The Blue Umbrella Story PDF By Ruskin Bond

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The Blue Umbrella


NEELU! Neelu!” cried Binya.

She scrambled barefoot over the rocks, ran over the short summer grass, up and over the brow of the hill, all the time calling “Neelu, Neelu!” Neelu—Blue—was the name of the blue-grey cow. The other cow, which was white, was called Gori, meaning Fair One.

They were fond of wandering off on their own, down to the stream or into the pine forest, and sometimes they came back by themselves and sometimes they stayed away—almost deliberately, it seemed to Binya.

If the cows didn’t come home at the right time, Binya would be sent to fetch them.

sometimes her brother Bijju went with her, but these days he was busy preparing for his exams and didn’t have time to help with the cows.

Binya liked being on her own, and sometimes she allowed the cows to lead her into some distant valley, and then they would all be late coming home. The cows preferred having Binya with them, because she let them wander.

Bijju pulled them by their tails if they went too far. Binya belonged to the mountains, to this part of the Himalayas known as Garhwal.

Dark forests and lonely hilltops held no terrors for her. It was only when she was in the market-town, jostled by the crowds in the bazaar, that she felt rather nervous and lost. The town, five miles from the village, was also a pleasure resort for tourists from all over India.


BINYA seldom closed the blue umbrella. Even when she had it in the house, she left it lying open in a corner of the room. Sometimes Bijju snapped it shut, complaining that it got in the way. She would open it again a little later. It wasn’t beautiful when it was closed.

Whenever Binya went out-whether it was to graze the cows, or fetch water from the spring, or carry milk to the little tea shop on the Tehri road-she took the umbrella with her. That patch of skyblue silk could always be seen on the hillside.

Old Ram Bharosa (Ram the Trustworthy) kept the tea shop on the Tehri road. It was a dusty, unmetalled road. Once a day, the Tehri bus stopped near his shop and passengers got down to sip hot tea or drink a glass of curds.

He kept a few bottles of Coca-cola too; but as there was no ice, the bottles got hot in the sun and so were seldom opened. He also kept sweets and toffees, and when Binya or Bijju had a few coins to spare they would spend them at the shop. It was only a mile from the village.

Ram Bharosa was astonished to see Binya’s blue umbrella.

“What have you there, Binya?” he asked.

Binya gave the umbrella a twirl and smiled at Ram Bharosa.


THE rains set in, and the sun only made brief appearances. The hills turned a lush green. Ferns sprang up on walls and tree trunks.

Giant lilies reared up like leopards from the tall grass. A white mist coiled and uncoiled as it floated up from the valley. It was a beautiful season, except for the leeches.

Every day, Binya came home with a couple of leeches fastened to the flesh of her bare legs.

They fell off by themselves just as soon as they’d had their thimbleful of blood, but you didn’t know they were on you until they fell off; and then, later, the skin became very sore and itchy.

Some of the older people still believed that being bled by leeches was a remedy for various ailments. Whenever Ram Bharosa had a headache, he applied a leech to his throbbing temple.

Three days of incessant rain had flooded out a number of small animals who lived in holes in the ground. Binya’s mother suddenly found the roof full of field rats.

She had to drive them out; they ate too much of her stored up wheat flour and rice. Biju liked lifting up large rocks, to disturb the scorpions who were sleeping beneath. And snakes came out to bask in the sun.

AuthorRuskin Bond
Language English
No. of Pages23
PDF Size0.3 MB

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