Upheaval in Fruit Park (Part 1)

Don, Din Din’s youngest brother, loved to hear bedtime stories. His Grandmamma, who had a fine imagination and was a talented performer, told him a story every night. And every night he insisted on one story: the history of Fruit Park.

Tonight too, Grandmamma was perched beside Don on the rock shelf which served as his bed. He shared the room with Dave. The other room was shared by Din Din and Derek, the elder brothers. But for the bedtime story, all four brothers gathered to listen to their grandmother.

“Fruit Park has a rich history. It is one of the most valuable parts of D’Land as it is abundant in fruits of all kinds. The dinosaurs of D’Land have made it their home for countless years. A few years ago, a part of Fruit Park was invaded by the jackals. To avoid a war, a peace treaty was signed and the jackals were given one part of Fruit Park while the dinosaurs continued to inhabit another,” Grandmamma said in her animated style which the four brothers loved so much.

“For years the dinosaurs thrived under the leadership of Old Rex but the dinosaur’s old age led him to step down. An election followed in which Tazzo a young, strong and aggressive dinosaur was chosen as the leader of the dinosaurs a year ago,” Grandmamma finished.

“Gran, why doesn’t this story end with the line that ‘the dinosaurs lived happily ever after’?” asked Don innocently.

“That’s because this is not a fairy tale; it’s a real story, silly,” smirked Dave from his bed.

“I heard a few dinosaurs at the Terrestrial School saying that Tazzo was becoming unpopular among the dinosaurs,” remarked Din Din.

Grandmamma’s smile vanished. “We should not be talking like this, Din Din. He is a fairly elected leader of the dinosaurs,” she corrected him solemnly. “If the dinosaurs start to fight among themselves other creatures will take advantage of the situation and weaken us and take over our territory.”

The four brothers nodded gravely as they realised the importance of what their grandmother was saying. Just then Mr. D, Din Din’s father poked his head inside the room. “Mom, there is an emergency meeting at the Orange Orchard. Dad and I are leaving.”

“An emergency meeting? So late? That doesn’t sound good,” Grandmamma said frowning. “I’ll update you as soon as I return,” Mr. D promised and disappeared.

“Now you boys go to sleep,” said Grandmamma. She kissed them all good night and went out to the front garden. Mrs. Dee was also waiting for the males of the family to return.

Din Din joined his mother and grandmother for a while as the stars shone down upon them.

“Go to sleep, Din Din,” protested Mrs. Dee.

“I’m going to the Orchard too,” Din Din said after a while. “I can’t stand the suspense. I will come back and give you news soon.

Before they could object, Din Din had scampered off. As he neared the large Orange Orchard where most of the important meetings of the dinosaurs of Fruit Park were held, he could hear loud, angry voices. Din Din saw the clearing packed with heads of families of dinosaurs. In front of the gathering was Old Rex, their ex-leader and Tazzo who looked furious. A few other dinosaurs were pointing fingers at Tazzo and talking loudly.

“We elected you so you could protect us. But your high-handed attitude is benefiting no one but yourself. You are bartering our fruits to other creatures and keeping the earning for yourself,” one dinosaur hollered.

“I wish we had voted for Dr. Trish,” someone else yelled. “At least she would have been selfless.”

“Even Fredrick would have been a more sensible leader than you. You act impulsively and that’s not how a leader should behave,” another voice complained.

“I resent this mutiny,” said Tazzo trembling with anger. “It has only been a year since I have been chosen leader. That is not enough time to let me make a difference.”

“It has been enough time for us to see that you are not a true leader. Old Rex had been a sensible, yet brave leader. You do not have the qualities to be his successor,” said Dr. Trish in her matter-of-fact voice. Many dinosaurs murmured their approval. Tazzo and his supporters started arguing. It seemed as if the dinosaurs would begin to fight physically.

Din Din trembled. He had never seen adults behave like this. Suddenly, Old Rex’s hoarse, quivering voice rang out silencing everyone.

“Let me speak!” he demanded. He may have been old but his presence still commanded respect.

“Today I regret stepping down,” the old tyrannosaurus said with a sigh. “My reason for stepping down was that the dinosaurs would have a more able and stronger leader. But the opposite has happened. The election which was supposed to have united you all has divided you.”

There was pin-drop silence as Old Rex spoke, his voice becoming stronger with each passing sentence he uttered.

He continued, “I am sorry it has come to this but I will have to take some decisions which some of you might not like. I can see two popular leaders here; Tazzo and Dr. Trish. In an organised way please gather behind the person whom you think will be better able to lead the dinosaurs of Fruit Park.”

A flurry of movement ensued. Soon a large group of people had gathered behind Dr. Trish. Even Fredrick, one of the candidates who had stood in the elections a year ago was siding with the doctor.

There was a mob behind Tazzo too. Old Rex observed the two factions. “We have no choice but to have a re-election,” he finally said.

“No!” shouted Tazzo. “I was elected a year ago. I need at least another year to prove myself. I object!” His supporters nodded in agreement.

“But we do not wish to give you another year. In a year’s time, the dinosaurs will have become so weak that the jackals will take over the entire Fruit Park. I will not allow that!” announced Dr. Trish in her loud, clear voice. Her supporters cheered in agreement.

“I have the veto,” declared Old Rex. “We cannot have a division amongst us. A re-election will take place in two days. And the leader elected this time will complete a term of two years.” With those words, he returned to his cave.

The other dinosaurs who were also tired decided to retire for the night muttering among themselves. Din Din walked up to his father and grandfather. They both seemed surprised to see him but said nothing.

“Let’s go home, Din Din,” said Mr. D quietly.

The Adventures of D'Land
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