Once the Lord desired to go early in the morning with all His cowherd boyfriends to the forest, where they were to assemble together and take lunch. As soon as He got up from bed, He blew His buffalo-horn bugle and called all His friends together. Keeping the calves before them, they started for the forest in a great procession. In this way, Lord Kṛṣṇa assembled thousands of His boyfriends. They were each equipped with a stick, flute and horn, as well as a lunch bag, and each of them was taking care of thousands of calves. All the boys appeared very jolly and happy in that excursion. Each and every one of them, including Kṛṣṇa, was attentive to his personal calves as he herded them in the different places in the forest. The boys were fully decorated with various kinds of golden ornaments, yet out of sporting propensities they began to pick up flowers, leaves, twigs, peacock feathers and red clay from different places in the forest and further decorate themselves in different ways. While passing through the forest, one boy stole another boy’s lunch package and passed it to a third. And when the boy whose lunch package was stolen came to know of it, he tried to take it back. But the boy who had it threw it to another boy. This sportive playing went on amongst the boys as childhood pastimes.
When Lord Kṛṣṇa went ahead to a distant place in order to see some specific scenery, the boys behind Him ran to try to catch up and be the first to touch Him. So there was a great competition. One would say, “I will go there and touch Kṛṣṇa,” and another would say, “Oh, you cannot go. I’ll touch Kṛṣṇa first.” Some of them played on their flutes or vibrated bugles made of buffalo horn. Some of them gladly followed the peacocks and imitated the onomatopoetic sounds of the cuckoo. While the birds were flying in the sky, the boys ran after the birds’ shadows along the ground and tried to follow their exact courses. Some of them went to the monkeys and silently sat down by them, and some of them imitated the dancing of the peacocks. Some of them caught monkeys by the tail and played with them, and when the monkeys jumped into a tree, the boys followed. When a monkey showed its face and teeth, a boy imitated and showed his teeth to the monkey. Some of the boys played with the frogs on the bank of the Yamunā, and when, out of fear, the frogs jumped into the water, the boys immediately dove in after them, and they would come out of the water when they saw their own shadows and stand imitating, making caricatures and laughing. They would also go to an empty well and make loud sounds, and when the echo came back, they would call it ill names and laugh.