The author starts his narration in the introduction section by depicting the picture of Pambupatti village, where he had never been before that lies at the edge of the jungle. The forest beneath the cliff had been stretched out like a green forest.
Pambupatti village (Only for reference)
People from various backgrounds and different ethnicities live in that village, as they speak different languages; practice different religions; some are vegetarians while some are meat-eaters. Some pray in Temples and some from Mosques.
The author, by introducing himself, slowly explains the instance of a religious outbreak that happened in his village, which led him to leave his birthplace and escape to Pambupatti which, he had not gone all these days but heard of.
A year back, people from different religions started to fight among themselves in his village. It was a religious clash that had been happening for quite a long time. It reached the worst situation after some time. As a result of this religious breakdown, houses were burnt, and one such was the author's house. When people started to fight against themselves and the houses are burnt, they left their place overnight. This devastating effect made the narrator run from his own village, to escape from the riots.
The author explains the difficulties he faced on that night, as, without knowing what to do next, he wrapped up few clothes, coins along with his little Ganesha statue and got on the train without even buying tickets; because people went running around to safeguard their lives. Finally, it was the village Pambupatti he landed at last. On reaching the village of Pambupatti, the narrator tried to approach the villagers to seek help from them. Unfortunately, he fell out of tiredness, without speaking a word to the villagers.
When Prem opened his eyes, he saw an old man with white hair and beard. He is the one who must have saved the author when he fell down. He took complete care on him for the next few days. The old man gave him food and shelter. He also helped him to get rid of his leg pain, by rubbing his legs gently, as, the pain had been formed when the author ran from hundreds of miles away from his village to reach Pambupatti. The neighbours were also equally good, visiting every time. With his treatment, the author slowly recovered. The author was really shocked to see such kind-natured human beings in this place.
Surprised to see such good humans in Pambupatti, the author questioned the old man, expecting a reply for such unity, which is entirely different from his birthplace.
On hearing this question, the old man started to narrate the story of 'Pambupatti', believing it would serve to be a solution for the serious problem in Prem's village and requested him to take it to his village. Prem, on the other hand, felt hesitant to go back to his village. This is because he had a bitter experience over there. Moreover, he wasn't sure of the situation now in his village. Though he thought it would not help the worst situation over there, he started listening to the story. It's due to the fact that Prem didn't like to argue with him, since the old man deserves such respect.
The old man started narrating an age-old story that had happened a long time back when people lived in caves. Children used to help their parents to collect fruits and berries. There were only reptiles like snakes, crocodiles, turtles, etc.., that occupied the forest because there were no tigers or panthers, or elephants during that time in Pambhupatti.
Reptiles in the forest
Every month the reptiles conduct a meeting, being conducted by a large crocodile, Makara, to whom every fellow animal was obeying. Makara is a very powerful animal who was feared by the rest of the reptiles. The author emphasizes here, the effect of a powerful position as, if someone is in a powerful position, it's not possible for anyone to go against their decision.
One day, an unexpected thing happened, as the leader of this reptile group, the powerful Makara, sent a message to the tortoise group, ordering them to stay away from the meeting. On looking at this message, the big old tortoise of that group became very angry.
The angry tortoise
He even shouted. Still, it was of no use. Even though the tortoises were angry and frustrated, they were compelled to obey the instruction. They were not given any other option. After all, their category seems to be a minority compared with the other animals.
On the day of the Meeting, Makara cleaned up its teeth with red flowers by the river and entered the meeting with his sparkling teeth.
Makara in the river
This took much time that made others wait. This also shows its disrespectful attitude towards other animals, that Makara considers them below its position. On Makara's arrival, all the animals, including the snake king cobra, stopped talking and listened to Makara attentively.
Makara started addressing the gathering by greeting the animals as, Brothers and Sisters. It continued its speech and disclosed its plan of sending the tortoises out. This is the reason they were asked to stay away from the meeting. Though it was Makara's own decision, it has been asked to the other animals as to why did they hate tortoises? On hearing this, the other animals were really shocked. Their uncomfortable situation is reflected in their body language.
Hardly two living beings opened its mouth to express their protest. It was a lizard and a baby crocodile.
The moment they opened their mouth, Makara stopped them arrogantly in a harsh voice saying "No BUTS, No I THINKS!" which even made the fruits fell from the tree. With this terrible reply, the animals lost their courage to object to Makara. So, though felt uncomfortable, the animals were not given any chance to express protest, as the powerful leader Makara was almost threatening them with its loud voice.
The angry Makara
Makara itself took the decision on its own, claiming it to be a decision of the whole group considering that tortoises are slow and stupid ones and carry their home at their back. It asked the lizards whether they carried the trees they live on, upon their backs the way the tortoises carried their shells, which is not the case. So, on behalf of the reptile group, Makara had taken the decision of expelling them (tortoises) away from the forest. It pointed out an advantage as well, as, in this way, the other animals would enjoy more food, water, etc. The tortoises were given a week's time to vacate the place since they are slow-moving animals. So, the tortoises left after a week.
Tortoises left the jungle
Initially, the animals felt happy and thought Makara's decision was right, for, they had more water and food. Though the animals had more water and food, soon they felt the need for the tortoises in the forest, for, the unbearable smell from the rotten fruit and dead animal bodies inside the river engulfed the forest.
The story didn't end with the tortoises' expulsion. It continued with the snakes after a month. This time, it was a day's period to leave the forest place, since they move so fast compared with tortoises.
Snakes left the forest
There is a problem that existed in the forest with the expulsion of tortoises that have not been fixed yet, which is the foul smell in the river still exists due to the absence of tortoises. Additionally, the expulsion of snakes is expected to arise another issue soon. The reason given for chasing them out is, they are not trustworthy and make funny voices.
Even this time, no animals dared to speak against Makara's decision. So, the snakes were also thrown out of the forest in a day's period.
For some time, it happened to be a great pleasure for the forest animals without snakes. This is because the animals generally have fear towards snakes. They knew snakes are dangerous, which can inject their poison at them anytime they quarrel. So, during their quarrel, it may kill them. After all, it just needs a little poison.
As expected, there arises another problem in the jungle with the expulsion of snakes. Rats, in the absence of snakes to swallow them, took control over the whole forest. They really enjoyed having fun inside the forest without snakes.
Where there is an expectancy of a wonderful life to be met in the forest without tortoises and snakes, it happened to be the other way around, as, 'Rats' began to create more trouble in the whole forest, filling up each place like, trees, grass, bushes, ground, etc.
They did not spare even the eggs of lizards and crocodiles; and, even Makara's own nest was eaten up; and, there were no eggs around that year. Makara expressed its wish for its fellow mates of occupying the whole forest for themselves(Crocodiles).
Jungle with only crocodiles
With this, Makara also announces its decision of expelling lizards this time from the forest. The reason given behind chasing them from the forest is, their colour changing nature. On hearing this, the other crocodiles applauded Makara being filled with fear. At last, the lizards were also forced to leave the jungle, carrying their babies on their backs.
Lizards left the jungle
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 is 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
Finally, when all the animals came back to the forest, it only took two months period to get back to regain their position in the jungle. The rotten smell was gone; the tortures of rats, frogs, insects, etc., met with an end. With this climax, the old man finished his story, narrated for Prem.
The old man questioned whether he is slept or dreaming. Prem replied no, but, thinking to be back to the village to deliver the story to their villagers.
After listening to the story, the narrator gained more confidence that it would bring in the unity effect in his village also, same as Pambupatti.
Prem enquired the old man whether his villagers will listen to the story as he was a little sceptical about it. The old man replied to his question, saying Prem should keep repeating the story to his fellow villagers even if they make fun of him. One day, they will surely understand others' need and the equal role of all in society.