Bulbul was a very simple girl. She didn't know any cheating or tricking. But her sister Reena was diametrically opposite. She was tricky, cheating and lazy.
Poor Bulbul was an orphan. Her mother had died when Bulbul was just a baby. Reena was her step sister. Bulbul lived with her step mother and step sister. Her father worked in a city. He came home only once a year.
The step mother had no love for Bulbul. She made Bulbul do all the house work. Reena and her mother sat on the bed all day long. All they did was resting and eating. Bulbul toiled without getting a rest and she got only crumbs to eat. But Bulbul never complained.
Reena took advantage of it made false complaints against Bulbul to the mother. And the mother would thrash poor Bulbul.
One day, Bulbul got very tired after a hard work. She felt pain in her stomach due to hunger. She said to the mother, "Mother! My stomach is aching. Give me something to eat."
Mother remarked, “You have stomachache and you want to eat. It will give you more pain.'
Bulbul felt like weeping loudly. She was starving. Tears rolled down her eyes but she didn't cry. She went on working in spite of the increasing pain of hunger.
Due to hunger she could not go to sleep. She decided to leave home. She slipped out of the house in the darkness. She walked and walked and reached a forest. She was dying of hunger. Bulbul saw a Jamun berry tree in front of her. She climbed up the tree somehow and ate berries. She got down having eaten to her heart’s content.
By then, the day had broken. She began playing around. Bulbul was very happy because there was no one to stop her. She was enjoying herself. At home she was never allowed to play.
When the night fell, Bulbul felt scared. She found a niche under a tree and snuggled into it. The girl was shivering. She closed her eyes and tried to sleep. Suddenly, she saw a kind of flash in front of her eyes. She opened her eyes and saw an old woman with her hair hanging loose standing before her. She had a white saree on and her hair also was snow white. Bulbul was frightened. But the old woman said sweetly, 'Don't fear me, dear girl What's your name? I am Mother Winter. I bring in cold season. Do you like cold?"
Bulbul replied, ‘My name is Bulbul. I love the winters. It gives me oranges, grapes carrots and all the tasty vegetables. I relish I enjoy basking and playing in the winter sun. Peanuts taste delightful. I adore you…mother"
Her talk pleased the old woman. She gave Bulbul a velvet blanket and said, “Wrap yourself with it. You are shivering. And take this bag. It contains money, gems and lots of ornaments. That's my gift to you. Live happily."
Mother winter vanished after handing over the gifts to Bulbul. The presents very delighted Bulbul. She kept the bag by her side and wrapped around the velvet blanket. She felt warmed up and soon fell asleep.
Only a short time later she felt heat. She raised the corner of the blanket and peeped out. She saw a young lady standing there. She was in green and yellow dress. Her eyes sparkled. She spoke to Bulbul, ‘Do you know who I am?‘
Bulbul shook her head. The lady informed, “I am Miss Summer. I bring the summer season. Tell me how do you like summer?'
Bulbul was now feeling hot. She cast away the blanket and said. ‘I like the summer. It gives me sweet fruits like mangoes, melons and pineapples. I like sour unripe mangoes too. Ice creams just taste wonderful during hot. Days Summer is great."
Miss Summer laughed sounding like jingle of bells and crooned, “Really, you are a sweet girl. You made me happy. I want to give you some gift. Here, take this plate. Put your finger on this plate and you will get whatever you wish to eat.'
Miss Summer departed. Bulbul was very happy that two seasons were pleased with her and gifted her so wonderful things. Bulbul didn't pride over them. She was a simple peaceful girl. She tried to get some sleep. Suddenly she heard the chirps of the birds and knew that the morning was arriving. She was feeling hungry.
She took out the magic plate and put her finger it. Then she wished for milk. To her delight she saw a glass of milk appearing on the plate.
Before she could finish her milk she felt drops falling on her head. Bulbul raised her head to find a beauty in green dress standing there. She was close by. Her dress was wet and drops fell from her hair. She asked, 'Did you recognise me…girl?’
Bulbul looked at her puzzled. The woman said, “I am Madam Rain. I bring greenery all around. I put life in trees and plants. How do you like rainy season?'
Bulbul giggle, “Aha' I love rainy season. I dance and sing in the rain. Floating paper boats in rain water in fun. Rainy season is lovely."
Madam Rain enquired, ‘Does your mother let you play in rain? Does she love you. girl?"
Bulbul replied, “Very My mother is a good woman. She lets me play and sing, I want to go to her."
Bulbul was really crying.
Madam Rain patted her and said, ‘Don't cry, baby. I give you this magic mat. You can get to your mother. Sit on it and it will fly you wherever you wish to go. And take a magic ring too. It will always protect you from troubles."
Madam Rain vanished. Bulbul really wanted to go to her step mother. She unrolled the magic mat and sat on it with other gifts. The very next moment she was in her home.
Bulbul found that the step mother was telling the neighbours that she had run away. But finding the girl there silenced her. She was not pleased. But she looked delighted when Bulbul gave all the gifts to her.
Bulbul revealed to her mother all that had happened with her. The mother tried to pull the magic ring off the finger of Bulbul but failed. She decided to send Reena too to the jungle to get those wonderful gifts.
Reena didn't like to go. She was feeling scared. But the mother's insistence and the greed for magic gifts made her go to the jungle where Bulbul had gone.
At night, in the same way old woman, Winter appeared and asked Reena how she liked winters. Reena was never taught to speak politely. She thought that Bulbul had got those gifts for speaking truth. So, Reena said with a bad face, “I don't like winter. It makes me shiver. Cold winds make my nose run. My lips crack. And taking bath in the
winter is a torture. Winter is awful. It keeps me in bed like a sick girl."
It made Winter angry. She gave Reena a bag and a blanket and disappeared. Reena tried to wrap the blanket around her but it hurt as if it were made of thorns. The bag was full of worms. She threw away both things in disgust.
Meanwhile Miss Summer arrived and asked Reena what she thought of summer.
Reena spat, “Yuk! Summer is filthy. I always sweat. It is all smelly. You can't go out to play due to heat. Summer is real hell."
Annoyed Miss Summer gave Reena a plate and disappeared. As soon as Reena put her hand in the plate it teemed with hairy worms. Reena threw the plate away. The worms made her fed sick.
Then, Madam Rain appeared and asked Reena what she thought of the rainy season. Reena was puzzled. She didn't know what to say. She cursed, “it is a horrible time. There is mud all around. The roofs leak. You can't go around. It is full of flies and mosquitoes."
Reena's remarks angered Madam Rain. She gave Reena a mat and a ring.
She sat on the mat and it felt burning hot. Meanwhile she put the ring on her finger. There was a flash as if short circuited and Reena was engulfed in flames.
Luckily her mother reached there and fire was put out with difficulty. Reena had got severe burns. She lamented 'Mother… You never taught me good manners. I always spoke ill of Bulbul and ill treated her. God has punished us for that wrong doing."
Bulbul came to her and lovingly caressed her. The mother realised now how good Bulbul was and she felt sorry of her mistreatment. “I was a mother and for me both girls should have been equally dear', she thought. By not teaching Reena good thing she had done an injustice to her daughter and herself.
She made up her mind that she would treat both the girls as her own flesh. Reena recovered and all three lived peacefully and joyfully.