The grand picnic

It was mid-summer time in D'Land a time when the air was balmy, the sun shone at its brightest and the breeze carried with it the scent of ripe fruits and blossoming flowers.

"It's so amazing to see all the creatures on picnics and playing games," sighed Dazel in contentment as she lazed around at the edge of the lake.

"Yes! Summer is the best time — time for a much-needed break from school and routine; time to indulge in hobbies and time for picnics and outings with friends," replied Din Din blissfully.

"I wish there was a way for all the creatures to do something together," said Delma as she nibbled on a mango slice which Din Din had popped into her mouth. "There are so many fascinating animals, birds and insects here whom I haven't even met."

"You know what? Maybe we can do that," squawked Dazel suddenly. "Let's arrange a mega summer picnic so that as many creatures as possible can make it."

"That is a great idea!" said Din Din, "But is it possible?"

"Well, if anyone can achieve this, it's Dazel!" exclaimed Delma with a smile. "It’s worth a try!"

"Okay then! I'll coordinate with Wiz Rooster. Anything on such a major scale has to have his approval," said Dazel, flapping her wings.

"And I'll talk to Olly the Octopus so that we can let all the aquatic animals know," said Delma.

"I'll talk to the dinosaurs in Fruit Park." said Din Din.

The three friends met again the next day and their chatter was nineteen to a dozen.

"Wiz Rooster loved the thought of everyone getting together. He has already started to pass the message along to the birds," said Dazel elatedly.

"Olly said he would pass the message along to the aquatic creatures as soon as we decide the day," joined in Delma.

"The dinosaurs needed a bit of encouragement to get out of Fruit Park but after some prodding from my parents, not only are they now ready to come, they have promised to get all the fruit for the picnic," said Din Din with a smile.

"Yay!" cheered the friends.

The day of the picnic was decided to be the coming Sunday so all the adult animals could join in. That gave them just five days to plan the biggest picnic D'Land had ever seen. But the three friends were motivated like never before. Their intention was common — for all the diverse creatures to be able to meet and mingle.

"The beach is a good venue. In that way, all the aquatic animals can make it, the ambiance will be perfect too," suggested Delma and everyone agreed.

"I've told everyone that they have to get something to eat to put on the picnic table," said Dazel.

The day before the picnic the three friends, along with a group of volunteers, set off to the site of the picnic. Din Din and his brothers dragged trunks of trees and made rows and rows of trestle tables for the food to be kept on while Dazel and Delma organized all the games the creatures would play.

Sunday dawned bright and sunny and the beach was alive with activity as creatures of all sizes — big, small and minute — poured in from all ends. Wiz Rooster and Olly supervised all the games and finally it was time to eat from the interesting range of fruit and grains and salads piled high on the tables. The aquatic animals were served on a rocky ledge at the edge of the salty sea water.

But the happy meal was interrupted by a cry from where the insects were dining. "I'd like to know why we weren't invited to this grand picnic?" The voice that came was squeaky yet resounding with authority. Dazel saw it was an ant who spoke, followed by a trail of ants behind her.

Wiz Rooster was trying to speak to the Queen Ant, "I apologise. The message was supposed to have been passed along."

"How could we have been overlooked? We are supposed to have colonised almost every landmass on Earth. Only the most inhospitable environs don't have ants — we thrive in most ecosystems — that means we are 'everywhere'," said the Queen Ant.

"How is it possible that out of the thousands of species of ants which inhabit D'Land, not even one knew about the picnic. It's a good thing we know how to sniff out food, thanks to our antennae," said the Queen Ant.

Wiz Rooster continued to apologize and finally the Queen Ant softened. She and her party of ants were invited to the picnic tables and offered food.

Once the crisis had passed Wiz Rooster came upto Dazel and whispered, "Who was responsible for inviting the insects?"

"I told the bees to pass the message along," Dazel said confused.

When the Queen Bee was asked, she said that she had asked the crickets to transmit the message and then the cycle continued.

"I believe it was a genuine mistake," sighed Wiz Rooster. "I guess everyone took it for granted that the ants had been invited. The only thing to do now is to be hospitable to them."

And all the creatures did just that. As the sun set and the creatures trudged towards their respective homes one at a time, exhausted and content, the three friends heaved a sigh of relief.

"It was an ambitious project but we did it!" said Delma.

"The only hitch was upsetting the ants," said Din Din.

"But Wiz Rooster handled it tactfully," replied Dazel. And once the ants had calmed down, I got to know that they were really sociable. Wiz Rooster was telling me that their success in surviving so many environments is due to their social organisation and their ability to modify habitats, tap resources, and defend themselves. They are fascinating, really!"

“All’s well that ends well!" cheered Delma. And her friends cheered in unison!

The Adventures of D'Land
Animated Series

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