The energy tonic

Delma was surprised when she saw Olly look perturbed. The octopus who had been her teacher and was a father figure, always appeared calm and collected but today the lines of worry were visible on his brow.

“Sir, is everything okay?” the dolphin asked.

“It’s Olenda,” confessed Olly. “She hasn’t been feeling too well recently.” Delma was immediately anxious, “What’s wrong with Mrs. Olly, Sir?” she asked in concern.

Mrs. Olly had taken good care of Delma when she had been living at their home for many months. It had been a tough time for Delma who had been suffering from nightmares. The dolphin requested if she could visit Mrs. Olly. Olly nodded and led Delma inside the series of caves where the octopus couple lived. Their daughter, Olivia, who was married to Luke the lake trout, was also with her mother.

Delma was immediately alarmed when she saw a pale-faced Mrs. Olly lying on the rock shelf in the cave. Olivia was fretting about her mother trying to make her comfortable.

“Has a doctor seen her?” Delma asked Olly.

He shook his head, “She refuses to go see any doctor. I requested Dr. Owl to come near the lake bank so I could take Olenda there but she doesn’t agree.”

“Mrs. Olly, please,” pleaded Delma. “You have to see a doctor.”

“I’m fine,” argued Olenda feebly, waving a tentacle to dismiss their fears. Olly, Olivia and Delma finally coaxed Mrs. Olly to come to the lake bank. Delma swam swiftly to the lake bank and requested Dazel, who had come to meet her, to fly and fetch Dr. Owl. In twenty minutes the owl was at the lakeside and heard Delma explain Mrs. Olly’s condition. Just then Mrs. Olly swam up to the rock slowly, assisted by her daughter and Olly.

After a thorough examination Dr. Owl shook his head, “Physically she seems to be fine but I suspect she is feeling weak and drained. This lack of energy or lethargy can be combated with her eating right things so that her body doesn’t lack essential minerals and vitamins.”

“I don’t feel like eating much doctor,” shared Mrs. Olly. “My appetite seems to have disappeared.”

“Hmmm… well the only option seems to be a health tonic which will provide essential nutrients to your body and make you feel better,” remarked Dr. Owl.

“My mother has always been very active. It’s very strange to see her like this,” sniffed Olivia.

“One of the reasons is that she could be experiencing a burn-out due to over-exertion,” suggested Dr. Owl.

“Where is this tonic available?” asked Delma.

“Well, that is the problem. It’s not available,” Dr. Owl frowned. “I have a recipe for it but many of the herbs and plants required are not easily available.”

“What plants are they?” asked Delma. ’I will ask Din Din if he has them in his garden or even Flame the flamingo, the gardening maestro who has a humungous nursery in the tropical jungle. He is famed to have every imaginable flora growing in his nursery.

“You might just be right,” mused Dr. Owl.

“Please give me the list of the plants required as well as the recipe for the tonic,” Delma said and the doctor agreed.

The next day Delma handed over a list to Din Din at the lakeside.

“Stinging Nettle, Alfalfa, Oat Straw, Siberian Ginseng and Slippery Elm,” Delma read the list aloud, from the banana leaf on which it was inscribed.

“I have Alfalfa growing in my garden but I haven’t even heard of these other plants,” the dinosaur said. Looking at Delma’s concerned look, he added quickly, “I will got to Flame and ask him.”

“I’ll accompany you,” Dazel, the duck, was quick to add. Delma smiled in relief, “Thank you my dears. This means so much to Olly and me. They are the only family I have apart from you both.”

“We know,” nodded Dazel in compassion, understanding Delma’s need for a family. When Din Din and Dazel reached Flame’s exotic garden, the blooms they saw took their breath away.

“What brings you both here?” asked Flame curiously. The flamingo was a loner and enjoyed his privacy. Burrow the rabbit, the flamingo’s apprentice, was the only one allowed into this glorious and exclusive garden.

“Sorry Sir,” apologised Din Din, “But I’m afraid it’s an emergency.” Quickly, they explained Mrs. Olly’s condition to the flamingo and asked him if he had the desired herbs.

“Yes, I do have them,” said Flame,

“These herbs are certainly rich in iron, protein, calcium, phosphorus and vitamins and I do hope they will help Mrs. Olly feel better.”

Soon armed with bunches of fragrant herbs which Flame had painstakingly snipped from his garden, Din Din walked back to his cave home. “Ma! I’ve got the herbs and the recipe. We need to grind them together in a certain proportion carefully to make a paste,” he hollered urgently.

Mrs. Dee, Din Din’s mother, was a confectioner and had a way with measurements. “I think I can handle this, Din Din. I will just need you to pluck the leaves from the stems and wash them carefully. I will grind them.”

It took two days to make the paste and once prepared, Din Din carried it to Dr. Owl in a small straw-woven basket. The owl tasted it thoughtfully, “Yes, I think this just might do,” he said finally. “Let’s just hope for the best. I can’t believe that Flame gave you these herbs so easily. These are rare herbs and very difficult to grow.”

“I’m very obliged to him,” Din Din said. “We must think of a way to thank him.”

“But right now it is important to get these to Mrs. Olly,” Dr. Owl said.

Din Din took the basket to Delma that evening and Delma hugged her dinosaur friend. “You are the best! Please thank your mother too.”

Wrapping the basket in a banana leaf, Delma swam towards the octopus’ home in the underwater caves in the lake.

“She is supposed to take a fingerful of this paste three times a day,” Delma repeated Dr. Owl’s instructions to Mrs. Olly. “I will personally come to give it, so that you don’t forget to take this tonic on time” she addressed Mrs. Olly.

In a week’s time, Mrs. Olly was feeling well enough to enjoy food and her body aches were gone.

“You look well,” commented Delma that Sunday as she gave her the medicine.

“My dear, this is all because of the efforts of you and your friends,” Mrs. Olly said.

“Actually, you were the reason this tonic was developed, but it has helped many other elderly people. Din Din’s grandparents and even Wiz Rooster have started taking it,” said Delma with a smile.

“Mrs. Dee’s business has branched out and she is getting so many orders for this tonic. And do you know what she calls it? `Olenda’s Tonic’!”

As Mrs. Olly laughed in delight, Delma and Olly looked on smiling.

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