didn’t want to admit he was wrong, but it didn’t matter. All the crocodiles knew now that he was not all that strong or powerful. Or always right. They sent urgent messages all over the place for the tortoises, snakes and lizards to come back to Pambupatti. And what a great day it was when these creatures came back, family after family, with their little ones on their backs or straggling behind, shouting at their parents to wait for them!
Things worsened in the jungle. Rather than filling out with peace and enjoyment, deep sadness pervaded throughout the jungle. The reason behind this is an enormous increase in the count of enlarged rats and frogs.
More Rats and Frogs in the forest
The crocodiles really had a tough time in the forest. The rats remained fearless, jumped, and did somersaults at the back of the crocodiles. This clearly proved they lost their respect and fear for Makara. In the absence of lizards, the insect population also greatly increased. The reason behind this is, lizards used to eat the eggs and larva of insects and frogs. So, the insects have been growing to millions day by day in enormous size. The problems increased in the jungle day by day. The peaceful atmosphere of the whole forest had been destroyed.
Everyone, including Makara, realized the situation and the reason what went wrong. It regretted to have taken decisions on sending the other animals out. The condition of Makara was to be pitied by other animals since it lost its power now. Makara nervously asked the little crocodile, the reason behind all such confusion, though it didn't want to admit the mistake it has committed.
The Crocodiles by this time understood that Makara lost its powerful element in it. Additionally, things were clear to them that it was high time for the other animals to be called back to the forest. Urgent messages are sent throughout, inviting all animals to come back to the forest as there was a real need for it. Finally, it was a glad moment when every animal reached the jungle along with their little ones.
Reptiles back to jungle
National Council of Educational Research and Training (2006). What Happened to the Reptiles - Zai Whitaker (pp. 33-42). Published at the Publication Division by the Secretary, National Council of Educational Research and Training, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi.