The green eyed monster of envy

Dazel's crystal clear pond bordered by daisies and violets used to be a happy place but now Dazel did not even like to spend the wee hours of morning or night there. Her pond neighbours had always been like family to her but ever since the appearance of a new pond dweller, Dazel's home was not a welcoming place for her anymore.

Dazel washed herself early in the morning and hastily had her breakfast of grains. She had hoped to avoid her new neighbour but as had become the custom, he also woke up early.

"Good morning," chirped the black swan, Dazel's new neighbour, as he glided over to Dazel gracefully.

"Look at his feathers! Even early in the morning, he looks so unruffled and perfect," thought Dazel to herself.

"What are you having for breakfast?" Swain the black swan inquired.

"I was just leaving for school," replied Dazel abruptly.

At Aviary School too, Swain seemed to be the centre of attention. Even though he was a new admission, he seemed to attract new friends. She watched him interact with the teachers respectfully and fool around with other birds in the playground. Swain's sense of humour and quick smile had helped him become very popular.

Later that evening when Dazel was with her friends Din Din and Delma at the lake where Delma lived, she confessed to them, "Swain the swan really bothers me. I don't know what he thinks of himself. We have lived in the pond for ages but he comes and within a month begins to behave as if he has been around forever. Even at school he is made out to be so special," squawked Dazel agitatedly.

Delma looked at her feathered friend. "Dazel, do you think you might be jealous of Swain?"

"Jealous! Jealous?" Dazel looked aghast at the suggestion. "Why would I be jealous of Swain?"

Din Din quickly changed the subject, "Okay, dears. When do you all want to plan to go collect shells on the other side of the lake shore?"

Delma and Din Din kept the flow of conversation going but Dazel seemed uncharacteristically silent. That night Dazel was trying to put herself to sleep at her pond while the sounds of the crickets and other nocturnal creatures gave her comfort and company. Delma's words echoed in her mind.

"Do you think you might be jealous of Swain?"

Dazel cringed. She hated the fact that Delma might be right. She detested the fact that this green eyed monster of jealousy was gnawing away at her. "1 don't like feeling this way. I hate this tightening of my heart and the negative thoughts in my head. It's making me a surly and irritable creature."

Just then Ribbit, Dazel's frog friend jumped on a nearby lily pad.

"What's up, Dazel? Why aren't you asleep yet. Tomorrow's a school day," said Ribbit with a naughty whisper.

When Dazel did not give her usual cheery response, Ribbit became more solemn.

"Whatever's the matter, dear friend?" Ribbit said in concern as the stars twinkled like diamonds on the canopy of the dark sky above.

"I don't know what's happening to me?" replied Dazel morosely. "I have never felt this way, Ribbit, and I am embarrassed to even talk about it."

"Tell me please, Dazel. You have always counseled me in the past. Let me help you for a change. I might not be able to give you advice but I will be able to lend you a ear and listen. That in itself might help you feel better," said Ribbit earnestly.

After a protracted moment of silence Dazel said, "I have always been everyone's favourite character in this pond community. Even in school I was always Wiz Rooster's favourite and one of the most popular birds. But now with Swain's arrival, all that has changed. I seem to have taken a back seat and he seems to be everyone's favourite."

Ribbit listened in silence. The young frog knew that Dazel needed to be heard and needed to vent all her mixed feelings.

"You probably think I am so petty and small-hearted. I feel petty when I think like this. But what can I do to overcome this nasty sensation I am feeling," said Dazel in a teary voice.

Ribbit said after deep thought, "You know Dazel, you are still one of the most special creatures at our pond. We all adore you and your obliging nature. At school you are admired by all your bird friends for your energy and cooperation. I agree that Swain seems to have gained importance but that's because he, like you, is also very lovable. Can't there be more than one special creature around?"

"Yes. That's it, isn't it. And come to think of it Swain is so much like me," Dazel said in amazement.

"Yes, exactly," Ribbit exclaimed. "He is friendly and helpful and so popular—just like you. I think if you get to know him you will realize you have so much in common.”

The next morning as the sun rose Dazel swam to where Swain was having his breakfast, pecking at a few sunflower seeds. "Hi," said Dazel hesitantly.

Swain looked surprised to see Dazel because Dazel had been ignoring him for the last few weeks.

"Good morning," Swain replied politely.

"Care to go to Aviary School together?" said Dazel.

Swain grinned with pleasure. As they flew to school Swain said tentatively, "Ever since I moved to the pond everyone has welcomed me with open arms...but I have sensed reluctance from your end."

Dazel flushed with embarrassment. "I apologize if you have been hurt by anything I have said or done. I accept that I was unwelcoming. But I have realized I was wrong. Can we start over?"

"Of course," said Swain with relief. As the two birds landed at Aviary School, they could sense the beginning of a new friendship.

The Adventures of D'Land
Animated Series

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