Sleepless in D’land!

Delma tossed and turned in the lake water, the moonlight casting a glow around her. It had been a week since she had been experiencing trouble sleeping.

“Why do you look so tired?” asked Dazel the duck, the following day.

“I’m suffering from insomnia,” said Delma with a frown. “I can’t sleep a wink at night. It’s so frustrating.”

“How can anyone not be able to sleep?” Din Din thought aloud. “I’m in dreamland as soon as my head hits my pillow.”

“You are lucky, Din Din,” said Delma ruefully. “I never realized what a blessing sleep is until now.”

“Are you worried about something?” questioned Din Din with concern. “Anxiety or stress could be the reason for insomnia.”

“Not particularly. It’s vacation time these days, so there is no school-related stress either,” answered Delma thoughtfully.

“But there must be a cure to this problem,” insisted Dazel who was never one to accept things without a fight. “Let’s go consult Dr. Owl!”

So Dazel flew off to Dr. Owl’s clinic which was located in an old oak tree trunk. “I’ll pay Delma a visit this evening,” the wise bird promised.

After sunset, Dr. Owl flew to the lakeside, his large bulging eyes glinting in the moon’s light. “Hello Delma, my friend. What seems to be the problem?” the bird said kindly as he peered into Delma’s eyes.

“Thank you for coming to see me, Dr. Owl,” the dolphin said gratefully, explaining her problem.

“Tell me your routine these days, Delma. It is vacation time so how do you spend your day?” the owl inquired.

“Well, I wake up before sunrise and take my morning laps. After breakfast I fool around doing stunts and acrobats with my friends, the flying fish. We have lunch together and then I return home. I paint a bit and in the evening Dazel and Din Din come to the lake and we hang out until sundown,” she recounted diligently.

“You have an active day so you should be tired enough to fall asleep at once,” remarked Dr. Owl thoughtfully.

“Exactly, sleeplessness has never been an issue with me,” agreed Delma vehemently.

“If stress is not a problem and your routine is also healthy, I don’t understand what the matter could be,” said the doctor. “You are young and I don’t want to give you sleeping herbs for your condition.”

“Sleeping herbs?” asked Delma, intrigued.

“Yes, passion flower is a plant which has chemicals which calms the body, causes sleepiness and relaxes muscles,” explained Dr. Owl. “I usually prescribe the medicine I make from passion flower to elderly patients. I don’t want to give it to you because you might become too dependent on it.”

“Is there nothing else that can be done?” asked Delma glumly.

“Is there any noise or light which interferes with your sleep?” asked the doctor.

“Well, the fireflies keep flickering and the crickets and wolves make a noise in the distance but it’s never bothered me before. Now that I stay awake I notice it,” remarked Delma.

“I can give you a cover for your eyes; tie it around your head so that the complete darkness helps you fall asleep and it will also serve to block out the noise,” suggested Dr. Owl.

Delma tried tying the piece of black jute around her eyes and ears but that too did not work. The following day when Dr. Owl came to visit her again she was dismal.

“What should I do now?” the poor dolphin asked, But the doctor had no more ideas. “What about the passion flower medicine?” asked Delma cautiously.

“No,” Dr. Owl shook his head vehemently. “That’s the absolute last resort!”

So after a long sleepless night, when Delma met her friends, Din Din and Dazel the next day, her eyelids looked heavy and lethargic.

“Here, these are the chocolates you had ordered from my mom,” said Din Din. “Maybe they will help you feel better.”

“Thanks, Din Din,” said Delma. “These chocolates are the only company I have during my long nights.”

“Din Din, does the passion flower grow in your garden?” Delma continued hesitantly.

“Yes, it does,” replied Din Din. “Can I have a few stalks please,” the dolphin continued.

“Sure,” obliged Din Din. So, the next day Din Din brought a bluish-purple flowering plant with long roots and leaves.

“Why do you need it Delma?” asked Dazel as she saw Din Din hand over the flower to Delma.

“Umm…just a project,” the dolphin replied evasively.

That night, Delma, in her frustration and desperation to fall asleep, chewed the entire passion flower. Soon, she was so drowsy that she did not even realize when she fell asleep.

The next day, the flying fish were surprised when their dolphin friend did not turn up to play with them in the morning.

When Din Din and Dazel came to the lakeside that evening, they saw Delma floating on her belly, gently snoring. They were alarmed.

“Delma…,” Din Din shook the dolphin. Dazel pecked at her thick skin but Delma continued to sleep.

“Let’s fetch Dr. Owl,” Din Din suggested nervously.

Dazel flew off to Dr. Owl’s clinic and before long she was back with the doctor. “What has she had?” asked the doctor.

“I have no idea,” said her friends. “She asked for the passion flower…,” began Din Din.

“Oh no!” cried Dr. Owl. “We must try to wake her up.” So Din Din, Dazel and Dr. Owl shook Delma with all their might. Dr. Owl gave her a medicine to make her vomit.

The next morning Delma was awake and extremely ashamed.

“What made you eat the passion flower even though I had warned you not to do so, Delma,” scolded Dr. Owl.

“We were so worried,” cried Din Din and Dazel.

“I was so desperate,” the dolphin said bowing her head. “The lack of sleep was not making me think sensibly.”

“I have figured out what’s been giving you sleepless nights,” continued Dr. Owl. “Din Din told me how you have been ordering chocolates from his mother. For how long have you been feasting on chocolates? And how many do you have?”

“Since a few weeks. I have a whole bar every night,” replied Delma, confused.

“Then my dear, it’s the caffeine in the chocolates which is keeping you up,” said the owl with a smile.

“Really!” said Delma with relief. “Yes, too much of anything is not good,” the owl said wisely.

The Adventures of D'Land
Animated Series

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