Big Billy, the school and neighbourhood’s notorious bully, was walking to school one day. Swinging his lunch box, he was whistling tunelessly. Billy was big and beefy. He had three wobbling chins, but no neck, and small greedy eyes.

Billy spotted Peter’s dog, Sam, sleeping in the driveway. He waddled over to see if Sam was properly tied up. He was! So the cruel boy picked up a small pebble and flung it at the poor dog from a safe distance. Sam woke up, howling with pain. He leapt to his feet and growled like a small thunderstorm and then fell into a volley of barks. Sam tried to break free of the rope and go after Billy but he was too firmly tied.

“Yah!” smirked Billy, enjoying the poor dog’s predicament. Then he jogged as fast as he could on his fat legs towards the school before anyone could discover him teasing the dog. Billy loved to pick on small animals and young children but, like all bullies, he was a coward and did not want anyone to catch him in the act.

The next day was Saturday. After smashing his favourite video game because he had lost a game, he emerged from his frontdoor to see who he could bully. Aha! He saw Peter and Harry walking down the street, talking to each other. Billy sneaked up behind the two friends and clutched a handful of Peter’s brown hair and pulled them hard. “Stop it, you big bully,” howled Peter and struggled like a fish out of water. Young Harry tried to help but Billy just pushed him back and laughed evilly. Suddenly, there was a commotion behind them.

“Woof, woof!! GRRRR! Grrr!” someone came to Peter’s rescue. It was Sam, his beloved dog. Sam had an ugly look on his doggy face. Billy stood there frozen for a second. Even Peter and Harry stopped struggling as they heard the dog’s menacing growls.

Then Billy found his feet and fled for dear life. But run as he may, he could not outrun the dog and he knew that. So with great difficulty, he scrambled up a nearby tree.

Sam bounded up and growled at the fat boy. He then settled at the base of the tree. He dug out an old bone from the ground and started gnawing it. It was clear that he had no intentions of moving from that spot for some time.

With sinking heart, Billy remembered that Andrew, the new boy in the neighbourhood, had invited him to his party. Andrew did not know Billy that well or he would not have invited him. The party was due to start in half an hour.

“I have to go. I just have to,” thought Billy. He glared at the dog who seemed asleep. Billy put one foot cautiously on the lower branch. Nothing happened. He put both his feet down. Sam suddenly leapt up, let out some terrific growls and snapped at Billy’s feet.

Billy hurriedly pulled them out of harm’s way. Frustrated and afraid, he spotted Peter and Harry at a distance.

“Hey, you! Come here!” shouted Billy. “Call him off, will you?”

“Sorry!” yelled back Peter. “We are going to Andrew’s party. Can’t come or we will be late.” The two friends looked at each other and chuckled.

After a few minutes, Billy was sticky, sweaty, itchy and thoroughly miserable. He longed for an ice cream or chocolate. He had missed his favourite TV programme and he had never gone so long without blowing up an alien on his computer. He was missing a great party and his arms were aching because of his hold on the tree branch. His fat empty belly wasn’t helping at all.

After a long while, he saw children streaming out of Andrew’s house and into the garden where they started playing games.

Andrew spotted Billy up on the tree.

“Hey Bil…” he tried to call out but Peter nudged him hard. He whispered something in Andrew’s ear and Andrew turned his back towards Billy. The other children also noticed Billy up in the tree but no one came forward to help as they all had been his victims at one time or the other.

Then Billy started crying. He had not cried in years but he had gotten used to the idea that if he screwed up his face and wailed loudly, he would get what he wanted. The children knew that he was putting on an act. Nevertheless, everyone felt a bit sorry for the poor lonely boy stuck up in the tree.

Soon the party was over and the children returned to their homes after a fabulous tea. Peter whistled for Sam. Sam raced over to his master and was rewarded with a big, juicy bone.

On the other hand, Billy was so stiff after his long stay in the tree that his father had to come with a ladder to retrieve him from the leafy branches. It was a horrible day for the bully and he did not forget this lesson for a long, long time.


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