Monkey business in D’land

Let's find out what Din Din, Dazel and Delma are up to this week.
Published April 1, 2023

Din Din was very pleased. Grinning from ear to ear he scampered towards the lakeside to meet his best friends Dazel, the duck and Delma, the dolphin.

“Hello friends. I come bearing gifts!” the dinosaur greeted his friends at the lake merrily.

“Oh! What is it?” Dazel and Delma asked in unison. “Is it one of your mom’s new chocolate flavours?” Delma asked smacking her lips. Din Din’s mom was a famed chocolatier in D’Land.

“Bananas! My banana plants finally bore fruit!” exclaimed Din Din as he passed around the yellow fruit. “It’s taken me nine months to tend to the banana plants.” Din Din said. “Do you know bananas aren’t real trees? They are perennial herbs. The trunk of the banana is made up of all the leaf stalks wrapped around each other. New leaves start growing inside, below the ground and they push their way up through the middle and emerge from the center of the crown. The flower also emerges which turns into this bunch of bananas.”.

“Yum! They really are sweet!” said Delma, as she chewed on the soft fruit and disposed off the peel carefully by burying it under a mound of mud. “You know I’ve never tasted bananas before,” said Delma.

“Most of the banana groves are down south where the monkeys live,” shared Din Din, “and there are just a few banana trees in Fruit Park. The dinosaurs are always clamoring for bananas—that’s the reason I wanted to plant bananas. It was Dr. Trish who told me to plant them as banana is a very nutritious fruit. She always needs more for her patients —they are great for a healthy heart and to cure asthma and stomach problems.”

“My younger brother Don suffers from potassium deficiency so Dr. Trish advised bananas for him as Don throws up all the herbal medicines the doctor prescribes,” Din Din continued.

“Fascinating! It’s wonderful how your hobby of gardening has helped so many creatures,” Dazel said admiringly.

Din Din blushed. He kept bringing bananas for his friend the entire week. Even his mom made chocolate with banana slices, which was an instant hit among her customers. Dr. Trish welcomed the bananas he delivered to her clinic daily and even paid him with a bag of oranges. “One bag per week — is it enough payment, Din Din?” the doctor asked.

“Yes, yes! It’s fine,” Din Din said.

“My first earning!” Din Din thought to himself with pride. “Look Ma! Oranges for everyone. We can have juice every morning for breakfast now,” Din Din announced to his mother as he dumped the sack of oranges in the kitchen.

“Lovely! But where did you get them?” Mrs. Dee asked with an inquiring smile.

“Dr. Trish insisted that I barter the bananas which I give her. This is my weekly payment,” he said with humility.

Mrs. Dee hugged her eldest son tightly. “Oh my dear! I’m so proud of you. You work so hard in your garden. I know how tiring it is for you to go to the garden every day after school and even on weekends. I know how weary you become digging and weeding in all sorts of weather. But your hard work has paid off - your hobby has now become your identity and trade. And that too at such a young age.”

Din Din hugged these words of praise to himself as he fell asleep that night.

Little did he know that disaster was awaiting him when a week later, Din Din visited his garden after school as per his routine and found all his banana trees were bare.

“Kit!?” Din Din asked his pet cat who also acted as keeper of his garden.

“Who has taken my bananas?”

But Kit, who was still too young, did not know how to express herself and just mewed pathetically.

Din Din examined her carefully. She had scratches on her frail, tiny body. “Did the thieves attack you?” Din Din asked grimly.

Kit nodded glumly.

“How dare someone steal my precious fruit? And how dare they hurt Kit! fumed Din Din.

It was a dejected Din Din who trudged towards the lake that evening.

“Someone’s stolen my bananas,” he announced miserably.

“Stolen? How strange!” mulled Delma.

“Who would steal bananas?”

“Someone who wants them and can’t get them,” Din Din grumbled. He told his friends how Kit was hurt too.

Delma and Dazel were appalled.

“There were two whole bunches ripe and ready and now there’s nothing on the plants,” Din Din whimpered, barely controlling his tears. “They were ripped from the trunk so ruthlessly too.”

“Were there any foot prints?” asked Dazel, ever ready to play the detective.

“None that I could see,” Din Din said.

“Let’s go back and investigate for clues,” Dazel asked.

“It’s nearly sunset now. There isn’t enough daylight to look,” Din Din said shaking his green head.

“Okay then we will investigate tomorrow,” Dazel consoled his friend.

So the next day Dazel met Din Din after school at the garden.

“They have been back — the thieves,” Din Din told Dazel.

“See, they have tried to pull out the trunk of the banana tree. It is surprising they haven’t touched any of the other fruits or vegetables growing in the garden. Thank goodness I took Kit home with me for the night — otherwise they might have hurt her even more.”

“That means the thieves are after bananas. Which creature only eats bananas?” Dazel thought aloud.

“Monkeys, who else?” Din Din said with a frown.

“Then let’s go and confront them. If they have so many banana groves down south why do they come all this way to steal a few bananas from here?” Dazel asked.

Din Din’s parents were not happy. “The monkeys are violent and sly. I don’t like the idea of the two of you going there alone. There’s a reason why they have a colony of their own — because they are very mischievous,” Mr. Dee explained.

“But I need to find out if it was them who stole from me. The bananas were important to me, Father,” Din Din urged, his mouth trembling.

After a moment’s silence, Mr. Dee nodded. “You are right! We need to get to the bottom of this. When do you leave for the monkey colony?”

“Tomorrow is Saturday. We will set off early and we hope to be back with answers by sunset. If we don’t return by sundown, you can come look for us,” Din Din said grimly.

(End of part 1)

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