The Affectionate Duck
by W. H. G. Kingston
A Duck and drake lived together, as husband and wife should do, in the bonds of mutual affection. The poultry-yard being assailed, the drake was carried off by thieves. The poor bereaved duck exhibited evident signs of grief at her loss. Retiring into a corner, she sat disconsolate all day. No longer did she preen herself, as had been her wont. Scarcely could she be induced to waddle to the pond, nor would she touch the food brought to her. It was thought, indeed, that she would die.
While in this unhappy condition, a drake, which by the same marauders had been deprived of his mate, cast his eyes on her, and began to consider that she might replace his lost companion. She, however, instead of offering him encouragement, repelled his advances with evident disdain.
Search had been made for the thieves; and though they escaped, their booty was discovered, most of the birds alive and well, and among them the affectionate duck’s lost husband. On his return to the farmyard, the loving couple exhibited the liveliest joy at meeting. She had a long story to tell, which the drake listened to with stern attention. No sooner was it finished than he glanced fiercely round the farmyard, and then, evidently with fell intentions, made his way towards where the rival drake was digging worms from the soft mud. His pace quickened as he approached his antagonist; then, with a loud quack, he flew at him, brought him to the ground, pecked out first one eye and then the other, and otherwise assaulted him so furiously, that his unfortunate foe sank at length lifeless beneath the blows of his strong bill.
While I describe the bad example set by the drake, I must entreat you not to harbour even for a moment any angry feelings which may arise at injuries done you.