Prankster on the loose – Part 1

Dell, the beaver, had a new friend. “Meet Waldo, the weasel,” he said with a flourish as he introduced a furry, brown creature with a white belly.

The stranger stood on a slender body and short legs and bowed charmingly doffing his cap made out of a lily pad, “Hello! So pleased to meet your acquaintance.”

Waldo kissed Dazel’s wing captivatingly, saluted Din Din respectfully and bowed deeply to Delma. The three best friends had been bathing in the lake that evening when Dell had come along with the stranger.

“Charmed!” answered Dazel and Din Din grinned at the adorable creature. They all exchanged pleasantries and soon Dell and Waldo set off bidding them goodbye.

“There’s something I don’t like about this Waldo guy,” mused Delma thoughtfully as she gazed solemnly at the retreating pair.

“Why?” questioned Dazel incredulously.

“You know, he seems really slick and sly,” replied Delma.

“It’s really unlike you to form an opinion about someone so quickly,” remarked Din Din.

“Yes, that’s true. But if living alone has taught me anything it’s to rely on my gut instinct,” replied Delma.

“But he was so friendly?” argued Din Din.

“True,” was all Delma said but a frown creased her forehead.

The next morning Delma was finishing her early morning swimming laps when she heard an infuriated roar, “Who has been pulling out all my pumpkins. They were just about to ripen!” Delma peered near the lake bank to see what was causing all the uproar.

It was Burrow, the rabbit, who cultivated the best vegetable and fruit garden in all of D’Land. He was an expert gardener and took painstaking care of his plants.

“It’s some mischief-maker!” Burrow bellowed. His family of rabbits was standing by the wrecked pumpkin beds with lowered heads, bearing the brunt of the elder rabbit’s wrath. The entire clan of rabbits helped Burrow maintain his prized garden and was equally upset because of the damage which had been done.

Even before the mystery of the stolen pumpkins could be unraveled, there was another crisis to handle.

“The coconut shells we had hung on the trees for the birds to drink water from in summers have been deliberately dismantled,”

Din Din said, seething with rage when he came to meet Delma and Dazel in the evening at the lakeside. “It took us ages to set them up again.”

“And you won’t believe it. Today someone trampled over all the picked berries which we had stored near the Aviary School. The berries were to make jam from and store for the cafeteria for the new school term in August. Wiz Rooster is very upset at the waste of food.”

“All these strange mishaps in one day?” mulled Delma. “This is sabotage!”

Just then Dell passed by the lake bank with his weasel friend. The pair was giggling and sniggering, engrossed in their whispered conversation. They didn’t even see the trio of friends at the lakeside.

“Did you see their feet?” whispered Dazel who never missed any details.

“What?” Delma and Din Din asked in unison.

“Their feet were scarlet!” Dazel urged. “The berries! They must have trampled over them.”

“Wait,” Dazel said and without another word flew off in a flutter of yellow feathers. She was back in a flash.

“I just saw the footprints near Burrow’s pumpkin patch. There are two pairs of small footprints — a weasel’s prints with its five clawed foot and a beaver’s webbed track. Most of the prints had been wisely swept away.”

“Why would they do something like this?” asked Delma aghast. “Is it some kind of revenge? And for what?”

“Some creatures just possess a mean streak!” mused Din Din. “They want to cause trouble. What I can’t understand is why Dell should do something like this?”

“Dell’s fallen into bad company, that’s all. We know he’s an imp and very naughty but he’s never done something to deliberately hurt someone,” justified Delma. “It’s the weasel! I had a gut feeling that he spelt trouble.”

Dazel shared, “Your instincts about weasels encouraged me to read up on them at the Aviary School library this morning. I found out that weasels are considered bad luck. They might look small and furry but they’re actually pretty ruthless. They can grab a prey which may be bigger than its own size, wrap its muscular body around the animal to immobilize it and then deliver a single killing bite to the back of the head, puncturing the skull or spinal cord. They stash their leftover preys in dens. Like skunks they let out stink bombs to protect themselves.” “That sounds dangerous. Does Dell have any idea what kind of creature Waldo is?” exclaimed Delma. “We must talk to him.”

That night Delma swam towards the beaver’s dam. A host of beaver families lived there.

“Dell!” Delma called out.

The young beaver popped his furry head out of one opening in the dam. “Hey there, my dolphin friend! What brings you here? Aren’t you an early-to-bed-early-to-rise type?”

“Yes, I wanted to speak to you. Do you have a moment? I…,” Delma began. “Helloooo, it’s the delightful dolphin!” came another voice as Waldo’s head popped out from another opening.

“Oh! Waldo! Wha…what are you doing here?” stammered Delma, taken aback.

“I’m living with the beavers,” Waldo replied with a smirk. “They are such charming hosts.”

“May I speak to you alone, Dell?”

Delma said determined not to give up.

“Anything you want to say can be said in front of Waldo. We have no secrets, Delma,” Dell remarked casually.

“Umm… I was wondering if you’re planning to go to the reef? I wanted to come along,” Delma said changing the subject.

“Sure, we can go tomorrow,” replied Dell good-naturedly. “Waldo, you’ll love the reef. It’ll be great fun!”

Waldo stared at Delma pointedly, “Yes, I’d love that!”

When Delma turned towards her home she was flabbergasted. “What can I do to talk some sense into Dell?”

She wondered. “He has to realize Waldo is bad news.”

The Adventures of D'Land
Animated Series

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