The mystery of the lake monster

The fish in Delma's class at Aquatic School were waiting for morning assembly to begin. There was one hot topic of conversation—the return of the Lake Monster.

"It's said that the monster is so big that just its tail is the size of a tree trunk," said Clive, one of the clown fishes who was Delma's good friend.

"But if it was so big wouldn't we be able to see it? Where does it hide?" asked Clementine, the second out of the trio of clown fishes in Delma's class.

"You don't know anything, Clem," said Cleo in a high-handed manner. "The Lake Monster has the ability to disappear—it's a monster remember. It can do strange things."

Delma was puzzled by the discussion. "What on earth are you all talking about?"

All conversation stopped. Everyone really admired Delma. It had been only a few months since she had come to D'Land but she had soon gained a reputation of being the lakes protector. She had recently joined Aquatic School and the trio of clown fishes were her closest friends in school.

"Delma, don't you know? Haven't your friends Din Din and Dazel told you about D'Land's Lake Monster?" said Clive in astonishment.

"No, who is this 'Lake Monster'? I haven't come across it in the time I have been here," said Delma shaking her head. Cleo explained, "Ever since we have been young, our elders have scared us with tales of a 'Lake Monster'. We have grown up with such stories but no one knows if the monster really exists."

"But has anyone ever seen this monster?" asked Delma reasonably.

"It is said that it looks like a cross between a dragon and a dinosaur," said Cleo with a shiver. "But who has seen it?" Delma asked again. There was silence. None of the other fish could answer.

"Someone must have," said Clive sheepishly. "If it hadn't existed then how could stories about it have carried on for so many years," he insisted.

After school, Delma tried to discover the identity of this 'Lake Monster' as she swam around the lake. With no answers to her mystery, she returned to her home at the far end of the lake that evening. Her friends Dazel and Din Din were waiting for her. "Tell me," Delma began, "Who is the Lake Monster?"

Dazel jumped up in surprise, "It's been a while since I heard this name. I always thought it was a myth?" she quacked.

"I tried to swim till the deepest parts of the lake today but nothing seemed to give me a clue to the existence of such a huge creature," Delma mused aloud.

Din Din was strangely quiet as the two friends chatted about this mysterious lake monster. "What do you say, Din Din?" Delma asked her dinosaur friend. "I thought you would know about it because a lot of lake creatures believe the lake monster looks like a huge dinosaur."

Din Din uncomfortably shifted from one heavy foot to another. Still, he did not say anything. Finally he said, "Let's go to Wiz Rooster; if anyone can explain this mystery of the strange lake monster, it's him."

Delma asked her friends to request Wiz Rooster to come to the lake, "I'm afraid I can't leave my water home. If Wiz would be kind enough as to come here I would be able to ask him all the questions I want about this unknown creature. I will also go and call my clown fish friends. They are the ones who are actually petrified of this monster."

Dazel flew to Aviary School and pleaded Wiz Rooster to accompany her to the lake. "We are dying for some answers regarding the Lake Monster, Wiz Sir," said Dazel animatedly.

Wiz looked at Dazel thoughtfully and then said, "Maybe the time has come for this mystery to be solved." Then he added, "Make sure your friend Din Din is there at the lake tomorrow evening."

That night as purple darkness enveloped D'Land, Dazel pondered over why Wiz had insisted that Din Din be present at the lake. "Does Din Din know something about the Lake Monster that we don't?" with these thoughts, Dazel finally fell asleep.

It was a solemn group of creatures who gathered at the lake's bank the following evening. Finally, with a fluttering of wings, Wiz Rooster swooped down to land on one of the smooth grey rocks near them.

Everyone was awaiting Wiz's words with bated breath. "Stories of the Lake Monster have been told in D'Land since ages. Parents have scared their young ones with horrific tales of how the monster will gobble up anyone who is naughty. But no one has actually 'seen' this so-called 'Monster' and no one has actually been harmed by this creature," said Wiz.

But does this creature truly exist?" quizzed Cleo the clown fish impatiently.

After a moment's silence, Wiz answered, "Yes!"

The clownfish gasped in horror. "But it's not a dangerous creature," Wiz was quick to add.

"How do you know?" Dazel squawked. "Have you ever met it?"

"No," said Wiz with a shake of his head. "But I know someone who has." "Who!" everyone exclaimed in unison. Wiz turned slowly to Din Din and looked at the dinosaur fixedly.

Finally, Din Din, who had been eerily silent, spoke.

"This Lake Monster is a dinosaur—a plesiosaur. It is the oldest surviving dinosaur in D'Land. We know of it because every New Year, dinosaurs have a tradition of paying respect to their elders and this plesiosaur being our oldest surviving species in D'Land only comes to the lake's bank once a year to give us his blessings. This is a well-guarded secret among the dinosaur community. "

Wiz added, "Plesiosaurs are amongst the largest marine predators of all times. However, this dinosaur prefers to lead a solitary life and does not reveal itself. Also, it is old and completely harmless. It usually lives in one of the deepest caves of the lake."

"What does it do there?" Delma asked softly.

Din Din answered, "Plato—that's his name—is a great scholar and spends all his time writing on his clay tablets."

"I came here today because I want you all to know that there is nothing to be afraid of," explained Wiz. The creatures of the lake need to stop being terrified of this 'Monster'. There is no monster! So lead your lives normally. And then there is always Delma to protect you all even if there was any trouble."

"Thank you, Wiz Rooster," said Delma. "Sometimes rumours can create unwanted and unfounded fear. It's best to know the truth." All her friends nodded in agreement.

The Adventures of D'Land
Animated Series

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