Three Wise Wings

“What do you mean, did I tell Eldon where to come? As if he doesn’t know our hangout”, Eldan exclaimed in mock annoyance, “19° 9′ 38.948″ N by 72° 52′ 18.332″ E, the precise location!” “He’s late”, Elden was irritable, “Anyways, as usual it is you two who will have a lavish spread while I have to fend for myself.” “Yes, dear Elden, don’t we know that you are a Satyrid, a brown, who favours nothing but monocots, and may I point out that we chose this haunt only because it is rich with grasses and palms to satiate your appetite too”, pointed out Eldan, “and are you aware how much effort I needed to get here? You forget that a Common Sailor I am, with wings weaker than you two; I can’t beat them so well as you and would rather glide than flap all the way here.”

“Hey guys, what’s up? Hope I did not keep you two waiting for long, eh?” Eldon finally put in his appearance. “Not much, but Elden wanted to get on with it”, quipped Eldan, “He’s running low on ‘the stuff’ it seems!” “Tell me about it! I need a refill too, but first a drink guys?” spoke Eldon. The three did the customary high fives with their wings and settled down to an appetiser.

“Mmmmm, the best in a long time I tell you”, Eldon said taking a sip of nectar, “And apologies for being late; you see the missus wanted to do her egg laying bit and you know how we Great Eggflies are – she did her usual hover-n-check for ants before laying the eggs, a good three of them, and is now standing guard. She won’t budge till they hatch, that is four days from today! So when Eldan called, I said lets gang up this afternoon. Anyways I wanted ‘the stuff’ too.” “Slurrrppp, slurrpp, slurp… I am full guys. Now how about tanking up on ‘the stuff’? asked Elden eagerly. “Yes I’m done too; let’s go”, replied Eldan.

The trio took to their wings, flapping away downhill till they reached the mud banks of the lake. “Okies, here we go puddling”, cried out Elden ecstatically. “Hey Elden, do be quiet. See that human there, he doesn’t know the dirty stuff we do, thinks we are all dainty and refined, ha ha ha”, guffawed Eldon. “Ha, so let him know the worldly truth today”, said Eldan solemnly, “That simply guzzling on sugar-laden nectar does not give us all nutrients; we need our dose of salts, minerals, amino acids and nitrogen too. In fact sodium is crucial for us for digestion, reproduction and also our flight functions. And what better source than this rich mud?”

“That is all right, but do we further tell him that dung and urine-drenched surfaces are a bounteous source for us?” sniggered Eldon. “I don’t mind. But we ought to disclose that whenever he sees a swarm of us butterflies sitting around mud-puddling, it is all males out there! The females get their stuff from us during mating so that they do not waste precious time puddling, and can instead spend that time searching for good egg-laying sites”, Eldan was quite forthcoming.

“Well, us educating him or not, when he sees fellow creatures around he should not just look – he should observe. One of his kind, some Aristotle fellow I hear, has very wisely stated, ‘Nature does nothing uselessly.’ Seek and you shall know, is all that I will add to it”, trailed off Eldan.

– Narendra Nayak © 2018

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