It’s called a regatta,“ said Dazel excitedly. “Wiz Rooster announced it in school this morning. All the three schools will participate.”
“Asin, the alligator, also told us about it today,” Delma shared. “There will be two participants from each of the three schools — The Aviary School, The Aquatic School and The Terrestrial School. Those who wish to participate will have to submit a plan to build a boat — the best boats will be allowed to sail in the race.”
“Wow!” remarked Din Din. “Anyhow, I’m too large to be on a boat.”
“Me too,” said Delma ruefully. But Asin told me I would be involved in the organization of the race.“
“I’m going to start making my boat tomorrow,” remarked Dazel, “Will you both help me?”
“I don’t think we can help someone from a rival school,” said Delma thoughtfully.
“I never thought about that; we will all be competitors,” replied Dazel in surprise.
“Oh my!” remarked Din Din with a laugh.
The next evening, Dazel wasn’t at the lake to meet her friends. When Din Din went to the pond to inquire, Swain, the swan, told him that Dazel was still at Aviary School working on her boat.
When Din Din returned to the lake and shared his news with Delma they were both not surprised.
“Trust Dazel to get completely involved in a project without wasting any time,” grinned Delma.
“Dell the beaver’s and Tabitha the tortoise’s plan for building a boat has been accepted from the Aquatic School,” said Delma.
“Tyro has planned to build a boat too; it’s a huge raft. So has Cindy the cheetah. Kanga the kangaroo, the social studies teacher at the Terrestrial School, was really appreciating their ideas,” said Din Din.
“Tell me what their boats are like”“ asked Delma curiously.
“Uh huh, its top secret you know. After all I want my school to win,” quipped Din Din good naturedly.
“I understand,” agreed Delma. “May the best school win!” During the next week the excitement kept on building and all the competing boats were nearly complete. By Saturday evening, on the eve of the race, all the boats were tied to the trees on the beach, ready to set sail next morning.
There was Tyro’s huge raft made of logs; Cindy’s boat was a canoe; Dell had constructed a dory which was a wide, flat bottom boat with flared sides, a narrow, flat bow, and a pointed stern while Tabitha had used bamboo sticks to make her drifting boat. All the four boats had oars. Yet, the most interesting boat was built by Dazel and Candy the canary from the Aviary School.
“We decided to team up our efforts and build one great boat,” Dazel announced to the gathered crowd on Saturday evening.
It was a raft made from logs of wood yet it had a sail made from banana leaves stitched together which was held up by a mast.
“What does the sail do?” asked Dell in wonder.
“How will you sail it without oars?” inquired Tyro.
But Dazel and Candy just smiled in glee.
“You’ll find out tomorrow on the day of the race,” said Candy enigmatically. Everyone in D’Land fell asleep that night dreaming about the excitement which was anticipated the next day. But Sunday dawned grey and dreary instead of bright and sunny.
“Maybe we should postpone the race,” suggested Wiz Rooster as all the creatures began gathering at the beach.
“Everyone will be very disappointed,” said Asin the Alligator. “I recommend we continue.”
“I agree; let’s take the risk,” joined Taub the tyrannosaurus who was the Vice Principal of Terrestrial School. “Maybe the sky will clear up soon.”
So despite the thick, murky clouds hanging above them, all the contestants and their five boats took their positions on the shore, their boats bobbing in the waves.
“You all have to sail your boats to a distance of two nautical miles. That’s where Delma can be seen.
The first boat to reach Delma will be declared the winner,“ explained Wiz Rooster pointing to Delma bobbing far away.
The crowd at the beach cheered as the boats were off. The most cheers were for Dazel and Cindy who were maneuvering the sail deftly with their beaks to catch the wind and make their boat float faster. Just as the boats were nearing the midway mark the sky suddenly lit up with lightening. Thunder clapped and it became dark even though it was morning. Wiz Rooster gazed up at the heavens. “This is what I was afraid of,” he said grimly.
Now the rain began to fall steadily. The audience at the beach could hardly spot the boats in the water. They ran under the trees to seek shelter.
“I hope everyone is safe,” prayed Taub in alarm.
Delma, who was posted at the finishing line in the salty waters could see that the boats were all facing turbulent waters. She let out a cry as she saw Dell being tossed from his dory into the grey stormy sea. Without wasting another minute Delma cut through the raging water to rescue Dell. Tabitha and Tyro were next to be capsized.
Delma swam towards the floundering animals being tossed about in the sea. “Grab me,” the dolphin shouted. Dell and Tyro grabbed Delma’s dorsal fin while Tabitha clung to Delma’s back.
Dazel and Candy had flown towards the shore while Cindy’s boat had been the slowest and thus nearest to the shore. The cheetah had been guided to shore by Asin the alligator. All the six participants were drenched and gasping but safely reached the shore. They were rushed under the shade of the palm trees. The other creatures crowded around them.
“Let Dr. Owl take a look at Dell, Tyro and Tabitha,” urged Wiz Rooster.
Dell had swallowed a lot of water and the doctor tried to pump it from his stomach. Tabitha and Tyro seemed shaken. The boats had all been lost at sea being driven away by the roaring waves.
“All’s well that ends well,” commented Wiz Rooster optimistically when he saw everyone’s glum faces.
“Yes, the best outcome of today’s event is how we all worked together to bring everyone to safety,” said Asin. “Our special thanks to Delma — the protector!” Everyone cheered for Delma.
“We can plan another boat race for some other day,” said Taub the dinosaur.
“Now, let’s all head homewards before we all catch a cold,” advised Wiz Rooster and all the creatures trudged away from the beach, thankful for everyone’s safety.
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