A talent show in D'land

“This is the most important event of the Aquatic School. We will invite all the animals —from Terrestrial School and Aviary School to view the Talent Show of the Aquatic School," Olly the octopus, the principal of Aquatic School, was addressing the aquatic animals on the last day of school. "We hold this programme during the summer break so that our studies are not disturbed."

Delma the dolphin was very excited.

"A Talent Show!" she shared with Din Din and Dazel at the lake that evening.

"But I have no idea what talent to display?"

"You have a lot of skills Delma," said Dazel.

"Like what?" said Delma confused.

"Well, you are the lake protector," quipped in Din Din.

"But how can I use that as a talent?" quizzed Delma.

"And you love to paint," suggested Dazel.

"But painting something will be so boring. I think all the other aquatic animals are planning to do stunts or acrobatic acts," said Delma with a shake of her head.

The three friends separated that evening but they still hadn't decided on what Delma would do.

The next day Delma saw that the Aquatic School Talent Show was what all the aquatic animals were talking about.

Delma was making her early morning 10 laps around the lake when she came across the most astonishing sight. She could see some fish which she had seen in Aquatic School. They were in a higher grade than Delma. She had always thought that they looked unusual. They were like normal fish but they had wing-like fins. What she saw now made her gasp in surprise. This group of five fish were flying! They leapt in the air in perfect coordination. When they heard Delma's gasp they turned around to look at her.

Delma felt embarrassed as she was caught spying on them. But the fish smiled at her.

"We are good aren't we?" said the longest of the five fish.

Delma nodded still speechless. When she found her voice she croaked, "Can you fly? Are those fins or wings?"

The five fish laughed in unison at Delma's shell shocked expression.

"We have seen you in Aquatic School. Your name is Delma isn't it?" one of the fish asked.

"So you think we are good enough to win the Aquatic School Talent Show?" asked another.

The longest flying fish said kindly. "I am Fin, these are my sisters — Flyn, Fan, Foam and Fun."

"What interesting names," grinned Delma, appealed by the friendly manner of the five flying fish.

"This is our act for the Talent Show," said Fin. "and in answer to your question — yes our large pectoral fins help us take flight. We can make large leaps in the air — the record time any flying fish has stayed airborne is 45 secs."

"What are you going to do at the Talent Show, Delma?" asked Flyn the fish.

"I have no idea," answered Delma glumly. "I wish I could do stunts like you guys!" she added wistfully.

"Well, you can try!" said Fin with an impish grin.

"What?" laughed Delma. "I don't have wing-like fins!"

"Well, we have heard from Olly Sir that you are a highly intelligent creature. You are said to have fantastic communication skills; you can work in groups and understand instructions and commands easily," said Fin

"I do?" exclaimed Delma blushing with pride. "How do you know all this?"

"The five of us are Olly the octopus' neighbours. We live near the coral reefs where he lives. He comes to our home many times for dinner and he talks about his students...especially you. He thinks you are very special," said Fan.

"Oh my!" gasped Delma. "That's all the more reason that I would want to do my best at the Talent Show. Olly and the other teachers have such high expectations from me," Delma said thinking aloud.

"Hmmm..." murmured Fin thoughtfully. "Maybe we can help. And having you in our act will add to our worth too," he said with a grin.

"But what would I do?" said Delma.

"You leave that to us. Maybe you can't fly like us but we can train you to leap high!" said Fin clapping his fins together in glee. So for the next few weeks, Delma was only seen with her flying fish friends.

"She is even living there near their reefs," said Din Din to Dazel one evening. "I miss her!"

"Yes, so do I! But this Talent Show is important to her and we must support her," said Dazel.

The day of the Talent Show finally dawned bright and sunny.

Creatures from the Aviary School and Terrestrial School flocked in to view the much-anticipated show. The best part about the show was that the winner would be decided as a result of the voting of the audience.

Olly the octopus began the proceedings. The Terrestrial animals were seated at the edge of the lake while the birds were perched in the trees surrounding the waters where the Aquatic School was.

"Welcome to Aquatic School's first Talent Show! Our students have worked very hard to display their talents. The purpose of this show is to prove that each creature is talented in some way," said Olly in his introductory speech.

Then the performances began. The beaver family put on a remarkable pyramid display balancing themselves on each other; the salmon did a pom-pom dance using colourful weeds as their pom-poms; the trio of jellyfish did an astounding acrobatic act of flexibility; the seahorses performed a graceful ballet dance — each act was delightful. And the audience watched in rapture.

Delma was shivering with anticipation and nervousness. The flying fish seemed confident and were joking with each other but Delma was silent as she waited for their turn. Finally, when their group's name was called, she and the flying fish swam into the arena.

Fin gave them the signal and the five fish leapt in the air in immaculate coordination. Once they were airborne, Delma jumped over them — the crowd gasped in admiration. When Delma nosedived into the water again, the five fish also disappeared into the water.

The fish then jumped out into the air and made a circle in mid-air; Delma dove through the fish circle and into the water. The audience clapped and cheered. One after the other, the five flying fish and Delma presented a series of acts. By the end of their performance the audience was chanting, "Once more! Once more!" At the end of all the performances, the audience was asked to write the name of the group which they thought was the best and cast their vote in a huge wooden box placed at the edge of the lake. In the hour which it took to count the votes, the creatures of the three schools interacted with each other.

Finally, Olly's voice could be heard announcing the results. "Everyone did a splendid job. But now is the time to announce the results! The vote counting reveals that the group which was liked the most in the Aquatic School Talent Show is Delma and the Flying Fish!" cried Olly. The lake echoed with applause and cheering. Delma could not believe her ears! As she and the flying fish swam to Olly to accept the trophy, Din Din and Dazel who were clapping in the audience grinned with pleasure.

"Delma's hard work really paid off!" shouted Dazel to Din Din.

"Oh yes! Hard work and teamwork always pays off!" answered Din Din as they watched their best friend in her triumph.

The Adventures of D'Land
Animated Series

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