Din Din grumbled as his friends, Dazel and Delma, listened to his grievances. "I'm telling you, he doesn't love me!" Din Din was saying.
Delma, who was leaning against a rock on the lake's edge, looked uneasily at Dazel, perched on the same rock. Dazel suddenly broke in, "How can you say that about your own father? You should be so grateful that you have one."
Din Din turned on his feathered friend angrily. "Whose side are you on? My siblings and I never get to see my father; he is always busy working. He runs the Fruit Farms at the Fruit Park and that is what he constantly does. I wonder if he even knows what grade I study in at school."
Delma tried to get a word in but she was stopped short by Din Din, "When he does come home late at night, he is always preaching us about how this should be done and how that shouldn't be."
Delma kept silent. She knew that Din Din wasn't just angry; he was hurt. Delma and Dazel never knew that Din Din had such strained relations with his father. Now that the three friend's friendship had grown with every passing day and the bond of trust had strengthened, they could tell each other their deepest secrets; things they couldn't imagine sharing with anyone but their own conscience. And they made sure they never judged each other, but always gave honest advice.
The sun was like an orange balloon bobbing down the horizon and Din Din declared that he should be leaving. As he strode away Delma and Dazel looked at each other in concern. "Maybe we can talk to Din Din's mother," suggested Delma after some thought.
Dazel replied, "Yes, she is sensible and might explain to us why Din Din feels so neglected by his father."
"I'm afraid you'll have to talk to Din Din's mother," Delma said regretfully. Sometimes she really regretted being aquatic as it restricted her movement.
"I'll do that," promised Dazel. The next day after school, Dazel flew to the Fruit Park hoping that she would not bump into Din Din. Cautiously, she approached the cave where Din Din lived.
“Is someone home?" she quacked.
A cheerful voice answered from within, "Yes, who is it? Do come in." Dazel recognized the voice to be Din Din's mother's. Dazel could smell a fruit stew on the fire in the cozy interior of the cave which made the ambiance sweet and tangy.
"Dazel, dear! What a pleasant surprise," Din Din's mother exclaimed as she wiped the perspiration from her brow. "I'm afraid Din Din isn't home. He left early this morning for school and didn't even tell me if he was going somewhere after school. I worry about him, I tell you." This was the opportunity Dazel had been looking for, "Yes, ma’am. That was what I wanted to talk to you about.”
"Din Din's mother stopped all her chores. She looked at Dazel and said quietly, "Has he said anything to you?" Dazel looked uncomfortable, "Ma’am, Delma and I don't want to betray Din Din's trust but we felt that maybe you could help in this dilemma if we told you what he is feeling."
When Dazel saw that she was listening in silence, she continued. "I hope you don't mind me asking, but what kind of relationship do Din Din and his siblings have with their father?" questioned Dazel tentatively.
"What do you mean?" Din Din's mother asked in bewilderment. He is such a concerned father; so hardworking and devoted to his family. He works hard, and even does over time at the Fruit Farms where he works, so that he can provide the best for his brood. We have a large family and he has to support it single-handedly and so he comes home tired and spent. By that time the kids are asleep and still he kisses them goodnight and asks me about how they are doing in school."
Dazel was shocked, "What a misunderstanding!" she quacked. "All this time that Din Din's father works so hard and Din Din thinks he is being neglected. This misunderstanding is because of lack of communication, ma’am."
"Yes, you're right," said Din Din's mother thoughtfully. "I must ask their father to talk to them."
A few days later the Din Din who came to the lake to meet his best friends was a completely transformed Din Din as compared to the morose dinosaur his friends had met just days ago.
"You will not believe what happened this morning!" he exclaimed. "My father talked to me and my four brothers. He actually didn't leave for work before us and we had breakfast together and he didn't lecture us or reprimand us; he just listened to us talk about our school and our friends. And then he actually apologized for the fact that he wasn't able to spend so much time with us. He has promised to take us to the Fruit Farms this weekend when we don't have school and teach us all about farming and harvesting," Din Din finished in exhilaration.
"That is wonderful," Delma said with a smile and a knowing look thrown at Dazel.
That weekend Din Din was solemn and thoughtful once again when he came to meet his best friends at the lake.
"Is everything all right?" asked Dazel, concerned, hoping it had nothing to do with his trip to the Fruit Farms with his father.
After a moment of silence Din Din said, "I went to my father's workplace and I realized how hard he works. He is growing old now, but he works with the energy of a youth. Seeing the respect and admiration he gets from his peers made me see him in a new light. No wonder he is always so exhausted when he gets home." Din Din shook his head as tears sprang to his deep eyes, "I have been an inconsiderate son. I have always thought about myself; about what 'I' wanted. From today, that changes!" he said after he had controlled his feelings.
Delma said, "Today, the respect and love I have for you, my friend, has grown tremendously."
"You and Dazel are right, I am lucky to have such parents and I have to now become the son they want," said Din Din.
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