The storytellers of D’land

“The storytellers are here”, said Dazel as she swooped down on a rock near the glistening silvery lake.

“Storytellers?” asked Din Din, his curiosity provoked.

“Yes, there is a band of storytellers who go around D’Land telling the most amazing stories,” replied Dazel. “Wiz Rooster told us about it. They are putting up a show at the lakeside this weekend. I can’t wait!”

“Bah! What good are stories?” retorted Din Din. “Just imaginary tales to fill up our heads! Useless!”

“No, they are not useless,” cried out Dazel who loved to read fiction. “Stories tell us about the world; about creatures and events of the past; they pass down morals and lessons from generation to generation.”

“I agree,” joined in Delma who had just swam up to the lake bank. “Olly the octopus always tells us that stories are a great way to not just relax, but develop imagination and help us cope with our feelings.”

“Well, if you guys say so,” said Din Din doubtfully.

“We will all watch their performance together this Saturday night. I have got tickets for all three of us. They were being sold at the Aviary School. I bartered them for a whole sack of sunflower seeds and a basketful of berries,” said Dazel in excitement.

During the week all everyone could talk about was the storytellers’ performance.

“The group consists of a curious combination of creatures,” shared Derek, Din Din’s brother. “They say there is an ostrich, a peacock, nightingales and sparrows and an owl who make up their troupe.”

“You are so lucky Dazel has got you tickets for their first show,” remarked Derek enviously. “The Sunday shows are sold out too.”

“Don’t worry, Derek. I’ll get tickets for the next weekend,” promised Mr. D, their father.

“Don’t forget to get tickets for us too,” urged Grandmamma who loved acting and enjoyed all sorts of performing arts.

“Grandmamma, you can go in my place this Saturday,” offered Din Din. “I’m not very eager to go anyways.”

“No, no, Din Din, you carry on with your friends. I want you to enjoy yourself,” said Grandmamma shaking her head. “We will all go together next weekend.” So that Saturday evening, as the sun was beginning to set, Din Din found himself sitting at the lakeside with his best friend Dazel perched on his back and Delma at the water’s edge by his side. There was a large stage erected across the lake’s bank. The audience was seated in a semicircle around it. A large shroud hung on the stage. It seemed to be made of some thin animal skin. The only illumination was the pale light of the moon. Suddenly, the strains of the nightingales’ sweet song and the sparrows tweet filled the air. A flickering light could be seen behind the animal skin curtain. Maybe it was a fire or it could have been a group of fireflies.

A gasp resounded in the clearing as a beautiful peacock and an ostrich gracefully walked up on the stage in perfect unison. A hoot was heard and a large owl flew down next to the peacock.

“Good evening, my dears. Prepare to be entranced,” announced the owl in his husky, mysterious voice.

“Once upon a time…,” began the owl in his haunting, expressive voice. As the story unfolded, the peacock and ostrich mimed the performance, while the nightingales and sparrows provided the musical strains. The tale was a sad one about two creatures who loved each other but were fated not to be together.

Din Din was entranced as the words of the storyteller wove a magical web. Around him, the other creatures too were spellbound. Din Din found himself smiling and mourning with the characters as the story proceeded. The last scene was of the ostrich lying on the stage, the peacock keening over him, her glorious feathers fanning shut.

Din Din felt his eyes well up with tears. So engrossed was he in the performance that he was oblivious to his surroundings. When the enclosure filled with the sound of applause, he was jolted out of his trance.

“So did you enjoy the performance?” asked Dazel as the crowd began to disperse.

“You were right, Dazel,” Din Din said. “I never realised that a story could touch our hearts so deeply.”

“There were so many emotions: love, betrayal, sorrow, death…everything a living being experiences in their lives,” agreed Delma. “But it was rendered so beautifully. And the way the owl used his words and his voice was spectacular.”

“I didn’t want the performance to end,” said Dazel. “Next weekend will be another story. The amazing thing is that they do not repeat a story for more than one weekend.”

“My family is going next weekend,” said Din Din. “I wish I could go again.”

“I’ve heard that performances for all the weekends of this month are sold out,” said Dazel.

“How long is this troupe staying in this part of D’Land?” asked Delma.

“They stay for as long as they wish. Sometimes it’s just a week, sometimes its months. I hope they like it here and can stay for months,” prayed Dazel.

“So do I,” murmured Din Din.

That night as Din Din walked home in the moonlight, the soulful voice of the owl, the song of the nightingales and the graceful dance of the tall birds reverberated in his mind.

“How was the Storytellers story?” asked Grandmamma who was waiting up for him.

“Oh Grandmamma! It was spectacular!” gushed Din Din. “I have acted in plays thanks to you but I have never been so moved. They are maestros.”

Grandmamma smiled, “The performing arts have the ability to melt the most stoic of hearts.”

“Will you tell me a story, Grandmamma,” said Din Din and Grandmamma smiled.

The Adventures of D'Land
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