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Twiggy Tales

Updated: Dec 28, 2023

In a world full of stories, each moment and experience has much to offer and helps a bud blossom when sought as a lesson.

“Twiggy Tales” by C. S. Manohar presents nuggets of wisdom and values through tiny stories expressing morals while sowing new notions to grow oneself.


Note: Read/Listen to the “Free Access” of this story on Medium or Substack!

Illustrated by Renius Mercy


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This contribution is reviewed by R. S. Chintalapati, edited by Sreekar Ayyagari, proofread by V. K. Telkepalli & illustrated by Renius Mercy.



This anthology is available as paperback & ebook.


Tale I


A five-year-old girl asks her father, “What is happiness?” & rather than answer, her father tried to show her what true happiness meant.

“Happiness” by C. S. Manohar tells how one can, in their way, define happiness through sharing & caring.

Illustrated by Renius Mercy

Five-year-old Molly asked her dad, “What is happiness?”

So the next day, her dad surprised her with a toy, a speaking Barbie, and she was overjoyed and spent every waking and sleeping moment with it.

A week later, her dad promised another gift. As Molly waited by the door, her dad came home with a huge box. While she looked on with excitement, her dad opened the gift to reveal within it ten dolls of the same Barbie make. Her smile disappeared in disappointment.

But her dad smiled. He said, “Come, let’s go out.”

Taking the dolls with them, they wandered around the whole block. Molly’s father then asked her to distribute each doll to all her good friends with a special personal message to each of them. It was to become their lifetime bond now. Molly was elated.

But as they neared home, giving all of the dolls away, she came across a poor girl staring longingly at them. Her dad looked at Molly, wondering about her response.

In a blink, Molly ran indoors, got her doll, and gave it to the poor girl.

‘Happiness lies in knowing when to take and when to give.’


Tale II


A kid troubled with his act of stealing confesses his actions to an old man seeking a solution.

“Guilt” by C. S. Manohar shows how any one of us can repent our mistakes & pursue cleaning our conscience.

Illustrated by Renius Mercy

On a cold evening, in a lonely park, a troubled kid & an old man sat on a bench while the sky was covered with black clouds & trees hummed the tunes of nature, dancing to the tune of the winds.

“I was hungry and took an apple off the hawker’s basket as no one was watching. I was happy then but had been feeling heavy ever since. What’s troubling me?” asked the little boy to the old man.

“Ever noticed how the beautiful flowers in a garden are caged within the metal barbs? It is not their imprisonment but ours that we cannot reach them. These barbs are not always physical; they are sometimes invisible and all in mind, standing between you and your soul, the garden of fragrance. That is guilt,” answered the old man.

“But, what is it that I should do now? Should I confess or pay up to the fruit seller?”

“Apologise to him, but more importantly to yourself in sincerity: not in words, but in actions. Plant the seed of one fruit you’ve taken and nurture it with care to return a tree back in time, with interest.”


Tale III


A kid sees something extraordinary in the middle of the night & wakes up her father to show him what she found.

“Innocence” by C. S. Manohar shows that children are so pure that their perception of value though innocent, is refreshingly beautiful.

Illustrated by Renius Mercy

One night, the fisherman’s daughter woke up in the middle of the night. As she looked from her balcony, she saw the sparkling still lake behind their house. She ran and woke up her father.

Puzzled, he awoke, rubbing his eyes, looking at his tiny bundle of joy and stared at the clock, reading the time as half past one.

“Take your net, Appa”, she squeaked excitedly to her father.

He sheepishly smiled and conceded to her innocence. He picked the net from the corner and joined her.

Taking him to the balcony, she said, “You only go and gather fish each dawn with your net. I’ve now realised you’re always late, Appa. Come, see what I have found today!” Pointing to the reflection of the stars in the still lake, she exclaimed, “If you rather go at midnight with your net, you can catch the stars instead.”

Glancing at the many twinkling stars in the lake, the fisherman smiled & so did the little one, content about the treasure she found.

We are often told, ‘The early bird catches the worm.’ Maybe a more colourful adage from this story is - ‘The innocent heart catches the stars.’


Tale IV


In a world trying to comprehend identities beyond duality, a boy is curious about who is great, a man or a woman.

“Duality” by C. S. Manohar tells a tale of how each gender plays a unique role in their way & why each of them is crucial.

Illustrated by Renius Mercy

It was just another cold night when a boy & his father went for a stroll after dinner as they always did. Today, however, the boy was bugged with a question. After much pondering, he decided to ask about it when he reached the bench that led the way into the pond.

When they did, the little boy asked, “Papa, what’s the difference between a man and a woman?”

Thinking about how to answer the question, the boy’s father looked around for a moment before saying, “Look around, son. Let’s say the water is the man, and the moon is the woman. By herself, she’s the crown jewel of the sky, and yet in his curling lap, she’s a splashing child. By himself, he’s a powerful force and a calm monk, and yet to her grace, he surrenders to sway with all his soul. They’re each by themselves enough to be, and yet only together can they make and sustain life.”

“But who’s greater?” the little boy inquired innocently.

“When he’s happy, the water opens his wings to take to the skies, and when he’s shy, he vanishes underground. Each night, she assumes a different role based on her mood and yet holds her identity even between all the million sparkling stars. No one’s greater than the other,” the boy’s father replied.

Staring at his boy’s puzzled face, he concluded, “For the weary traveller lost in the woods with a parched throat, the water may be life, but the moon is hope.”


Tale V


A young child is fascinated by a magician’s tricks. When offered a chance to take an item, his choice surprises everyone.

“Ownership” by C. S. Manohar tells the potential of choice and the wisdom behind how to pick what is best.

Illustrated by Renius Mercy

Five-year-old John was celebrating his birthday & there were many things that his friends enjoyed that evening. The cake, chocolates, and soft drinks were excellent, and they all awaited their visible return gifts, but just before they took them, a magician came to the party.

Excited, they all assembled around the magician, and he cast one spell to turn his hat into a silver basket from which he took out a golden bunny. He then picked a red satin cloth and turned it into a bright spark with a kiss on the edge. From within the flame, he made a glowing phoenix fledgling appear.

He then unfurled a pack of cards, and as he rotated his magic wand, a card popped up, revealing itself to be a three of red diamonds. Flipping it in the air, the magician turned it into three rubies. The children watched in awe, cheering on his every magic in wonder. When he finished, he offered all of the kids any item of their choice from his performance.

Each of them tussled for an object of their liking. But when it was John’s turn, he said with a straight face, “I want the magician.”

Intrigued, his parents asked, “Why?”

John replied, “If I have the magician, I can have all the rest anytime I want, how many times I like.”


Tale VI


You are but a part of this world that is one gigantic puzzle. But there’s nothing to say that you cannot be the start of a new picture.

“Love” by C. S. Manohar shows the value of sacrifice in empathy as the true expression of love.

Illustrated by Renius Mercy

Pat was the sole survivor of a crash, losing his parents. At seven, he would have been inconsolable if not for Sarah; his only friend turned family now.

One night, as she was tucked into bed, Sarah asked her mom, “What happens when people die?”

Her mom thought for a moment, and pointing to the night sky, she said, “They go to the sky and become stars watching over their children.”

A year later, when Sarah turned six, her parents got her a rocket model as her birthday present.

That night, Sarah’s dad assembled it and said, “Alas, little ray, it seems like there’s room only for two astronauts on this rocket. Who should take you for a test drive, me or mummy?”

Innocent Sarah truly believed that the rocket would take them to the skies. She looked between her mom and dad, and staring up at the night sky full of stars, she whispered, “Papa, I think Pat deserves this one. I shall take her along.”

You are but a part of this world that is one gigantic puzzle. But there’s nothing to say that you cannot be the start of a new picture, and you may very well be the fresh perspective of the artist of the time.

Love is the selflessness in a sacrifice, in the selfishness of empathy.

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Tale VII


In the face of mortality, neither evil nor virtue is an exception, and both have to face it either unwillingly or wholeheartedly.

“Death” by C. S. Manohar shows how one should reflect upon our limited time and its value rather than hate the unkindness it brings.

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