The injured arctic tern

Despite it being a Sunday, Dazel was up early and her restless spirit had taken her to the lake to meet Delma who was also an early riser.

“What a storm last night!” Dazel exclaimed to her best friend. “But the sky is clear now and the sun is out!”

“Din Din must be snoozing in his loft. If he knew we were up so early on a Sunday he would disown us,” chuckled Delma as the two friends bathed themselves in the cool crystal-clear lake water. The aroma of the damp soil around them on the lake bank was soothing.

“I feel like eating something sweet for breakfast,” said Dazel wistfully.

“I have mangoes stashed away! They’re in the coldest waters of the lake. Come!” and with those words, the dolphin knifed through the water. With a squawk of pleasure, Dazel flew above the sparkling water until they reached a cove adjacent to the Aquatic School.

“The water in this cove is really cold as it is under the cliffs. I use this place to store the fruit Din Din brings me,” explained Delma as they sucked on the juicy, chilled mangoes while seated on the rocks outside the cove.

“These are so succulent!” replied Dazel dreamily smacking her bill.

Suddenly, Dazel’s sharp eyes spotted something in the morning sunlight.

“Delma! Is …is that blood?” she whispered hoarsely.

Delma swung around to look. Dazel flew onto the rocks and saw spots of bright, scarlet blood. She also heard the sound of whimpering. She peeked around the pile of rocks. Without warning, a red-beaked bird attacked her. Dazel yelped and flew away.

Delma followed her in alarm, “What was it, Dazel? Are you alright?” the dolphin cried.

Dazel had landed on the water surface, her webbed feet paddling furiously beneath her.

“It was a bird—a grey and white bird with a black nape. It had a red beak and feet! I think it injured my wing! Ouch!” winced Dazel as she raised her wing gingerly.

“Who could attack like that without provocation?” wondered Delma.

“I’m going to find out!” fumed Dazel. Without paying heed to Delma’s protests, she flew over the pile of rock and circled closer.

Soon she landed back near Delma, “There are two birds—I have never seen such birds before in D’Land! One of them is injured. Its wing is bleeding. We must get help.” Delma nodded and without another word swam towards where Dr. Owl lived. The owl had a host of patients even though it was a Sunday, yet, he excused himself when Delma called out to him from the lake bank.

“It’s a bird bleeding near the coves!” the dolphin explained breathlessly. “I’ll come at once,” said Dr. Owl as he grabbed his knapsack woven from jute, which had all his medicinal herbs and ointments.

When they reached the coves, Dazel was waiting for them. “I tried to reason with them so they would allow me to come to them and help, but the birds seem to be petrified.”

“Let me handle it,” the owl said. He flapped his wings and hovered above the birds hidden behind the rocks.

“I know one of you is hurt? I’m a doctor—a healer; let me help!” the owl said in his gruff yet soothing voice.

The injured bird was nearly unconscious, its white wing now had a shade of deep red. Its friend now looked terrified. It nodded at the owl.

Dr. Owl landed near the injured bird. Dazel also flew closer, careful not to upset the strange birds. The doctor examined the hurt bird. “Her wing is broken and bruised. The wound is deep. I will have to clean it and cover it with a calendula paste.”

Turning to the other bird, the owl asked, “How did she get hurt?”

“I must fetch the calendula paste from my clinic. In the mean time I will apply these birch leaves to relieve her pain,” the doctor said. “Dazel, come with me.”

It was Dazel who helped Dr. Owl apply the paste onto the bleeding wing and make a soft bed of grass and hay for Isa. Her partner, Mina, was grateful for the sunflower seeds Dazel gave them to feed on.

Dazel stayed with the pair of Arctic Terns the entire night and only left to attend her classes at Aviary School the next morning. When she returned in the evening, Isa was feeling better.


“Thank you so much,” Mina said gratefully to Dazel. “I’m sorry for attacking you. I was afraid of the strange surroundings. We, Arctic Terns, spend most of our time in flight; we fly for more than 20,000 km each year from one pole to the other. We see two summers a year and more daylight than any other creature. This land of yours is strange to us.”

“That is fascinating! What an adventurous life you lead,” said Dazel impressed. Mina smiled, “Yes, it is!”

“Dr. Owl said that it will take a few weeks for Isa’s wings to heal,” said Dazel. “Please, consider D’Land as your home in the meantime. Once Isa is better you can move to the pond where I live with other creatures.”

“Thank you again!” Mina replied.

It’s natural for birds and animals to migrate; but have your ever wondered what it could be like to immigrate to another country? Write to us at

The Adventures of D'Land
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