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Earlier in the spring a mallard duck decided to make her nest against the side of my parent’s house.  My Dad, a big fan of feathered fowl, checked on it daily.  One day it had been abandoned, or so he thought, and he took several of the eggs up to a faithful hen and slipped them into her nest.  As it turned out, the mother mallard had simply gone ‘walk about’  and returned.  Rather than disturb matters further, he left the eggs with the little hen.
The mama duck hatched her brood and ushered them down to the river that flows  below the house.   The hen’s eggs also hatched.   Not being partial to her species, she didn’t take any notice of a duckling among them.  Without prejudice of any kind, blind to color, feathers, beaks and feet, she took on the care of the single surviving mallard.  He’s now several months old and spends his time pecking around with his hen mom, answering her motherly clucks.
Several days ago my dad shooed the duckling down to the water garden in their yard that he dug years ago.  A little prodding and the duck plunged into the water,  ecstatically scooping up the duck weed as if he’d landed in his version of heaven.  So far, he’s returned to the chicken coop to spend the night, which may be wise as you never know when a hawk will decide to make a visit.  Generally around meal time.  Otherwise, he’s content in the mini pond with his mom clucking from a distance.  If he’s confused about his identity or being an ‘only duckling’ he hasn’t mentioned it, just gotten on with his life.  Brave, well, chipper.

The hen in the family photo above is his devoted mother, up for hen of the year.  Obviously, the rooster isn’t his father, but you can’t be sure about roosters anyway, or drakes, ganders…Speaking of which, the strange orange footed gander in the pic apparently decided to look out for the mama duck and her babies when she brought them back to visit the day after they hatched.  However, he must have gotten sidetracked working the crossword, or misplaced his glasses and lost sight of her, or perhaps she scurried off on some errand without him promising to be right back.  Even well intentioned geese are extremely absentminded.  And ducks, as everyone knows, are full of bobbance and bounce, easily distracted.   My parents haven’t seen her in days, maybe she’s gone walk about again.
There’s a moral in this story somewhere.  I’ll leave you to find it.  Meanwhile, why don’t we all just hold hands and sing Kumbia.  Or hold wings…
*Post by Beth Trissel.  Pics taken by my mom~

9 comments

  1. Mona Risk // June 14, 2010 at 10:25 AM  

    Beth, what a lovely story. I am saving it to tell it to Olivia and Madelyn when they come. They always ask for stories during lunch or dinner time. Have you ever tried to write children's book? This one is sn sweet.

  2. Beth Trissel // June 14, 2010 at 10:56 AM  

    Thanks Mona. I hadn't really thought about a children's book, Mona. Maybe I'll kick it around.

  3. Pamela Vee // June 14, 2010 at 11:38 AM  

    Beth, while the plot is different, your post reminded me of the children's book The Ugly Duckling. Your parents' experience is so touching and full of humor. Thanks for putting a smile on my face on a Monday morning.

  4. Judy // June 14, 2010 at 2:38 PM  

    Love the story, Beth, and yes there is a moral to the story for all of us... Love the fact that animals are so accepting. Why can't we be that way, too?

  5. Beth Trissel // June 14, 2010 at 3:12 PM  

    Maybe we should learn from the animals. And thanks.

  6. Mary Ricksen // June 14, 2010 at 4:13 PM  

    I once won a little duckling in a contest. Well, living with my bother in El Paso, TX in an apartment for a short time, didn't allow for a little duck. So I kept it for awhile and it got attached to me. But full grown it had to go. So we went to a friends and he moved in with them. But I would still go pick him up and take him places, I know crazy huh?
    But I once took him to a lake near ElPaso, weird with sand all around it. But when we got to the water my little duck that thought my feet were it's mom, suddenly disappeared. I freaked he went under and did not come up!! Then I looked up and saw him on the other side of the lake. He swam under water for a football field. I didn't know ducks did that. So I figured out he loved water and took him often to the thrill of lots of children who saw him. He would go to each one to be petted. Gosh he was cool.

  7. Beth Trissel // June 14, 2010 at 5:48 PM  

    What a wonderful duck, Mary.

  8. Mary Marvella // June 15, 2010 at 1:13 AM  

    Loved the story, Beth, sorta explains how women adopt kids and love them. A good mama is a good mama.

    Mary R. that story sounds like something you would do!

  9. Barbara Monajem // June 15, 2010 at 10:24 PM  

    Sweet! Thanks, Beth.