Adventures in Aipotu: Episode 7, Part 1
Of Fishes and Crabs
Up ahead, the grassland ended on the banks of a large lake. Damini could not see the other side of the lake. A warm breeze had picked up. Aris Turtle said, "I will swim across the lake. Hold on tight and you will be fine. We need to go to that island there." The turtle slipped into the clear blue water and began to swim towards the island. Damini's lower body was submerged. The water was warm and Damini enjoyed it. There were all kinds of interesting fish that swam around.
Without a warning, the turtle dived into the water. Damini was pulled along in the wake of the large turtle diving. Before she could react, she gulped water and floundered. She was afraid that she would drown. But then she realized that she could breathe underwater. The turtle reappeared in front of Damini. "This is Aipotu, girl", Aris Turtle said. "Remember that you can do many things that you cannot do on Earth." Damini thought that she almost saw the old turtle's mouth curl into a smile.
Aris Turtle turned around and dived even deeper. In trying to follow, Damini realized that she could swim beautifully as well. Soon she caught up with the old turtle. The water around her was beautiful. Sunlight filtered through to quite some depth. There were fishes of various colors. On the left was a family of sea horses. Up ahead, there were porpoise playing around. Soon some dolphins joined in as well. She swam up to them and played with them for some time. They let her ride with them. She would have been forgiven if she thought she was dreaming. This was a whole different world. The dolphins and the porpoises began to sing in a rather shrill tone. Soon, other fish joined in as well. She did not understand what they were singing but the music seemed, ummm, interesting, to put it mildly. The turtle had come back looking for her. Down here in the water, Aris Turtle seemed more at home, less irritable and on the whole a more jovial companion. He began to hum along as well. Then realizing that Damini did not understand the song, he translated it for her. This is what he said:
A long time ago
Damini could not help rolling in laughter. It was a sad tale but it was funnily told. "Besides, the problem of how one looked, was true for humans as well", Damini thought. "Representations of models in magazines and in the media seem to say that only a certain kind of look or a certain kind of physique is beautiful. Even on Earth, doll manufacturers brought a similar representation of beauty to young children. In quite a few ways, that civilization seemed similar to ours." Yet, the song these creatures sang and the way they enacted it was extremely funny.
Aris Turtle was smiling as he watched Damini laugh. After a while, he dived back towards the floor of the lake. Damini saw him dive and followed. As she glided above the lakebed, schools of fish darted past them. The bed was covered with all kinds of colorful weeds. Up ahead, the turtle had stopped and was looking intently at something. As Damini caught up, he turned around and pointing at a mound, asked, "Seen anything like this before"?