Rebuilding with a smile

The first rays of the sun pierced the dark sky. With the arrival of dawn all the animals bathed themselves and breakfasted to refresh themselves for a new day.

The aftermath of the tornado was destruction of their homes and schools. Yet, the creatures, guided by their elders and leaders like Wiz Rooster, Olly the Octopus and Old Rex the dinosaur, had systematically begun to restart their lives.

The new premises of Aviary School and Terrestrial School were being built and all the birds and four footed critters were helping with this reconstruction. The younger birds resumed their schooling near the lakeside while the terrestrial animals continued their learning in the orchards of Fruit Park. Luckily, Aquatic School had remained unharmed from the tornado's fury.

A group of creatures including the aquatic animals were rebuilding the bridge which had connected the two ends of the wide lake.

After noon, the animals and their young set off to work on remaking their homes. Some birds like the robins, bluebirds, wrens and swallows collected their twigs, leaves and straw to build their homes on the trees. The eagles built their eyries. The ostriches, falcons, pheasants and partridges dug scrapes in the ground. The burrowing animals like the rabbits, moles and marsupials had begun to form their underground homes. The dinosaurs were clearing up rocky debris which had littered and blocked the caves of Fruit Parks.

It was all hard work and the animals were naturally upset by all this disarray.

These days the three elders — the rooster, octopus and dinosaur met every night to discuss the progress D'Land was making. "Everyone is so solemn all the time," Wiz Rooster reflected as they assembled at the lakeside.

"Yes," Olly agreed from his vantage point on a rock. "Infact, I can feel that the creatures are taking out their frustration on each other. Spats and tantrums have broken out from time to time."

"It has just been a week since the tornado; all these reactions are natural. What we can do is think of a way to cheer everyone up?" Old Rex thought aloud.

"What we need is some food for the soul...something like an art competition for the younger creatures!" mused Wiz Rooster.

The other two elders listened eagerly.

"Let's plan an art competition where the young creatures will draw and paint their vision of a newly built D'Land. The imagination and creativity of young minds will infuse hope in everyone," explained the rooster.

"This might just be what all creatures need," remarked Olly. "Let's hold the contest at the lakeside," suggested Wiz Rooster.

"I'll make sure that all the teachers at Terrestrial School inform and encourage their students to participate in this contest," said Old Rex.

By mutual consent it was decided that the contest would take place on the following Sunday. Banners were put up at all three schools which read:

"Come and Paint your Vision of a New and Improved D’Land."

Din Din, Dazel and Delma were filled with excitement at the news. They volunteered to help in the arrangements of the contest. Din Din, aided by other dinosaurs, collected sheaves of large banana leaves which would serve as the surface on which to paint on.

"The creatures have been instructed to bring their own plant dyes, inks reeds and feathers," explained Delma to the volunteers who were playing a part in organizing the event.

Sunday dawned bright and sunny. Before long the lakeside was swarming with participants.

Wiz Rooster perched himself on the podium and cleared his throat, "Welcome young artists! We have been through a difficult few days, yet it is important for our minds and souls to be refreshed through art. Come and paint your dream version of D'Land so that we may rise from the ashes better than before."

These words seemed to charge the atmosphere with hope and anticipation. For the next few hours the young creatures remained bent over their drawings. Before long it was noon and time to submit their work.

"We would like to invite all the artists to display their work by hanging them off the branches of this huge oak tree which has miraculously survived the storm," explained Old Rex.

Soon hundreds of colouful drawings were suspended from the huge tree. The adults now took turns taking a look at the imaginative vision of their young offspring. Someone had painted a D'Land with tall bridges. Another had sketched a D'Land built completely inside the caverns. One young bird had drawn D'Land built on wooden houses on trees while someone else had envisioned all the critters living around the lakeside in a colony.

By evening, the inhabitants of D'Land were smiling and exchanging good natured jokes.

"What a fantastic response!" began Olly the Octopus as he sat on a rock on the lakeside and addressed the gathering. "These drawings tell us how hopeful our youngsters are. They see the potential of an even better and more prosperous D'Land. The only thing we need is the spirit and drive to forge ahead slowly yet steadily. We have our health and each other — so nothing is lost!" When the birds and animals of D'Land returned to their half-built homes that evening, there was a spring in their step and a light of hope shone in their eyes.

We will all be fine!" remarked Wiz Rooster as he saw the creatures disperse and the breeze ruffle the drawings which hung from the old oak.

The Adventures of D'Land
Animated Series

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