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Goodbye to ducks

Some of my most precious memories involve ducks. When our daughter was little I used to walk her down to the pond almost every day. Sitting in her stroller, she would stretch her arms out toward the ducks and laugh her head off at their quacking. Every minute or two she would look up at me to share the fun.  

But after what happened today I don’t want to see any more ducks.

We recognized the flock of ducks from previous trips to the river bank. There were eleven of them and one had a lame leg. I scattered breadcrumbs for them, but the two big drakes gobbled up most of them and chased away any other duck who got in their way. So I started taking care to drop crumbs right in front of the weaker ducks, including the weakest of all – the one with the lame leg.

When the biggest drake noticed what I was doing, he waddled over and twice thrust his powerful yellow beak into the body of the duck with the lame leg. The second time the beak penetrated so deep that when he raised it up the whole of his skewered victim rose into the air with it. He shook her off onto the earth and turned to stare up at me.

I stared back. I should have given him a piece of my mind, but unfortunately I don't speak Duck. 

Had I only minded my own business, the poor creature would have died an easier and less painful death.

I told my sister about it. ‘That duck certainly put you in your place,’ she remarked. It was then that I realized that he must have perceived me as challenging his dominant position in the flock. I would like to make it clear to all concerned that I have no ambition to lead any flock of ducks or geese. Or even swans, for that matter. Not being a duck, goose, or swan myself, I know very well that I am not qualified to bear such responsibility.    

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