A Visitor to Husharoon
Way up north on planet Earth, a girl from Husharoon held a snowball and twirled around as fast as she could.
“Keep going, Dink!” she heard her friend Donk the moose say.
So, she twirled some more. In a blur she saw: snowy hill, flat field, moose, snowy hill, flat field, moose.
“Are you dizzy now?” asked Donk.
“Uh huh!” said Dink.
“Then close your eyes and throw the snowball as high as you can!”
Dink shut her eyes and heaved her snowball into the air.
“WOW! That’s high!” said Donk. He galloped after the snowball at top speed.
Donk stretched his neck just as the snowball was falling, and *PLOOF!* It crashed on Donk’s antlers and exploded into snowy powder.
“Wow, you did it!” said Dink. “I didn’t think you’d reach that one!”
“That’s five in a row!” said Donk. “Let’s do it again!”
Dink said, “I wish I could, but I should go back home. The Husharoonian Shnork-splat-berry Ceremony is starting soon.”
Donk burst out with laughter. “Shnork-splat-berry?! How awfully funny!”
“Oh, but it’s not,” said Dink. “It’s very serious. Every year, when the shnork-splat-berries are ripe—“
“Shnork-splat-berries!” Donk rolled on the ground, wheezing with laughter.
“Donk. I’m trying to explain!”
“Sorry,” said Donk, calming down. “Please go on.”
“Every year when the berries are ripe, all the Husharoonians gather in the streets for a special ceremony. We wear pink sheets over our heads, because pink is the colour of the ripe shnork-splat-berry. We take very dainty steps out to the street and softly whisper, ‘oo-la-loo, oo-la-loo’.”
Donk was now very interested in what Dink was describing. He had never heard anything like it.
“And then what?” he asked.
Dink explained that then, everyone is given a Shnork-splat-berry sweet ball to suck.
“A what?” said Donk, who couldn’t believe his ears.
“The berry is put into the middle of a boiled sweet,” Dink explained. “Everyone stands very still and quietly sucks their sweet until they reach the delicious berry. And only then can you eat the berry!”
“Can’t you just crunch the candy to get to the berry?” asked Donk.
Dink shook her head. “It’s all about patience.”
Donk nodded. “I think I could do that,” he said. “Sometimes I can suck on a pebble for hours.”
Dink said that after finishing the sweets, everyone sings the Shnork-splat-berry Whisper-song. This is a very, very quiet song. And while they sing it, they do a tiny dance, called the “Shushie.”
“Can I see the dance?” asked Donk.
Dink demonstrated, moving just a bit to the left, then a bit to the right. Then she turned in a dainty little circle. Entranced, Donk copied her.
“Look, Dink! I’m pretty good at it!”
He wasn’t good at it at all, actually. But the Shushie wasn’t really designed for a moose.
Suddenly Dink gasped.
“Yikes! I need to get going!”
She dashed to her glowing BubbleBus. But just as she squeezed in, guess what happened: Donk squeezed into the bubble as well! Before Dink could say or do anything, *POP!* The two of them landed on Husharoon!
They found themselves in an alley near the main street of Husharoon. The very important and very serious Husharoonian Shnork-splat-berry Ceremony was beginning! Dink and Donk could hear everyone on the tiny planet softly whispering, “oo-la-loo, oo-la-loo.”
“Donk,” Dink whispered. “This isn’t good. There’s never been a moose at this ceremony before.”
“I’m sorry, Dink,” said Donk. “I was just too curious. I had to see it!”
Thinking fast, Dink grabbed two pink sheets from a pile on the street corner. She threw one over Donk’s head before anyone could see him. Then she threw one over her own head. They stepped onto the main street to join the crowd. A soft ringing bell announced the first part of the ceremony.
Donk, Dink and thousands of Husharoonians in pink sheets tiptoed past a gigantic bowl of Shnork-splat-berry sweet balls. Each popped one sweet into their mouths then stood in a large circle in the main square.
Donk thought the sound of a whole planet of Husharoonians quietly sucking on sweets was very strange. He also thought, *YUMMM!* The Shnork-splat-berry sweet ball had a really nice flavour. **CRUNCH!**
Dink heard the sound of someone definitely not sucking on the sweet ball.
*CRUNCH CRUNCH CRUNCH!*
Dink could also hear the whispers of the shocked crowd. “Someone is chewing their sweet ball... And making a lot of noise..."
And Dink knew exactly who that someone was: the moose under a sheet right next to her. She nudged Donk.
“I can’t help it, Dink,” Donk whispered. “It’s just too hard not to crunch the sweet!”
Donk quickly finished his sweet ball before anyone could figure out who was making the sound.
Under her sheet, Dink slapped her forehead with her hand. Sometimes her friend Donk was just too ridiculous. Well, at least that was over. Now all that was left was the whisper-song and the Shushie dance.
Donk began to sing very quietly, just like everyone else. And Donk moved in tiny steps, first to the left and then to the right. Then Donk turned in a little circle.
Dink was relieved her friend wasn’t standing out from the crowd. But as the song and dance continued, Donk began to add a few more, ‘la-las’ to the song. And then he started adding some ‘huppa-huppas’ and ‘bum-be-bops.’
“Donk,” Dink whispered to her friend. But Donk didn’t hear her. He was getting into the groove. Donk’s a very jazzy moose when he gets going. He also added some steps to the dance: a little kick here, a little bum-wiggle there.
It was hard for Dink not to laugh. But she knew she mustn’t laugh. No one laughs at the Husharoonian Shnork-splat-berry Ceremony. She could get into lots of trouble. So she tried hard not to laugh. But the more she tried, the harder it got.
When Donk added another ‘huppa-huppa’ to the song, Dink could feel herself about to burst with laughter. But suddenly she heard a giggle. It came from somewhere in the crowd. Then she heard a chuckle, and then out-and-out guffaws. Soon the whole crowd was howling with laughter.
Dink had never seen or heard anything like it! Husharoonians never laugh. It was a wonderful sound. But she knew that soon they’d stop laughing and then Donk would be in big trouble.
So, while everyone was still laughing, Dink grabbed Donk and ushered him back to her BubbleBus. Then, *POP!* She and the moose were back on Earth, in his snowy home.
“I’m so sorry I ruined the ceremony,” said Donk. He clearly felt badly. “I didn’t mean to. I just got carried away because it was so exciting to be on Husharoon.”
Dink wasn’t mad at Donk. She loved him.
“After hundreds of years of being serious and quiet, the Husharoonians needed a laugh,” Dink said.
Then she gave him a hug, squeezed into her BubbleBus aaaaaand...*POP!* She was gone.