THE TORTOISE AND THE DUCKS

“Take me with you, please,” called a tortoise to a gray duck and a white duck that were flying over.
The ducks heard the tortoise and flew down toward him.
“Do you really wish to go with us?” asked the ducks as they came to the ground near the tortoise.
“I surely do,” replied the tortoise. “Will you please take me?”
“Why, yes, I think we can do so,” said the white duck slowly.
The two ducks talked together in low tones for a few minutes. Then they flew to the woods. They soon brought back a strong twig and dropped it in front of the tortoise.
“Now,” said the ducks, “if we take you off to see the world, you must promise us one thing.”
“What is that?” asked the tortoise. “I will promise almost anything if you will let me go.”
“You must promise not to say one word while you are in the air, NOT ONE WORD,” replied the ducks.
“All right, I promise,” said the tortoise. “Sometimes I do not say a word for a whole day because there is no one to listen to me.”
“Well, take firm hold of the middle of the twig; we are ready to start,” said the gray duck.
“If you value your life, you must hold on tightly,” said the white duck.
The tortoise took hold of the middle of the twig and each duck took hold of one end.
Then they flew up! up! up! while the tortoise swung from the middle of the twig. How he enjoyed it! He had never had such a ride.
They had gone a long way safely when they came to a hayfield. The haymakers looked up and saw the ducks and the tortoise.
“Ho! ho! the tortoise has stolen some wings,” called one of the haymakers.
“What a queer carriage he has!” laughed another in a loud voice.
“I pity his horses,” said another.
This made the tortoise so angry that he cried out, “You…” but no one knows what he was going to say, for he fell to the ground and was killed.

[Footnote: Adapted from The Tortoise and the Geese, in a book of the same name published by Houghton, Mifflin Co.]

The Swan and The Drake

Slowly, in majestic silence,
Sailed a Swan upon a lake;
Round about him, never quiet,
Swam a noisy quacking Drake.

“Swan,” exclaimed the latter, halting,
“I can scarcely comprehend
Why I never hear you talking:
Are you really dumb, my friend?”

Said the Swan, by way of answer:
“I have wondered, when you make
Such a shocking, senseless clatter,
Whether you are deaf, Sir Drake!”

Better, like the Swan, remain in
Silence grave and dignified,
Than keep, drake-like, ever prating,
While your listeners deride.

THE DUCKS SONG

mother duck and her little ducks, going into the water, for a swimm

One little black duck,
One little gray,
Six little white ducks
Running out to play.
One white lady-duck, motherly and trim,
Eight little baby-ducks bound for a swim.
One little white duck
Running from the water,
One very fat duck—
Pretty little daughter;
One very grave duck, swimming off alone,
One little white duck, standing on a stone.

One little white duck
Holding up its wings,
One little bobbing duck
Making water-rings;
One little black duck, turning round its head,
One big black duck—see, he’s gone to bed.
One little lady-duck, motherly and trim,
Eight little baby-ducks bound for a swim.
One lazy black duck, taking quite a nap,
One precious duck, here on mother’s lap.

THE EATYOUP by Abbie Phillips Walker

small duck on the lake

Dicky Duck was a very wise young fellow. He swam about the pond alone long before his brothers left their mother, and such worms and bugs and things of that sort as he found made all the other young ducks quite green with envy.

But one day Dicky Duck almost lost his life by thinking he was so wise, for he was swimming around the pond when he came to the woods where Mr. Fox was hiding back of some bushes.

Dicky did not go near enough for Mr. Fox to catch him, but Mr. Fox could see that he was a nice plump duck and it made his eyes shine with longing to look at him.

“Ah me,” he sighed as Dicky swam by, “if only I knew some wise creature to ask! I am far too dull to know anything myself.”

When Dicky heard the word “wise” he felt sure that meant him, for was not he the wisest duck of his size and age? So he stopped swimming and looked around.

Mr. Fox had hidden himself well under the bushes now. Not even the tip of his nose could be seen and he made his voice sound very weak, as if he were a very small animal.

“Who is it that wants to know a wise creature?” asked Dicky Duck.

“Oh, a poor little animal called Eatyoup,” answered Mr. Fox, laughing so at his joke that he could hardly speak. “I am very stupid and do not know much and I have no wise friends.”

Dicky Duck had never heard of an Eatyoup, but he had no intention of letting anyone think there was anything he did not know, so he swam nearer and said, “Well, I am wise, and if you wish to know anything ask me. Come out where I can see you and we can talk to each other better.” He was trying all the time to get a glimpse of the new animal, but Mr. Fox was a wise creature himself and he had no intention of being seen.

“Oh, dear! I should hate to show my miserable little self to such a big, fine-looking creature as you are,” he said. “It is bad enough to have you know I am stupid, but if you will come closer I will tell you what it is I want to know.”

Dicky Duck by this time was very brave, for what had he to fear from so small a creature as the Eatyoup. So he swam right up to the side of the pond and out bounced Mr. Fox and almost caught him.

If Dicky had not used his wings as well as his feet he would not have escaped, but he was in the middle of the pond, swimming for dear life, by the time Mr. Fox was in the water, and as the farm was not far off Mr. Fox decided not to risk his life.

When Dicky Duck reached the barnyard he told all the fowl about the strange animal he had seen, called an Eatyoup, and that, while he had a very weak voice, he was almost as large as big Rover, the dog.

Of course everyone thought Dicky wiser than ever when he told this, but for all that he was very careful not to swim near the woods again, for, though he had told the fowl he had seen an Eatyoup, he was pretty sure in his own mind that he had met Mr. Fox.

THE DUCK AND THE KANGAROO by Edward Lear

kangaroo

I
Said the Duck to the Kangaroo,
‘Good gracious! how you hop!
Over the fields and the water too,
As if you never would stop!
My life is a bore in this nasty pond,
And I long to go out in the world beyond!
I wish I could hop like you!’
Said the duck to the Kangaroo.

II
‘Please give me a ride on your back!’
Said the Duck to the Kangaroo.
‘I would sit quite still, and say nothing but “Quack,”
The whole of the long day through!
And we’d go to the Dee, and the Jelly Bo Lee,
Over the land and over the sea;–
Please take me a ride! O do!’
Said the Duck to the Kangaroo.

III
Said the Kangaroo to the Duck,
‘This requires some little reflection;
Perhaps on the whole it might bring me luck,
And there seems but one objection,
Which is, if you’ll let me speak so bold,
Your feet are unpleasantly wet and cold,
And would probably give me the roo-
Matiz!’ said the Kangaroo.

IV
Said the Duck ,’As I sate on the rocks,
I have thought over that completely,
And I bought four pairs of worsted socks
Which fit my web-feet neatly.
And to keep out the cold I’ve bought a cloak,
And every day a cigar I’ll smoke,
All to follow my own dear true
Love of a Kangaroo!’

V
Said the Kangaroo,’I'm ready!
All in the moonlight pale;
But to balance me well, dear Duck, sit steady!
And quite at the end of my tail!’
So away they went with a hop and a bound,
And they hopped the whole world three times round;
And who so happy, — O who,
As the duck and the Kangaroo?