All that glitters…!

It was weekend and a much-awaited respite from the grueling schedule of the week!

"I'm going treasure hunting on Sunday!" announced Dazel to her friends when they met on Saturday evening near the lakeside. "I haven't done that for ages."

Dazel loved to collect exceptional things and before the tornado she had an enviable stash of hodgepodge — shells, rocks, crystals, prisms and feathers — which she had painstakingly collected and kept safely under a cluster of rocks near the pond where she lived. But the fierce winds of the tornado had scattered her treasure.

"I plan to just laze this Sunday," said Din Din, "It's been a tiring few weeks since the tornado."

"I have a truckload of homework," sighed Delma. "Where do you plan to go this time, Dazel?"

"There is this valley in the lower hills which has a beautiful river flowing through it," shared Dazel. "I'd like to check the river banks in the valley. The tornado has disturbed a lot of physical features and I'd like to see what's turned up on the river banks."

So the next morning, Dazel was up bright and early and off towards the hills. She was glad to be alone for this treasure hunt. "I love my friends and neighbours but some `me-time' is so important!" she thought to herself as the fresh wind blew through her feathers.

Soon she landed at the valley's lowest point. The valley was lush green and the sound of the river gushing gently down the hills was like music. Here it seemed as if the tornado had never occurred. Dazel snacked on her seeds and drank her fill of cool river water and got to work. She used her orange beak to sift through the pebbles and gravel that dotted the river's edges which ran down the valley.

Her years of treasure hunting had made her eye keen and she knew she had spotted something unique when her gaze fell on some tiny, dull yellow rocks on the river bed which seemed to gleam in the sunlight.

"What do we have here?" the duck thought to herself. Her heart was racing — her instincts told her that she had found something extraordinary.

There were many more such tiny, yellow nuggets and soon Dazel had collected them all on a banana leaf and folded it carefully. She tucked the leaf under her wing and flew home dying to show her friends what she had found.

She coasted straight to the lake hoping to find Delma. She was in luck. Her dolphin friend was studying at the lakeside.

"Look what I found, Delma," exclaimed Dazel, gasping from her long flight and excitement. "Oooh!" cried Delma when Dazel cautiously unfolded the banana leaf. "What is that?!"

"I don't know but I've never found something like this in all my adventures and hunts," said Dazel, her voice quavering in exhilaration.

Just then Dell, the mischievous beaver came up to the two friends. "Show me what you have there," the beaver peered curiously.

When he spotted the gleaming yellow pieces, his mouth fell open. "Do you know what this is?" he asked in a whisper.

Dazel shook her head.

"!" the beaver announced softly and dramatically.

"Gold?" mused Delma. "I have read about it in school. The most precious of all metals!"

"Yes. It's called 'aurum' which means ‘shining dawn'...see how it sparkles," said Dell eagerly eyeing the metals luster, "But where did you find it?"

"Umm...just somewhere up in the hills," evaded Dazel. "How come you know so much about gold, Dell?"

"Let's just say our ancestors loved this metal and wars have been fought over it. The fights got so bad that the D'Land elders finally decided that no one would be permitted to wear gold. All the gold which the creatures had was collected and melted and hidden somewhere," explained Dell.

"Wear gold?" asked Delma.

"Well, yes! This metal is very malleable. It can be beaten into beautiful things which can be worn around the neck, feet and arms," said Dell.

"Why haven't we learnt this in school?" wondered Delma.

"The 'gold wars' are not something D'Land is proud of so no one discusses it. It's a topic which is even avoided in schools," said Dell. "I have a few elder friends who knew about this through their grandparents, that's why I'm telling you."

"I...I have to go," said Dazel suddenly. And without another word the duck flew off towards her pond home.

The sun was setting when Dazel carefully hid her gold nuggets beneath a smooth large rock near the pond.

"So, how was your treasure hunt, my dear," asked Grandfather Frog kindly when he saw Dazel rummaging beneath a rock.

"Oh...Oh...nothing interesting! Just some odds and ends!" the duck stammered and avoided the frog's eyes.

Grandfather Frog seemed taken aback by Dazel's reaction. Dazel was usually very eager to share her day's events and show what she had found on her quests for unique treasure.

"What's gotten into her," the old frog wondered. "I hope everything is okay."

That night, in the stillness, Dazel had restless dreams. She dreamt of bright shining treasures and the creatures of D'Land fighting with each other. She woke up towards dawn panting with fear.

"Oh my! Have I found something which I shouldn't have?" she thought to herself anxiously.

"What should I do?"



(End of part one)

The Adventures of D'Land
Animated Series

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