I was talking to “uncle Tom” on the phone the other day when our four ducks waddled by. They were complaining about my proximity to the blue, plastic kiddie pool they use as a pond so loud I had to pause our conversation until I’d walked well beyond their objections.
We’ve never raised ducks before, but the girls thought it would be fun to take some to the fair, so….. I have to admit, they are far more entertaining than chickens. Once able to hear, and having lost momentum in the conversation we’d been having, I shared this opinion with Tom intending for it to be little more than a passing comment. Surprisingly he felt compelled to set aside the no doubt profound matters we’d been discussing and shared a brief story…
I was content to listen, as this was one of those incredibly beautiful days that just makes a person feel as though everything in the world is as it should be. I aimlessly wandered around the yard inspecting the wonders of late spring while Tom described the scene. Apparently some years ago a couple he knows decided to raise several ducklings with their free range chickens.
They had a young, broody, banty hen that immediately adopted them, and the ducklings followed her everywhere. That is until they discovered the small pond on the property. Now we all know that chicks shouldn’t be anywhere near water, and that a good hen will do anything to keep her babies away from it… Yeah, you already know where this is going.
So I’m hearing about this loving hen desperately trying to heard a bunch of very intent ducklings away from a pond with a grin growing on my face. I’m thinking this was going to be one of those tender hearted, happy ending type stories, right? Well,… after a couple of weeks having failed miserably to keep those ducklings from the water, the hen finally gave up and simply watched with concern from the shore. The weeks turned into months, and the ducklings grew into full fledged ducks as fine as you please… Then flew away.
“Dang Tom! I though this was gonna’ be a happy story!” Tom said, “No wait! It gets better.” Though that poor hen must have been awful broken hearted when all her babies flew away, she hadn’t lost her nurturing instinct by any means. The following spring she happily found herself in charge of another clutch of baby birds. Only this time they were chicks! She saw to it that they were well fed and groomed; never to hot or to cold. All was fine and dandy for awhile,… that is until the chicks grew big enough to follow her across the field to the pond where she lovingly pushed each and everyone of them in….
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