Dazel and the summer trip

Dazel was excited! The Aviary School had planned a summer camping trip to the beach and today was the day they were supposed to set off for the holiday.

"Swain, have you taken everything on the list they gave us?" asked Dazel as she packed her own knapsack.

"Yes, yes," answered Swain, "Just watching you get so excited about the summer trip is making me excited too; otherwise I'm not one for roughing it. I prefer the comfort of my pond home. Spending a few days at a beach in camping tents is not my idea of a summer trip."

"Oh Swain! It'll be so much fun!" exclaimed Dazel. "Going to see a new place and then staying with our class mates from school." Dazel grinned in anticipation.

Soon all the Aviary School birds who were going on the trip were gathered at the School premises. Wiz Rooster smiled at the assembly and addressed them, "Dear birds, every year the elementary school birds go for a summer trip. This trip has many purposes — to see new places, to see how you survive away from home but most of all how you can function in a group."

The gathered birds were listening intently.

"For this purpose, all of you will be divided into two groups. Each group will have to set up their own tents, prepare their own food and also compete with each other in games and chores. At the end of the two days, I will score both the teams on how organized they were and how well they functioned as a team," explained Wiz Rooster seriously.

The birds looked at each other and grinned. This sounded like fun!

"Now to choose the two group leaders. After much deliberation, the teachers of your class have decided on Candy the canary as leader of the first group and Dazel the duck as leader of the second group," said Wiz Rooster, his wise eyes twinkling.

Dazel couldn't believe it. Her chest swelled in pride and she blushed as she heard the applause of the birds. She was a group leader! The teachers had thought she was responsible enough to be one!

"Look at your team members, team leaders," said Wiz Rooster.

Dazel glanced at the birds who had gathered behind her. Her pond friend and neighbour, Swain the swan was in her group. She was relieved to see him. Then she saw Rita the robin and Oti, one of the ostriches. Apart from a few other bird fellows who were in her class, Dazel also saw the young eagle in her group.

"Uh-oh!" said Dazel to herself. "Eva the bad tempered eagle is in my team. I'll have to make sure that she doesn't spoil the team spirit of my group." The birds then set off towards the beach where they were supposed to camp. The beach was beautiful with soft white sand, coconut trees and sparkling blue water.

"Oh my!" exclaimed Dazel, "This is beautiful!"

"Yes, it is," replied Wiz Rooster, "But Dazel you have many responsibilities to look after than to enjoy the view," the rooster reminded kindly. "Why don't you instruct your team to set up the tents? Candy the canary's team has already chosen a good spot and has begun to set camp."

Sure enough, Dazel could see Candy and her team zealously put up the tents.

"You should have chosen the shady spot under the coconut trees," said an angry voice. It was Eva the eagle.

Dazel looked crestfallen. It was her first task as group leader and she had failed.

"It’s okay," said Swain the swan looking at Dazel encouragingly, "Here's another good spot." And so Dazel's group began to erect their tents in silence. Soon it was time for dinner.

"Okay groups, you have to hunt for food which will suffice for all of the members in your group. You have an hour until sunset—that is the time you have to hunt for food. But no fighting please," explained Wiz Rooster.

Dazel called her group members and they huddled together.

"We are 8 birds; I suggest we pair up and find food and water and be back within the hour," said Dazel with determination, resolute to do well in this chore so that she could prove that she was a good and able leader.

"Oti the ostrich and Eva the eagle; Swain the swan and I; Rita the robin and Teak the woodpecker; and Davy the Dove and Pie the pigeon—let’s all spread out and meet as soon as possible," instructed Dazel.

"Excuse me, I don't want to pair up with this weird ostrich," said Eva nastily.

Oti the ostrich was silent.

"That is very rude," said Dazel, stunned by Eva's audacity.

"Well, I am rude, Ms. Goody-Two¬ Shoes Dazel!" sneered Eva.

"Okay, I'll pair up with Oti," said Swain hastily. "Let's not waste our time arguing. The other team has already started the food hunt."

Dazel understood the intelligence in Swain's advice. The team members separated and when they met again they had managed to collect coconuts and berries. However, when they saw the other group's collection, Dazel's mouth dropped in amazement. Not only had Candy's team managed to collect coconuts and berries but also grains and fruits.

Wiz Rooster assessed the camps of both the teams. As the sun was setting on the first day of the camp, the rooster declared, "The camp was set speedily by Candy's team and the food stash of her team is also more, thus Candy's team has emerged victorious in both the tasks."

Candy the canary and her team cheered in triumph while Dazel and her team remained silent and forlorn.

"Well, what can we expect when we have a duck for a team leader," muttered Eva the eagle. Dazel blushed in embarrassment. Was she really such a bad leader?

The Adventures of D'Land
Animated Series

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