The Emu’s Yoga class

The Emu’s Yoga class

It’s a tragedy. Never in my life did I think I could be affected so”, Martha the Garden snail said, wiping her eyes on a blade of grass that grew...

“It’s a tragedy. Never in my life did I think I could be affected so”, Martha the Garden snail said, wiping her eyes on a blade of grass that grew nearby. Her neighbour, Tracey the squirrel, was listening to her tale of woe and nodding her head in sympathy at every pause.

“Don’t be so sad, Martha, we are all affected, I tell you”, said Tracey trying to console the woebegone snail. Martha was facing a huge problem – she was becoming forgetful, and it was bothering her tremendously. She had never forgotten anything before. The doctor said she was stressed out. And why wouldn’t she be? The garden where she lived was becoming more and more crowded with snails. Her worry was that she wouldn’t be able to find enough food for herself with so many snails around. It was so bad, that she couldn’t even remember what she had done a few minutes earlier.

“I forget lots of things myself”, continued the squirrel, “I work hard all through the summer, collect all the nuts I can find and bury them in the ground, hoping I can eat them during the winter months when food is scarce. And what happens? I forget where I buried them!” “Yes, but you were always forgetful”, said Martha, “your entire family was forgetful. Your mother and her mother, and your mother’s grandmother before that.

The whole lot of them used to forget where they hid their winter supplies. But my family? Never did we forget a single thing!” wailed the snail. Tracey was quite annoyed. Why drag her family into this? Martha didn’t have to defame her entire family for their poor memory! But she maintained a dignified silence. “Well, you needn’t create such a scene about it”, said Tracey drily. “My friend, Jason the Blue Jay, who lives in Florida, has the same problem. He can’t find his winter supplies, either, due to his forgetfulness. And he is such a smart bird otherwise! But we can’t help it, you know.

It happens. We can’t do anything to get a good memory now.” Just then a voice interrupted them. “What if you can get a good memory even now?” Tracey and Martha turned around. It was Mr. Red Fox. Now Red Foxes had a poor reputation in Australia, where this entire conversation was taking place. Red foxes were outsiders, who had been brought to Australia by humans from Great Britain, and ever since then, the foxes had only wreaked havoc in the continent.

“I think I can help you”, said the Red Fox, “I have a friend, the Emu, who conducts a yoga class for all animals, especially the ones with poor memory. Haven’t you heard? Yoga helps reduce stress, and improves concentration and memory power!”

Now, Tracey was wary of the Fox, and did not trust him at all. But Martha was desperate. “Please Tracey, let’s go to that class. I’ll do anything to get my memory back”, she begged Tracey. Finally she agreed. She wrote to her friend Jason as well, and the Blue Jay joined them too.

The Fox said he was an agent of the Emu, and took a good part of their food stores as fees for the class. The three were joined by a goldfish, who said he was quite confident about his own memory, but was always called a forgetful idiot by all other animals. The Fox had convinced him too, that the Emu’s Yoga class was the best solution.

It was a day’s journey to the Emu’s home. The Emu was a flightless bird, about two metres tall and the largest bird in Australia. Its keen eyes, sheer size and its ability to run extremely fast captivated them, and Martha was convinced that if anyone could solve her problem, it was the Emu. The Fox spoke to the Emu first in private, and then the Emu received them.

“Nice of you all to come. Mr. Fox told me everything. Don’t worry. We can solve everything. Take rest for today, we shall start the class tomorrow”, said the Emu cheerfully, putting all their doubts to rest. The next day, Martha, Tracey, Jason and the goldfish were up early for the Yoga class. They came across the Emu pecking at some plants and shiny objects on the ground. “So shall we start?” Martha asked eagerly.

“Start what?” said the Emu absent-mindedly. “The Yoga class, of course!” said Jason. The Emu gave them all a puzzled look. “I don’t know who you are. Don’t know what you all are talking about”, it muttered, and moved away to peck at some new plant. The ‘students’ looked at each other in shock. Someone laughed loudly behind them. “So that fox fooled you too!” It was a parrot.

“What do you mean? We paid for the Yoga class and we’ve been cheated! We won’t leave this Emu scot-free,” said Tracey angrily. “Leave the poor Emu. It doesn’t know a thing. The Emu is a highly forgetful creature- everyday is a new day for it. The Fox knows this, and he takes advantage of the poor Emu as well as other animals like you. Just leave him alone and go home”, said the parrot. The four animals were extremely angry. “Now what do I do? How will I improve my memory?” cried Martha. But what could they do? The fox had already given them the slip!

Nature Narratives-6

Do Animals forget?

Yes they do! Emus are large, flightless birds in Australia, which have a very short memory span. They forget an incident as soon as it’s over! They may be great runners (with speeds of 25-30 mph). But unfortunately, aren’t very good at remembering stuff. It doesn’t make much difference to them either, as they have very few predators because of their huge size and running speed.

Squirrels and blue jays both hide food for winter and both forget where they hid them! They retrieve only 20 per cent of what they hide. Gold fish were earlier considered to have a memory span of just three seconds, but recent studies prove that they can record memories much longer than that. Usually snails have average memory power. But when they are under stress, for example when there is over crowding or pollution in their habitat, they simply cannot remember.

By:Sneha Verghese

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