Listening to your conscience

Din Din, are you coming to the beach" said Dazel cheerily as she swooped down near Din Din's home at Fruit Park in D'Land.

Din Din stepped out from the confines of his cave home but he looked glum.

"No, my friend, I can't. My mother has gone out for the day to make plum jam with the other female dinosaurs of Fruit Park and she won't be home until night fall," Din Din explained morosely. "And I have to stay home and babysit my brothers."

"Oh come on, Din Din. We had been planning to go to the beach since last week with Delma to look at the oysters which were washed ashore," exclaimed Dazel.

"Oh it's okay," came a voice from inside the cave. It was Derek, Din Din's younger brother. "We can take care of ourselves. You don't need to do us a favour. We aren't babies," Derek finished scornfully.

Din Din lost his temper. "Okay Dazel. If they don't need me, why should I spoil my day and sacrifice for them?"

In a huff Din Din set off towards Delma's lake. Dazel followed him quietly not knowing what to do.

From Delma's lake the three friends set off to the beach that Delma had discovered a few weeks ago. Delma swam alongside them as Din Din followed Dazel's low flight towards the white sandy beach. But Din Din was unable to relish the scenic route. He kept thinking about his brothers.

"I wonder if Derek and the others have had their lunch. Mum had asked me to heat the fruit stew for them. Now that I'm not around, I hope Derek won't try to be over smart and light a fire. He might burn himself!" he mused to himself in agitation.

"Here it is!" called out Delma from the water's edge. "See the sand, it’s like talcum powder. And have you ever seen such a turquoise hue of the water."

Din Din snapped out of his reverie. "Huh? Are we here already?" Din Din looked at the noisy dance of the lapping waves but it failed to give him pleasure.

Dazel waddled over to a group of oysters nestled near a few rocks. "Oh look! Oysters!" she cried out in pleasure. "This is exactly what we wanted to see! Come Din Din. Aren't they adorable?"

Delma swam up to Dazel and Din Din, near the ridge of rocks where the oysters lay. "You know, Olly the Octopus our teacher at Aquatic School, was saying that there are some oysters that can be eaten. However, these oysters here are pearl oysters."

"Oh wow! Are you saying that all these oysters have a pearl within?" exclaimed Dazel in excitement.

"No dear," replied Delma with a smile. "Each oyster does not produce pearls naturally. In fact, out of three tons of oysters, only three to four oysters produce perfect pearls."

"Din Din, you are awfully silent. Is anything the matter?" asked Delma gently.

Din Din sighed, "I'm feeling guilty for leaving my brothers alone. I've come here with you both but I can't enjoy anything. I'm worried about how they must be doing without me and I'm also feeling terrible because I've broken my mother's trust. She gave me a respon-sibility and I didn't do what an elder brother should," finished Din Din helplessly.

Dazel replied, "Din Din, if you want to go back, we can return. We don't want you to be miserable."

"No, my friends. This is my problem and I must face it. I want you both to enjoy your day at the beach. I can find my way back," said Din Din as he backed away.

Dazel flew after him but Delma stopped her, "Let him be by himself. He needs to think. He can follow his tracks back to the lake and then to Fruit park."

Din Din hurried back tracing his steps. All through his journey back he kept dwell¬ing on whether his brothers were safe. "I'll never forgive myself if anything happened to them. Oh! What will mother say when she returns to find them alone?"

Finally, Din Din arrived at his cave at Fruit Park breathless and agitated. To his relief, he saw Derek and his other brothers playing outside the cave with marbles.

"Oh, I'm so glad you all are safe," panted Din Din. Just then their mother came into the clearing of caves.

"Hello, dears. Did you all have a good day? Din Din, I hope these little ones didn't give you any trouble," she said with a tired smile.

Her words were greeted with silence. Din Din waited for his brothers to blurt out what had happened. But they did not say anything. Instead Derek replied, "Mother, everything was fine. You worry too much. Come let's go inside the cave; I hope you brought us some plum jam, its my favourite!"

As Din Din saw his brothers go inside their cave home, he felt wretched. That night he waited for his family to fall asleep and then quietly tip toed to his mother's bed.

"Mother," he whispered, "Can I speak to you."

His mother replied groggily, "What's the matter dear. Are you feeling unwell?"

"No Mother, please come out. There's something I want to confess," said Din Din solemnly.

His mother followed him outside the cave where the night breeze blew softly.

"Mother, I left Derek and the boys today to go to the beach with my friends," he said quietly, his green head bowed in shame.

"What?" his mother exclaimed startled.

"But I felt so guilty that I returned soon," Din Din added hurriedly. "Derek tried to cover for me and that's made me feel even more ashamed. Please, forgive me. I promise never to do something so irresponsible again."

Mother was silent for a moment. Din Din had expected her to yell at him but she said gently, "I'm so glad you listened to your conscience, dear." Then she explained. “The conscience is your inner voice which tells you what is right and wrong. If doing something makes you uncomfortable then that's your inner voice telling you it’s wrong. But the conscience has a soft voice; you need to listen to it very carefully. If you stop paying attention to it, it will eventually fade away."

Then she finished, "Din Din you listened to that voice and you were brave enough to confess your mistake. I'm proud of you dear." She hugged Din Din close and lead him inside their cozy cave.

The Adventures of D'Land
Animated Series

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