The jackals invade fruit park - Part 1

Din Din was doing homework outside his cave home in Fruit Park. A slight sound made him look up from his work. He watched the berry bushes rustle with movement and saw a group of golden jackals step into the dinosaur park.

“Maybe they are here to visit one of the dinosaur families,” Din Din wondered to himself.

“Who is that, Din Din,” his brother Derek, who was playing with marbles, asked him.

“I don’t know,” replied Din Din. The brothers went back to their work.

That night, while Din Din and his family were having dinner, someone knocked on their cave wall.

It was one of Din Din’s father’s friends. Din Din watched as his father talked to the other dinosaur in low voices. When his father returned to the dining table, he whispered something in Din Din’s mother’s ears. Mrs. D also got up from the table abruptly, a worried frown on her face.

“What’s the matter?” asked Din Din in alarm.

“Nothing…nothing dear,” said Mrs. D. “Your father and I have to go for a meeting at Old Rex’s cave. You all please finish your dinner and wash the dishes. Don’t wait up for us. We might be a little late.”

Din Din and his brothers Derek, Dave and Don nodded in agreement but they too had lost their appetite. As they cleared up the table, Don, the youngest, asked Din Din, “What’s happened, Din Din?”

“An emergency meeting, so late at night,” mused Derek. “Surely, it’s something important.”

Din Din’s mind raced. “I wonder what’s wrong,” he thought to himself.

The brothers soon fell asleep. When they woke up the next morning, their father had already left home and their mother was cooking breakfast.

“Hello Ma!” greeted Din Din. “What was the meeting for last night? Is everything alright?”

Mrs. D tried to smile in answer but her mouth wobbled and a tear trickled down her green cheek.

“Ma, what’s happened?” asked Din Din startled.

Mrs. D was just about to say something when the younger three brothers entered and their mother quickly wiped away her tears.

“Come on, dears. Have your breakfast otherwise you’ll be late for school,” she said, busying herself.

Din Din understood that his mother did not want to say anything in front of the younger brothers. He bid farewell and the four dinosaurs made their way to Terrestrial School which was situated just outside Fruit Park. The Terrestrial School was for all the land creatures and the dinosaurs went there for their schooling.

“Look at the fruits in bloom this spring,” observed Dave as the brothers trudged on. “We are so lucky to be living in such a beautiful place like Fruit Park.” Fruit Park was certainly one of the best and most fertile places in D’Land and the dinosaurs had been living there since ages. Fruits of every type grew here in abandon and creatures from all over D’Land came here to barter with the dinosaurs for fruits.

Just as the four brothers were walking through the entrance of Terrestrial School, Tyro, one of Din Din’s classmates walked up to them.

“So you all heard about the golden jackals?” remarked Tyro.

“What about them?” asked Din Din as they went towards their classroom.

“You know what jackals are like, right? Always hungry, greedy, looking for new opportunities for a meal. That’s all they can think about. Well, now they feel that Fruit Park would be an ideal habitat for them because of the abundance of fruit here,” whispered Tyro to Din Din as they sat down for their first lesson.

“But I thought that the jackals fed on meat?” asked Din Din, aghast.

“That’s what I asked my father too. He explained that jackals are opportunistic omnivores. They hunt animals from antelopes to sheep; snakes and other reptiles, even insects and birds. But they also like fruits, berries and grass,” replied Tyro.

Just then their Science teacher Mr. Deer walked into class and they had to stop talking. But Din Din could not concentrate on what was going on in school.

The last lesson was social studies and when their teacher Ms. Kanga the Kangaroo walked into class, Din Din blurted out, “Ms. Kanga, can you give us information about jackals?” all the creatures seated in the class turned around to stare at Din Din and started whispering. That’s when Din Din realized that the news about the jackals in Fruit Park had spread to everyone.

Ms. Kanga also seemed speechless. Finally, she said with a forced smile, “Certainly, Din Din. There are three types of jackals — the golden or common jackal, the side-striped jackal and the black-backed or silver-backed jackal.”

When the teacher saw that the entire class was listening with interested silence, she continued, “The common jackal lives in open savannas, deserts and arid grasslands. Side-striped jackals are found in moist savannas, marshes, bushlands and mountains. The sliver-backed jackal lives primarily in savannas and woodlands. Jackals live alone or in pairs, and even in small packs. Jackals are most active at dawn and dusk.”

After a deep breath, Ms. Kanga said, “Now shall we get back to our quiz?”

Din Din’s day seemed to creep by. He couldn’t wait to get back home to his dear Fruit Park. Finally at the end of the school day, as the four brothers walked back home, Don asked, “Din Din, is it true that the jackals are going to take over Fruit Park? Then where will we live?”

“Don, who has been telling you all this?” asked Din Din, annoyed. He was shocked that even the younger creatures seemed to know about the jackals’ interest in Fruit Park.

Din Din could sense tension in the atmosphere as soon as they entered the premises of Fruit Park. None of the father dinosaurs had gone to their work places and were gathered outside their cave homes, involved in heated discussions.

“We must fight the jackals!” Din Din heard one dinosaur say.

“All the creatures know that Fruit Park belongs to the dinosaurs! How can any other creature walk in and stay here?” another remarked angrily.

“What will become of our young dinosaurs if they start interacting with creatures like jackals?” one asked anxiously.

With all these voices ringing in his head, Din Din led his brothers to their cave home. Their mother also had an anxious frown on her face as she served them lunch.

Finally, Din Din said, “Mother, we know what’s happening. The jackals want to live in Fruit Park too, right?”

Mrs. D swallowed back her tears, “Yes dears!”

“But why can’t we let them live here too?” asked Dave. “Are the jackals very bad creatures?”

“Dear, the dinosaurs always had a bad reputation of being very vicious. Many dinosaurs were carnivores — meat eaters, but our elders made Fruit Park our home so that we could feed on fruit and mellow down. And it has worked! Most dinosaurs now are interacting with other terrestrial creatures of D’Land. But now we are afraid that if creatures like jackals start living here too, the dinosaurs might go back to their old ways of viciousness because of the jackals’ influence,” Mrs. D finished.

The Adventures of D'Land
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