Delma and Dazel were very upset because it was the third day in a row that Din Din had been uncooperative. The three friends were busy practising for a sand sculpture competition near the lake’s bank. They had planned to build a massive castle of sand with towers, spires and a moat.
It was Delma’s responsibility to dig the wet mud with her flippers and deposit it near the area where they were constructing their sandcastle.
Dazel was supposed to pat and even out the castle structure and make its intricate design with her beak, webbed feet and wings.
On the other hand, it was Din Din’s job to use his heavy limbs to give the castle its actual shape.
Unfortunately, he was being lazy in his task.
“C’mon Din Din! Today is the practise session and we are not meeting the time limit in which we have to build the castle,” said Delma to Din Din in a worried tone.
“Tomorrow’s the main contest and we need to build the castle in the given one hour,” added Dazel flapping her wings agitatedly.
Din Din had agreed to enter the contest with his friends but now he was not taking his task seriously. He had been coming late for practise and even when the three friends started working, Din Din was slow and distracted.
That day Dazel went to meet Din Din’s mother in the Fruit Park to discuss why Din Din was behaving so strangely.
“Din Din’s become like this during the summer holidays. He has no routine. He sleeps at odd hours at night and wakes up late in the morning. He doesn’t have any fixed times for his meals. No wonder he is so lethargic and lazy all the time,” said Din Din’s mother thoughtfully.
“I just hope he takes tomorrow’s contest seriously,” mused Dazel to herself as she listened to Din Din’s mother.
The day of the contest dawned bright and fine. The sun shone merrily and a crisp air blew through the splendid D’Land.
All the participating teams had gathered near the lake chattering excitedly, awaiting the judges to signal for the contest to begin.
Dazel and Delma were anxiously waiting for Din Din.
Wiz Rooster blew the whistle indicating the beginning of the competition and all the teams got to work immediately.
However, Dazel and Delma began to panic.
“I can’t believe Din Din’s late even today,” cried Dazel in remorse.
Wiz Rooster walked up to them and said gently, “Why don’t you all begin. Din Din can join you.”
Dazel and Delma understood the wisdom of this suggestion and with a heavy heart began digging the wet mud.
20 minutes later a panting Din Din stumbled up to his team.
“Sorry friends, but I woke up late,” Din Din said out of breath.
“It’s fine Din Din,” replied Dazel hurriedly as she patted down a mound of mud. “Come on, get to work.”
The three friends fervently worked in silence. Unfortunately, their team had lost precious time and had been short of a valuable member.
Even though they hastily completed their castle sculpture, but their building was not good enough to win the first prize. They could not build as many towers as they had originally planned and the moat of the castle was not as wide as they had wanted.
Even before the result was announced, Din Din, Dazel and Delma knew they did not stand a chance of winning because the other sculptures were outstanding.
Finally, Wiz Rooster revealed the judges’ decision to the expectant teams. The Rabbit Brother Trio, who had been winning this contest for the last two years, won the contest due to their spectacular sand turtle sculpture.
After the prize-giving ceremony concluded and all the contestants and judges had gone to their homes, Din Din and Dazel sat near the rocks at the lake’s edge and Delma floated in the water gloomily.
The three gazed at the setting sun wordlessly.
Even though Delma and Dazel did not say anything, Din Din knew in his heart that the responsibility of their failure lay with him alone. He had been late to an important contest and had let his friends down.
Finally, he mustered up the courage to say something to his subdued friends.
“I’m so sorry,” Din Din whispered. “I did not play my role in the team properly and disappointed you all.”
Delma and Dazel looked at each other. “It’s okay Din Din,” Delma said softly after a long pause.
“We know you are not like this normally. I hope we can help you organise your time better.”
“I think only I can help myself,” replied Din Din bowing his head. “I need to be more disciplined and realise the value of time.”
And sure enough, Din Din was a changed creature since that fateful day when the three friends lost the sand sculpture contest.
His friends helped him attempt his tasks on time and set a timetable for his summer activities.
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