Posted 02-08-2003 at 20:03:28
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Back when we were in our 'stock the farm and buy anything' phase we bought eight baby ducks. Seven females and one male. Of course the male, Henry, instantly became my son's. It slept in his room in a stinky old fishy smelling tackle box until it got too big. The females slept in a cardboard box under the kitchen table.
Henry is the only survivor. The way the rest of these baby ducks died will always be a source of embarrassment/guilt/sadness/mystery and argument for my daughters. At some point one of the girls moved the box to their room. This was summer time, and our house in the summer is colder than most people's houses in the winter.
One of the girls, (this is still a subject of heated debate) decided that the ducks were too cold because they were squawking and quacking a lot. Which is really ironic since those ducks squawked 24-7. They squawked while eating, and while playing, and they slept in shifts so that somebody was up and squawking at all times. It was a duck conspiracy.
Anyhow, once it was established that the ducks were too cold (i.e.: too loud and were keeping the girls up), the mystery girl crept out of bed, gathered them all together and brought them to bed with them. Nice thought, bad idea. My thought is, the one that didn't do it, was all for the idea, so they both blamed themselves and each other.
I got up at the usual time, around five a.m. and stumbled into the bathroom which is right off the girl's room. While I was sitting there....thinking about my day, it occurred to me that something wasn't right. After searching my sleepy brain it dawned on me. There was no squawking/quacking. I knew instantly that this was not a good sign. I racked my brain trying to determine if the cat could have gotten in.
I went into the girls room and peered into the box, blinking repeatedly just to make sure, even though it would be hard to miss seven sun yellow fuzzy little bodies in the straw covered bottom of a cardboard box. There were no ducks. I woke the girls. Where are the ducks girls? Why are they so........quiet?
Well, the proverbial fecal matter hit the propulsion system, there was a bunch of yelling, a flood of tears, and a great deal of finger pointing, and things were said that can never be taken back. I didn't have the heart to punish anybody, they were too busy punishing themselves and each other.
It never really was established who put the ducks in the bed, or who actually rolled over on them and ‘warmed’ them beyond a point where it didn‘t matter anymore. They were kind of piled up in the middle of the bed by the time I got in there. Out of seven of them you would think that a few of them would have gotten away, but no. It was not to be. As sad as this whole thing is, it must be something for Guiness book.
We gathered up the small non-squawking and non-quacking, surprisingly warm little bodies, and buried them amidst a hail of tears and apologies to God, all ducks everywhere, and all living things in general.
Anyhow, the moral of this story is, never take ducks to bed with you. Or at the very least if you're going to be a baby duck in this household, you better hope you're a male.