Today's Beautiful Gem: Part II of "Gopala and his Friend", a story retold by me.

"As soon as Gopala returned home, his parents asked him how the day
was. Gopala replied: "I'm no longer afraid of the woods. As you
said, I thought of Krishna and it helped me." The parents were quite
glad that their child's education would continue without any
impedement. Daily, Gopala and his friend of the forest used to
exchange a lot of children's trivia such as games, Gopala's lessons,
his classmates, the guru, etc. The boy taught Gopala music and he
used to accompany Gopala on his bamboo flute. For some festivity at
the guru's place, the students must offer a gift to the guru.
Gopala's poor parents had nothing expensive, but gave him a glass of
milk. During his walk, the friend of the forest asked Gopala about
the glass he was carrying. When Gopala explained the whole episode,
his friend told him not to worry and smiled. When Gopala reached the
guru's abode, he found that his classmates brought costly presents
to the guru. Gopala felt ashamed about his glass of milk, but still
presented it to the guru. The guru accepted it gladly and poured it
in a pail of curds. The time for the big lunch arrived and when the
curd was being served at the end of the meal, it was observed that
the level of the curd vessel was always full. When this strange
event was brought to the attention of the guru, the guru asked Gopala
for an explanation. Gopala narrated the whole story-- his parents'
gift, his walk through the forest, etc. When pressed further, Gopala
blurted about his friend of the forest. Then everything became quite
clear to the guru. He knew that Gopala's friend was no other than
Lord Krishna himself. He lovingly patted Gopala. That evening when
Gopala shouted aloud for his friend at the entrance to the forest,
nobody appeared. Instead, he found a letter at the foot of the tree,
their usual tryst. Gopala began to read it: "Gopala, I'll not be
able to meet you hereafter. You are now a big brave boy. I have to
assist another boy younger than you in another village. But one
thing, whenever you listen to the sounds of my flute, don't forget
that I am near you somewhere." Gopala felt sad and began to cry.
When he reached the outskirts of his village, the faint notes of his
friend's flute reached him. A little smile crossed Gopala's lips as
he commenced to run towards home."

om s'aantih: Peace! - J. K. Mohana Rao