The long lost uncle

It was a lazy Sunday, yet Dazel was her active self. She was buzzing around the pond helping arrange for the pond dweller’s annual Sunday picnic.

“Please make sure the lily pads are tightly secure, we have to place all the food on them like a buffet,” the exuberant duck instructed the frogs.

“Is it necessary to wake up so early on a Sunday?” groaned Ribbit the young frog as he pulled on a thin vine and used it to sew a lily pad to another.

“Our picnic is just on one Sunday in the whole year,” commented Swain the black swan, good-naturedly. “You sleep till the afternoon on every other Sunday.” The other pond creatures laughed and Ribbit also grinned ruefully.

Soon, the pond animals including the frogs, snapping turtles, snails and crayfish as well as the insects like the mayflies and dragonflies were merrily feasting on the grains and seeds laid on the lily pads.

As noon approached and the pond creatures went about their activities, a stranger approached Dazel and greeted her, “Hello, my dearest duck!”

Dazel turned around in surprise to see a duck which looked just like her. The same bright feathers, the very curve of an orange beak. The other duck was just a little bigger in size and much older.

“Hello,” replied Dazel in her cheery manner, yet she had an enquiring look on her face.

“I am your Uncle Darcy! I can understand that you are confused. You see, we have never met before,” said the elder duck with a beaming smile.

“My uncle?” asked Dazel taken aback. “I didn’t know I had family in D’Land.”

“Ofcourse you do!” exclaimed Uncle Darcy. “I am your mother’s brother.”

Dazel led Uncle Darcy to the pile of rocks near which she had her bed of soft grass. “Please come and make yourself at home, Uncle Darcy,” Dazel said hospitably.

“Well, my dear, I know you have hardly any memories of your parents. They passed away when you were merely a freshly-hatched duckling,” said Uncle Darcy shaking his head regretfully. Dazel just felt a numb sense of loss when anyone talked about her parents because she had absolutely no picture of them in her mind.

“I came to know years later that they had passed away and that you were their offspring. Circumstances did not allow me to come to meet you but finally after so many years I have the pleasure of finding my sister’s only progeny,” Uncle Darcy said misty-eyed.

“I must thank you for your visit. But where do you live? Do I have any cousins or other relatives?” inquired Dazel curiously.

“Yes, you do!” said Uncle Darcy enthusiastically. “I have four young ducklings and they are all your age. Their mother’s name is Doris. We all live near the waterfalls towards the northern mountains.”

As evening fell, Dazel was pleased to hear stories from her newly discovered uncle about how Uncle Darcy and her mother had been very close siblings when they were young.

“It’s nearly nightfall and I plan to sleep early because I have school tomorrow,” said Dazel apologetically.

“Oh I completely understand!” smiled Uncle Darcy. “Let’s just have a quick dinner and go to sleep. After you come back from school tomorrow you must take me around this part of D’Land and introduce me to all your friends.”

Dazel was stunned. She had never anticipated that Uncle Darcy was planning to stay with her for long. She had assumed her long lost uncle had just popped in to pay her a day’s visit. Gathering her wits she quickly served some lettuce leaves for dinner.

It was an uncomfortable night for Dazel as she was kept awake by her uncle’s loud snores. “Who was making all that noise,” grumbled Swain the swan the next morning when he and Dazel were bathing to get ready for school.

“It was my Uncle Darcy,” Dazel replied. “He’s still sleeping.”

After an interesting day at school when Dazel returned to the pond, her uncle was waiting for her. “My dear! I was waiting for you! I have been bored stiff all morning. Let’s go and meet all your friends.”

Dazel had a truckload of homework which needed to be tackled that afternoon but she couldn’t bring herself to disappoint her uncle. So, putting on a bright smile she introduced Uncle Darcy to all her pond neighbours. Then she took him to meet Delma the dolphin at the lake and Din Din and his family at Fruit Park. It was nearly time for the sun to set when they reached the pond again.

“What wonderful friends you have!” announced Uncle Darcy. “Now, what are we having for dinner?”

So Dazel, who would normally have just pecked on some berries growing on the bushes nearby had to hunt for some algae and pond weeds to make sure Uncle Darcy was properly fed. Soon uncle was snoring soundly but Dazel had to force herself to stay awake and complete her homework.

The entire week followed the same routine with Uncle Darcy wanting to visit this place and that. Every evening, as per their habit, when Dazel, Din Din and Delma met at the lakeside, Uncle Darcy also insisted that he be with them. At first, the friends were hesitant to be themselves in front of an elder but Uncle Darcy had the quality to mingle effortlessly with creatures of all ages.

“Your uncle is really spectacular,” remarked Delma when Uncle Darcy had gone to meet the beavers of the lake. “I really admire his friendliness. It’s such a rare quality to be so outgoing and open with everyone.”

When the weekend arrived Uncle Darcy declared, “Now it is time for me to bid farewell. But please promise that you will come to my home and visit your cousins and aunt during your winter vacations.”

When Uncle Darcy said a hearty goodbye to all the pond neighbours, they all commented that they would miss him as his excited chatter and high-spirited personality was infectious.

Dazel was sorry to see him go. “Uncle Darcy was the first taste of family for me,” she said to Swain the swan later that night when her uncle had left.

“When he first decided to stay here I was uncomfortable because I am so used to being by myself, making my own decisions and following my own routine. But over the span of the last week I have realized how comforting having a family is — even if it may mean sacrificing for them.”

The Adventures of D'Land
Animated Series

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