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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
But I Can't Swim


Everyone knows that ducks can swim from the moment they're hatched. They usually head right for the nearest pond or lake and swim about, pushing themselves along with their webbed feet. That's the way ducks are.

Kiley, the kingfisher, sat on a branch. The leaves dangled down, nearly touching the small pond. The summer sun shone down on the pond, sparkling and twinkling in the droplets of water. “I wish I could swim. All day long I watch the ducks and geese. They come and swim whenever they want.”

Ruby swam across the pond. Her bright yellow feathers caught Kiley's attention. “Ruby, can you teach me to swim?”

The duck quacked and swam around in circles. “Just jump in. It's easy.”

“But I can't swim. I'm not a duck. I'm not a goose and I'm not a frog, or a fish. I'm a kingfisher and all I can do is fly,” Kiley sighed.

“You're going to get very hungry sitting up there. The pond is full of fish. Watch this,” Ruby said. She ducked her head under the water and came up with a fish in her bill. “I saw a lot of fish down there. Come on. Jump in.”

Kiley shook her head. “But I can't swim.”

Ruby swam away. “Well, if you're not going to try, then I'm off.”

A while later a plump green frog hopped into the pond. It sat on a rock in the middle. “Tommy, can you teach me to swim?”

The frog leaped into the air, it's long tongue darting out to catch flies. “Just jump in. It's easy.”

“But I can't swim. I'm not a frog. I'm not a goose and I'm not a duck, or a fish. I'm a kingfisher and all I can do is fly,” Kiley sighed.

“You're going to get very hungry sitting up there. The pond is full of fish and look at all the bugs. Watch this,” Tommy said. He stuck out his tongue and caught a dragonfly that flew just above the water. “There's a lot of things to eat in this pond. Come on. Jump in.”

Kiley shook her head. “But I can't swim.”

The frog hopped away. “Well, if you're not even going to try, then I'm off.”

Kiley looked at the leaves. They shimmered in the breeze. She saw daisies, bumblebees, butterflies and grasshoppers.

A goose flew down from the clouds and landed in the lake. “Hello, Kiley,” said Anna.

“Anna, can you teach me to swim?”

“Just jump in. It's easy,” Anna said.

“But I can't swim,” Kiley said. “I'm not a goose. I'm not a duck, or a fish, or a frog. I'm a kingfisher and all I can do is fly.”

“You're going to get very hungry sitting up there. The pond is full of fish. Watch this,” Anna said. She stuck her long neck under the water and caught a fish. “There's a lot of things to eat in this pond. Come on. Jump in.”

“But I can't swim,” Kiley said.

“Well, if you're not even going to try, then I'm off.” Anna spread her wings and flew into the air.

Kiley's tummy growled. Whenever she was hungry, she nibbled on seeds and berries. “I would love to eat some fish.”

Another kingfisher flew over to the branch. “Hi, Kiley.”

“Hello Kevin.”

Kiley watched as Kevin dove of the branch into the pond, went under the water and came out with a fish in its beak. He gulped it down and flew over to Kiley.

“Kevin, how did you do that? Who taught you to swim?”

“We're kingfishers, Kiley. We know how to swim when we're born,” Kevin said.

“You mean I do know how to swim? If I jump off the branch, I'll be able to dive into the water and catch a fish?” Kiley's eyes grew wider.

“Of course. Follow me.” Kevin dove off into the pond.

Kiley looked down at the water. “If Kevin can swim, then I can too.” She pulled her wings close to her body and dove into the water. When she opened her eyes she saw a lot of fish swimming around. She poked one with her beak and swam back to the surface. With the wiggling fish in her beak, she flew to the branch and gobbled it down. “I did it! I caught my own fish. I know how to swim!”

“Of course you can, Kevin said, and flew away.

Every day Kiley went to the pond and swam around with the goose, the duck and the frog. She caught enough fish to fill her up every day.

One day she heard a voice. “Hi, Kiley. Will you teach me to swim?”

She looked up and saw a tiny kingfisher. Kiley looked at the duck and they laughed. “I'll teach you,” she said to the other bird and flew to the branch.


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