A new study in the field of marine pollution has revealed a shocking
statistic – according to the research, nearly ten percent of whales,
dolphins, and porpoises examined in Ireland have plastic in their
digestive tracts. The findings are yet another reminder that our plastic
waste has an enormous impact on other living beings and the environment
at large – and the amount that is currently in the oceans must not be
allowed to grow.
This sea lion is one of the regulars at a fishery as she stands on her
flippers patiently queuing up for her fish
Chapter Eight: Magic
‘Of course you will,’ said Dickson. ‘Soon, we’ll have you working and
But suddenly, Ben Weatherstaff’s angry face looked down at them from the
top of the wall. ‘What are you doing in there?’ he shouted angrily at
Then he saw Colin, and his mouth opened in astonishment .
‘Do you know who I am?’ Colin asked.
‘Yes, of course I do.’ Ben answered. ‘You are the poor boy who is always
Colin sat up angrily. ‘There’s nothing wrong with me. I’ll show you!’ he
cried. He pulled himself up out of hIs chair, and with Dickson’s help he
stood up straight and tall. ‘Look at me,’ he shouted at Ben. ‘Just look
‘You dear boy,’ said Ben, and he cried with happiness.
Colin stayed standing. Suddenly, he felt all his fears leave him. ‘I’m
not afraid anymore!’ he cried. ‘It’s the magic of the secret garden. The
magic that made all the plants grow strong has made me grow strong,
That evening when Colin sat with Mary, he was quiet. ‘I’m not going to
be a poor, sad boy any more. If I believe that, I will be strong and
well, then the magic will make it happen.’
The next day, when the children went into the garden, Colin told Dickson
and Mary to watch him. ‘I’m going to show you that the magic made me
well,’ he said.
Carefully, taking a few steps at a time, Colin walked around the garden.
His face glowed with joy.
‘Please keep this a secret,’ he said. ‘When I can walk and run really
will walk into my father’s study and say, “Here I am, as well and strong
as any boy in Yorkshire.'”
It was not easy to keep Colin’s secret. The magic garden made Colin’s
eyes shine and his pale face become pink. Each day, Colin and Mary did
exercises to make them strong, and soon they were happier and healthier.
Mary looked pretty and Colin didn’t look ill any more. Everyone who knew
them wondered about the change.
At the time that the secret garden made its magic for Colin, Mr Craven
travelled in distant countries. For ten years he had tried to run away
from his sorrow and nothing could comfort him.
Then, one day while he walked in Austria, he sat down by a stream . He
felt his mind and his body started to relax. The gentle sound of the
running water filled him with peace, and suddenly he was both healthy
That same night, he dreamt about his wife’s garden at Misselthwaite
Manor. The dream made him decide to return home at once. As soon as he
arrived home he went to the garden.
As he walked slowly towards the door of the secret garden, all his
sadness came rushing back to him. He wondered how he could find the key
to the garden, and then he heard laughter from the other side of the
Then the door opened and a boy ran out. He was a tall, handsome boy, and
Mr Craven gazed at him without speaking.
Colin stood still and looked at his father in surprise. Then he said,
‘Father,I’m Colin, your son. You can’t believe it, but it’s true.’
Colin took his father into the garden and told him how the magic had
made the flowers and trees grow, and had made him grow strong and
Mr Craven thought that it was a wonderful story. He sat down next to
Mary, Dickson and the animals and talked, and laughed for the first time
in many years. He was so proud of his happy, healthy son. ‘Now there
will be no more secrets,’ said Colin. ‘I will never need my wheelchair
again. I will walk with you, Father.’
They all stood up and walked back to the house. Mrs Medlock and Martha
watched in amazement as Mr Craven walked across the lawn , happier than
they had ever seen him. Next to him, with his head held up high and his
eyes full of laughter, walked Colin, as strongly and steadily as any boy
The study was published in the academic journal Environmental Pollution
and was prepared by researchers at Galway-Mayo IT and University College
Cork in collaboration with Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, Whale and
Dolphin Conservation (WDC) reports. It was one of the largest studies of
its kind – the examined data was gathered between 1990 and 2015 from
whale and dolphin strandings and accidental captures in fishing nets.
Analyzed were eleven different species of marine animals and the
plastics discovered inside their digestive tracts included plastic bags,
wrappers, fishing hooks, and even shotgun cartridges.
The cheeky mammal made her way from the sea to the fish stall and waited
for her turn for an
The data also show that 8.5 percent, that is 45 individuals of those
tested, had marine debris in their stomachs and intestines. Moreover,
deep-diving species were found to have ingested more plastic than the
animals that live closer to the coast.
After being given scraps of fish by the generous fishmonger, the sea
lion made her way back to the
Part Two: Acting for the Duke
Everyone in Athens knew that Theseus was going to be married to
Hippolyla. Many people were wondering how they could celebrate the event
in a way that would please the Duke. Everyone wanted honour the Duke by
organising a special entertainment for him and his bride.
There was a weaver in the city called Bottom. He and his friends had
decided that they would perform a play for the Duke. They had never
performed in a play before, but they were certain it would be easy to
They held a meeting to decide what play they should perform, and the
parts that each of them should play.
‘Well, friends,’ asked Bottom, ‘what play shall we perform for the
He was answered by the carpenter, Quince.
‘We have chosen the play Pyramus and Thisbe .’
‘What is my part in the play?’ asked Bottom, excitedly. ‘Do I play a
or do I play a bad king?’
‘You play the part of a lover,’ Quince told him. ‘It’s a wonderful part
because you kill yourself for love.’
Bottom was very excited at the idea of the part he was to play.
‘Excellent!’ he cried. I’ll be very good at it, I’m sure. I’ll make the
audience cry at my sufferings, you can be sure of that.’
He thought for a moment.
‘But perhaps I’d be better as a king,’ he said thoughtfully. ‘I could
terrify them if I had the part of an evil king!’
He ran up and down excitedly, waving his arms about and pulling strange
faces. He was trying to look strong and powerful, but he only looked
ridiculous . His friends were embarrassed by his silliness.
‘That was a bad king — not bad, eh!’
He looked at his friends with a smile, expecting that they would
compliment him on his efforts, No one said anything. Bottom looked
disappointed. He thought his acting was wonderful.
‘Let’s continue, then,’ he suggested to Quince. ‘Now tell us who the
other actors are.’
‘The next is Flute,’ Quince told them. He turned to Flute. ‘You play the
pent of Thisbe, the woman that Pyramus loves,’ he explained.
‘I don’t want to play the part of a woman,’ Flute complained, ‘Besides,
I’m growing a beard — it’ll be ridiculous!’
‘Don’t worry about that,’ Quince reassured him. ‘If you wear a mask, no
one will see your beard.’
‘All right, then,’ said Flute. ‘If I can play the part that way, I don’t
The idea of wearing a mask appealed to Bottom, and he could not resist
‘I could play that part beautifully. I want to be Thisbe,’ he cried.
‘Let me have the part of Thisbe!’
‘No,’ said Quince. ‘You will play the part of Pyramus.’
Then Quince told the other actors which parts they would play.
After telling everybody which part they would play, finally he turned to
‘Your part’s a good one, too,’ he informed him. ‘You will be the lion.’
‘The lion?’ Snug said anxiously. ‘Is it a difficult part to play,
Quince? Do I
have to remember many long speeches?’
‘No, don’t worry,’ Quince reassured him, ‘the lion’s part is very
You just enter and roar. It’s very easy.’
Once again Bottom was delighted at the idea of playing the lion. It
seemed a much more wonderful part than his own. He interrupted the
proceedings once again.
‘Let me be the lion!’ he cried. ‘Oh, do let me be the lion, Quince! I
could do it so well, I would roar so loudly that it would frighten
everybody in the audience.’
By now Quince was becoming quite impatient with Bottom.
‘A fine thing that would be,’ he said angrily. ‘The Duke would be very
angry if we frightened all the ladies. We’d all get into a lot of
‘You’re right,’ Bottom admitted eagerly. ‘But I’d play the part of the
lion very gently. No one would be scared at all.’
‘How many times must I tell you?’ Quince said angrily. ‘You’re playing
the part of Pyramus. It’s a lovely part.’
He paused for a moment. ‘There is one other thing we need to do. We must
practise our play in a quiet place, away from the city. Let’s go into
the wood tomorrow night. We can practise there without being disturbed
Part Three: The fairy Kingdom The next night several groups of people
entered the wood outside Athens.
First there was Lysander and Hermia. Then there was Demetrius who was
secretly following Hermia. Demetrius was followed by Helena. Finally,
there was the group of actors led by Bottom.
None of these people knew it, but the wood outside Athens was a special
place that night. The King of the Fairies, Oberon, had decided to spend
the night there. His servant, Puck, was busy organising an entertainment
Puck loved fun of all kinds, and he was looking forward to the pleasure
he would give the King. He was walking happily through the wood when he
suddenly saw a fairy.
‘Who are you?’ he asked. ‘You’re not one of the King’s fairies, are
‘No, I’m not,’ the fairy replied proudly. ‘I serve the Queen, Titania.’
‘The Queen!’ Puck cried in surprise. ‘Do you mean that the Queen is also
‘Certainly she is,’ the fairy told him. ‘The Queen and her retinue I
will be here shortly.’
This was not good news for Puck. Oberon and Titania had quarrelled very
badly. The Queen had taken a new servant-boy, and refused to give him to
the King. The King was offended by her behaviour. They were avoiding
each other, and hardly spoke when they met.
‘We must keep them apart,’ Puck thought. ‘It will be a disaster if they
see each other, because they’ll just squabble again. The King and the
Queen must not meet.’
But it was too late, for the next moment Oberon and his servants
appeared from one direction — and Titania and her servants appeared from
When they saw each other, the King and Queen stopped and stared. There
was an awkward silence in the wood. Puck did not know what to do.
Suddenly Titania made a sign to her servants.
‘I won’t speak to him,’ she announced. ‘I will never speak to him
Oberon heard what the Queen said, and it made him angry.
‘I am your King, Titania. Remember that!’ he commanded in a stern voice.
‘You are my King, it’s true,’ Titania replied. ‘But you have been
unfaithful to me — I know you were in love with Hippolyta!’
‘And I know you were in love with Theseus” Oberon told her.
‘That is nonsense ,’ Titania said. ‘It’s an invention of your jealousy.’
She sighed very deeply.
‘Our quarrel is a terrible thing, Oberon,’ she complained. ‘It has
disturbed the weather throughout the whole world. Everywhere men are
suffering because of our quarrel.’
‘Bring the quarrel to an end, then,’ Oberon said. ‘Give me the servant
and our quarrel is finished.’
‘Never!’ replied the Queen. ‘The boy is mine, and he will stay with me.
Saying this, the Queen turned her back on Oberon, and walked away.
Oberon was more angry than ever with Titania now, and he decided to play
a trick on her. He knew where there was a magical flower that had the
power to make people fall in love. He ordered Puck to look for the
and to bring it to him.
‘I’ll wait until Titania is asleep tonight,’ Oberon thought. ‘Then I’ll
squeeze a little of the juice from the flower into her eyes. When she
awakes, she’ll fall in love with the first person she sees. That will
punish her for her pride and arrogance ‘ He smiled with amusement at the
trick. Now he felt more cheerful.
Just then Demetrius and Helena came into that part of the wood. They
were quarrelling loudly. Oberon quickly made himself invisible so that
he could listen to them.
‘I’ve already told you to go back to Athens,’ Demetrius said to Helena.
came here because I’m in love with Hermia — stop following me!’
‘I’ll always follow you, Demetrius,’ Helena replied. ‘Can’t you
understand that I love you — I’ll never leave you!’
‘If you don’t leave me alone, I’ll abandon you here in the wood!’
Demetrius threatened her. ‘It’s a dangerous place — you don’t want to be
left by yourself, do you?’
‘If you leave me, I’ll run after you,’ Helena told him. ‘I don’t care
how badly you treat me, Demetrius — I love you!’
The young couple walked away, still arguing bitterly .
Oberon was shocked by what he had heard of the conversation between
Demetrius and Helena.
‘What a pity!’ thought Oberon. ‘That young fellow deserves a lesson — to
treat a beautiful girl in that way. It’s not right at all.’ Then an idea
came to him, and he smiled again. ‘I know what I’ll do,’ he thought.
‘I’ll make the boy fall in love with her. He’ll learn what it is to
suffer for love!’
When Puck returned, he was carrying the magical flower with him. He gave
the flower to Oberon.
‘Come with me,’ Oberon ordered. ‘I know the place where Titania sleeps.
Let’s go and find her.’
Oberon and Puck walked very quietly through the forest until they found
Titania. The Queen of the Fairies was fast asleep. Oberon crept forward,
and gazed down on her. Titania was very beautiful. Oberon poured a
little of the juice from the flower into the Queen’s eyes.
‘There!’ he whispered triumphantly to Puck. ‘When she wakes, she’ll fall
in love with the first thing she sees. I hope it’s something really ugly
and horrible — that’ll teach her to be more respectful to me in the
Oberon and Puck left the Queen sleeping peacefully. Then Oberon told
Puck about the young couple in the wood, and how cruelly the boy had
behaved towards the girl.
‘Take a little of this magic juice, Puck,’ the King ordered. ‘Go through
the wood until you find them. As soon as they’re asleep, pour a little
of the juice into the young man’s eyes. When he wakes, he’ll be in love
with the girl!’
Puck liked the King’s plan, and went off happily to search for the boy
and girl. He thought the King’s idea was a wonderful one.
Lysander and Hermia thought that they were quite alone in the wood.
They were very happy and excited to be together, and the time passed
quickly for them. Then Lysander realised that he had lost the way in the
‘We should sleep here until morning,’ he said to Hermia. ‘We’ll soon
find our way again when it’s light.’
Hermia agreed with him. She lay down on the ground, and made herself
comfortable. She was tired. Lysander lay down next to her on the soft
‘What are you doing!’ cried Hermia. ‘Don’t lie so close to me, we’re not
married yet. It’s not right.’
Lysander was disappointed, but he got up and moved a little way away.
Then he, too, lay down on the soft earth. The lovers had had a long and
exciting day, and they were soon asleep.
Puck was still looking for the boy and girl that Oberon had described to
him. He came through the silent wood, carrying the flower carefully in
his hand. Then he saw Lysander and Hermia asleep.
‘That must be them!’ he thought. ‘Look how far away the boy has put
himself. She’s frightened to lie next to him, poor thing.’
Puck carefully poured some of the magic juice into Lysander’s eyes.
‘Now he’ll fall in love with her,’ Puck said to himself. ‘As soon as he
wakes up and sees her, he’ll fall in love with her. Oberon will be
pleased. I’ve done everything that he asked.’
Lysander and Hermia went on sleeping. The wood was very dark and quiet.
A little while later Demetrius and Helena came into the part of the wood
where the lovers were sleeping. They were still quarrelling, and
Demetrius was becoming increasingly angry.
‘Go away!’ he shouted at Helena. ‘Leave me alone, I tell you!’
‘I know that I’m not as beautiful as Hermia,’ said Helena sadly.
‘Everyone loves her. If I were like her, you’d never treat me like
this.’ She began to sob . Then she saw something on the ground in front
of her. She cried out in surprise.
‘Why, it’s Lysander! Wake up, Lysander, wake up!’
Lysander woke up out of his sleep, and looked at Helena. The flower
worked its magic, and he fell in love immediately.
‘Helena, my love!’ he cried out.
Helena did not believe that Lysander was sincere in what he was saying.
She knew that Lysander and Hermia were very much in love. She imagined
that he was making fun of her because of her love for Demetrius.
‘It’s very cruel of you to make fun of me,’ Helena complained. ‘Why do
you mock me with this silly game?’
She turned away from Lysander, and walked off into the wood.
‘Wait! Helena, wait for me!’ cried Lysander.
He got up quickly, and chased after Helena.
Plastic ingestion is a huge threat to marine animals as we dump around
8.8 million tons of plastic in the world’s oceans, annually. A number of
species are already deeply impacted by the pervasive plastic
accumulating in the waters – among them sea turtles, seals, sea lions,
whales, and dolphins. Once in their system, plastic can often prove
deadly, causing blockages and releasing toxic chemicals into the
animals’ bodies. In most cases, the ingestion of plastic by marine
wildlife occurs accidentally or because of the animal mistaking the
waste for food. However, according to recent research, plastic also
turns out to be eaten on purpose, for example by fish that are attracted
to its taste.