Mystery of unripe mangoes

The heat is sweltering,“ remarked Dazel as she dipped her head repeatedly into the clear lake water.

“Yes,” agreed Delma. “I’m so glad I live in the water,” she added as she splashed her tail causing a spray of water from the silvery surface.

“I want a chilled drink of lemonade,” sighed Din Din. “But I don’t want to be the one to squeeze the lemons.”

The three friends laughed. They all remembered how Din Din and his brothers had set up a kiosk of lemonade for sale for a weekend and how exhausting it had been.

“My brother Derek is experimenting with different drinks,” Din Din shared with his friends. “Ways to beat the heat! He made me taste a juice made from unripe green mangoes yesterday! It was simply delicious!”

“Oh my,” said Dazel smacking her lips. “How tangy and energising that sounds!”

“Get some for us tomorrow, Din Din,” pleaded Delma.

“Sure, even though Derek is very possessive about his creations,” Din Din said with a laugh.

The next day was a Sunday and Derek was busy in the backyard brewing an interesting concoction. Din Din wandered up to him and said, “Do you have some more of the green mango juice? I wanted to take some for my friends.”

“What do I get in return?” Derek said without looking up from his experiment.

“Oh!” said Din Din before he could check himself. He hadn’t expected his own brother to ask for some sort of payment. “How about …” But before he could finish Derek looked up at him. “Do you know where to get these unripe mangoes?”

Din Din shook his head, bewildered. “Have you seen any on trees?” Derek continued as he glared at his elder brother. “No…actually I’ve always seen ripe, yellow ones,” confessed Din Din.

“Exactly! You see, unripe mangoes need to be hunted for. And if they begin to ripen they lose their tangy taste and become sweet,” explained Derek passionately.

“Where do you get them?” questioned Din Din.

Derek did not answer. “That is for me to know and you to find out. It’s a business secret!” Din Din was taken aback. It wasn’t like Derek to keep secrets from him. In fact, even when they had begun their lemonade sale venture, Derek and his brothers had wanted Din Din’s help.

Din Din watched as Derek turned back to pouring some chilled water into the container which held green mango pulp. Din Din’s interest was piqued. Where was Derek getting these delicious and rare, green, unripe mangoes from?

Early the next morning, when Din Din woke up for school he saw Derek wasn’t on his bunk bed.

“Where’s Derek, Ma?” asked Din Din as he wandered into the kitchen.

“He said he had to reach school early,” Mrs. Dee replied as she prepared banana porridge for breakfast.

“That’s strange,” wondered Din Din to himself as he slurped on his bowl of porridge.

“Derek usually has a hard time waking up on Monday morning and he’s left for school so early. I bet he’s gone to pick his unripe mangoes.”

“Ma, tell Dave and Don to walk to school themselves. I have to reach school early too,” said Din Din as he gave his mother a quick peck on her cheek.

The ground was damp thanks to the heavy dew which fell in Fruit Park early in the morning. Din Din decided to follow Derek’s foot prints. As he had suspected, the prints did not lead in the direction of the Terrestrial School. They led towards the low Southern hills.

Soon Din Din reached a grove of fruit trees. Suddenly, he heard a moaning sound.

“Derek?” called out Din Din. “Is that you?” As he made his way towards the sound, he saw Derek sprawled under a mango tree, his foot twisted at a strange angle.

“What happened, Derek?” asked Din Din as he rushed to his younger brother. “I…I was climbing the tree to pick mangoes. The…the unripe ones are further up. I slipped…,” stammered Derek, his face distorted with pain.

“Don’t worry, I’ll carry you back home,” assured Din Din. He helped Derek onto his back even though Din Din staggered under his weight.

“You’ll get tired, Din Din. I’m too heavy,” said Derek as they began to make their way down towards their home.

“You’re in no condition to walk,” said Din Din. “Don’t worry, I’ll manage.” It took Din Din an hour to finally make it home.

“Din Din, Derek!” their mother cried out in concern. “What happened?”

Din Din was panting and could not answer until he had put Derek on his bed. “We will need to show Derek to a doctor,” Din Din said finally as he wheezed to catch his breath.

“I’ll fetch Dr. Trish,” said Grandfather.

While they waited for the doctor, Derek murmured to Din Din. “Thank you, my dearest brother. I don’t know what would have happened if you hadn’t come along.”

“It’s okay. Please rest,” comforted Din Din. “We will talk about it when you’re feeling better.”

When Dr. Trish arrived she immediately announced that Derek had fractured his ankle. “We will have to carry him to the clinic. I will put his leg in a cast which will stay for two months.”

“Oh dear!” exclaimed Mrs. Dee shaking her head in disbelief. “How did it happen, Din Din? Please, tell us.”

Derek looked at Din Din. Before Din Din could say anything Derek said, “I was climbing trees to pick mangoes. I fell and Din Din found me.”

“But why?” Mrs. Dee asked aghast. “You said you were going to school!”

“I’m sorry I lied. I discovered a grove of mango trees where unripe mangoes grow. I have been making and selling its juice since the last few days,” Derek explained, his head lowered in shame.

“I’ve told you so many times that this is your time to study, not earn,” said Mrs. Dee the disappointment evident on her face.

“It’s okay, Ma. Derek’s hurt right now. We will speak to him when he’s better,” said Din Din putting his arm around his mother.

That night Derek was restless due to the pain in his leg as well as the medicines he had been given. But he kept saying, “Thank you, Din Din,” repeatedly as he swerved in and out of sleep.

“It’s okay, Derek! At least I solved the mystery and know where you get unripe mangoes from,” Din Din joked in good humour as he sat beside his brother the entire night, nursing him back to health.

The Adventures of D'Land
Animated Series

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