ducks2

Why did I start the year with a picture of ducks?

I want to tell you a story that has kept me pondering since Christmas and I can’t solve the riddle about what life is trying to tell me here, and what the moral of the story is supposed to be.

When we went to the farm this Christmas, the ducklings had hatched. Fourteen of them. By the time we arrived there were only eleven left. Three disappeared during the night without trace. The next night was fine, the family was okay, but the following night the numbers were decimated, leaving five, and the day after Boxing Day all the ducklings were all gone. Isn’t that sad? I look at their lovely mellow faces, so content and clueless. Oh, dear!

But this is not the end of the story. While the duck and the drake had a full nest of eggs, the old chick in the pen next to the ducks tried to brood some eggs as well, but to no avail. The whole affair was rather doomed, as there is no rooster about. Still, she was sitting on these duds for ages, not wanting to admit defeat.  Luckily the duck had actually laid sixteen eggs, but wasn’t big enough to cover all of them. So two were given to the old hen. The dud eggs were replaced and the hen continued sitting on the duck eggs instead. Sure enough, when time came, these ducklings hatched as well though they shouldn’t be called ducklings, but rather chicklings. Mother hen was clucking around them and like every good mother tried to teach them all she knew about life. Like how to scatch for food (pretty difficult with webbed feet) or having a sand bath. While a couple of feet away the duck family was happily paddling ab0ut in the plastic pond. At night though, the chicken took the chicklings under her wings and that is how they survived. I wonder at what point they will find out that they are not chickens and whether they can survive life with the experience that is handed down to them by their surrogate mother. I certainly hope that the story has an equally happy ending like in the fairy tale by H C Anderson: The Ugly Duckling.

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