Healing the arctic tern

“Here they come,” squawked Dazel as she saw her best friend Din Din approach. On his back were perched two grey-white birds with black necks and red beaks.

As Din Din helped the birds off his back, Dazel introduced the pair to her pond neighbours. “This is Mina and Isa — they are Arctic Terns — special birds who fly from the Arctic to the Antarctic. They spend most of their time in flight and fly for more than 20,000 km each year from one pole to the other. They experience two summers a year and more daylight than any other creature,” chattered Dazel.

“So how did the two of you reach D’Land?” asked Grandfather Frog.

Mina explained how they had experienced a storm while in flight and had to land here.

Isa showed her injured wing. “It’s taken two weeks for my wing to heal. All thanks to Dazel and her friends who discovered us. Dr. Owl has been regularly treating my wound.”

“Are you feeling better now,” asked Grandfather Frog in concern.

“Yes, I can flap my wing now. But I do feel a bit weak and we have a long journey to make to the Antarctic,” Isa added gravely.

“I have invited them here to the pond so they may experience a change of place. They have been near the coves for the past two weeks and were getting lonely,” Dazel explained.

“Come, I have dinner prepared. Din Din has brought the juiciest mangoes from Fruit Park and I have picked lots of wild berries.”

So the three birds and Din Din enjoyed a cozy meal behind the rocks of the pond. At sun down Din Din bid them farewell.

“Would you like to accompany me to the Aviary School for Birds tomorrow?” asked Dazel as they settled to sleep. “I have already taken permission from Wiz Rooster. You’ll really be fascinated to meet a lot of other birds.”

“Yes, certainly,” replied Mina at once in delight. But Isa was reluctant. “I’d rather rest. I wish to be careful and not exert myself.”

So the next morning when Dazel left for school Isa was still asleep.

“Because we travel so much we hardly get time for school,” Mina said wistfully to Dazel.

Dazel replied eagerly, “I also wish for you and Isa to benefit from the school. Do come.”

“I’d love to but…,” Mina said shaking her head forlornly. At school Swain, the black swan, inquired about the terns. “I thought you were bringing them to school?” he quizzed.

“Yes, I wanted to but I’m getting the feeling that Isa — the injured tern — has become very wary,” Dazel mused.

When Dazel returned to the pond that afternoon, Isa was lying on a bed of grass near the edge of the pond.

“What’s the matter?” Dazel inquired in alarm.

“I just want to go home,” moaned Isa. “Mina, take me home!”

Mina looked at Dazel apologetically, “She’s been homesick — but she is terrified that her wings will not carry her to the Antarctic. Dr. Owl has given me some herbs to calm her and put her to sleep.”

When Isa had finally fallen asleep in the evening, Mina sat with Dazel at the edge of the pond, tears glistening in her eyes, “Isa and I are sisters and I know her better than anyone else, so it really disturbs me to see her behave so strangely ever since she had her accident. On one hand she yearns to return to the poles and on the other she is afraid to make the long journey.”

“You mean she wasn’t always like this?” inquired Dazel.

“No,” said Mina shaking her head, “Isa was so daring but I think her accident has sapped her off her spunk. I really do think she needs someone’s advice; an elder to give her some courage to move ahead.”

“I know just the creature — Wiz Rooster is the principal of the Aviary School and I have never met anyone wiser,” Dazel replied at once.

“Convincing Isa to go to him is going to be a huge task,” Mina said shaking her head.

But Dazel had a plan. The next morning Dazel had prepared a huge breakfast and shook Isa and Mina awake. “It’s pond clean-up day today so all of us have to vacate the premises as soon as possible so that the frogs will spring clean. It’s the perfect opportunity for you to accompany me to school.”

It was a reluctant Isa and a delighted Mina who went to Aviary School with Dazel.

Dazel introduced them to Wiz Rooster.

“Welcome to D’Land and to Aviary School. I invite you both to attend classes here while you are in this land,” the rooster said solemnly.

Wiz Rooster showed the two terns around. Mina was enthralled by how organized the school was. The library delighted her and the cafeteria made her exclaim in awe. But what seemed to impress Isa was Wiz Rooster. She seemed to hang on to every word the old rooster said and asked him several questions.

“I hope your wing is not bothering you,” Wiz Rooster turned to look at Isa compassionately as they sat down in his office.

“Dr. Owl was telling me how brave you are. In a matter of two weeks you have recovered tremendously. My respect to your willpower.”

Isa seemed too overwhelmed to reply. “T…thank you,” she finally stammered.

“I know your wing will take a few more weeks to heal completely so that you can make your long flight. May I suggest you make the most of your time here and attend school? Everything happens for a reason — this must be a reason why you landed here in D’Land. You can learn from your experience here and begin a school back home,” Wiz Rooster suggested in his soothing tone.

“I think you are right,” Isa whispered. She turned Mina, “Mina, you are right. We should go to school in the time we are here.

Mina nuzzled her sister’s black neck, “Oh Isa! I’m so glad to have you back!” Turning to Wiz Rooster Mina said, “Thank you, Sir. We would be honoured to learn from you. When can we begin?”

“Why not today!” smiled Wiz Rooster.

The Adventures of D'Land
Animated Series

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