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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Feeding the Ducks


"I hear the ducks quacking, Grandpa," Maggie said, running into the house. Grandpa was sitting in his comfortable chair in front of the fireplace. "Grandpa, come quickly. The ducks are at the pond. You said the next time I saw them there we could feed them. They’re out there right now," she said anxiously.

"Och, all right, lass. Run and get some bread from your gran then and we’ll be off," Grandpa replied. He pulled himself up and walked outside. He could see the pond from the front of the house. There were indeed many ducks in the pond.

"I’m ready, Grandpa. Gran gave me a big bag of dried out bread. She said she threw some stale bannocks into the bag too. Let’s go now, before they leave," Maggie said.

Grandpa was pulled towards the pond by an excited granddaughter. Her small hand was in his, tugging him along. He loved Maggie and would do just about anything to make her happy. Today she was dressed in red slacks, a red cardigan and a soft yellow shirt with red hearts on it. Her long braids were tied with the same soft yellow ribbons. "You look just like your mum," Grandpa whispered to himself.

They reached the pond. All around the edges of it grew tall reeds. Grandpa sat down on the grass. "Grandpa, can I have some bread?" Maggie asked. She looked around the dark blue pond. The ducks were bobbing up and down on the water at the other side of the pond. "I’ll throw some in and they’ll all come over to us. Watch and see, Grandpa," Maggie assured him.

She threw some bread into the water. It quickly began to disintegrate. "Come on, ducks. Come and get some bread," she called. Several ducks headed across the pond towards them. A few flew over from the other side. "Here they come, Grandpa." She threw another handful of bread into the water. The ducks began to quack and eat the bread. Maggie tossed it in as Grandpa broke it up into small bits. Some of the ducks began to fight each other for it and chase others away.

One or two ducks climbed out of the water and headed for Grandpa. He held pieces of bread out and they snatched it right from his hand. Maggie turned to see. "I want to do that, Grandpa. I want to feed them out of my hands too," she said excitedly. She ran over to her grandpa and he handed her a few pieces of bread. "Here ducks, come and eat it out of my hand," she called to them. One came up and quickly pulled it from her fingers. Maggie giggled. Soon another came along. When it pulled out the bread it nipped her fingers, but didn’t hurt.

"Look at all the different kinds of ducks, Maggie. See the ones with green necks. Those are called Mallard ducks. They are males. The brown ones are the females." Maggie listened to her grandpa and kept on feeding the ducks. Two white ducks with orange bills came waddling up. Their webbed feet were as orange as their beaks.

"Grandpa, look at these white ducks. They are so big," Maggie said. "Will they bite me if I try to feed them?" she asked.

"I don’t think they’d mean to, but be careful. Give them big pieces. In fact, give them these bannocks," Grandpa said, handing them to her.

She held a bannock in her fingertips and one of the white ducks came closer. Suddenly it stretched its long neck and yanked the bannock out of Maggie’s hand. "The duck didn’t bite me," she squealed with joy. She fed them until all the bannocks were gone.

When the bread ran out the ducks began to go back to the other side of the pond. One or two hung around for a while. "That was fun, Grandpa," Maggie said.

"Yes it was, lassie," Grandpa agreed. "We’d better head for home. It looks like rain coming."

Maggie took Grandpa’s hand and helped him stand up. They walked back to the croft. "Grandpa, what do ducks do when it rains?" Maggie asked.

"They don’t mind the rain. Their feathers keep them dry. They usually just stay by the pond and not worry about it," he explained. Just as they reached the house, the rain started. "Let’s hurry inside."

Gran was waiting for them with a hot cup of tea. "Gran, we fed the ducks. I fed two big white ones and they ate all your bannocks."

"That’s wonderful, hen. Now, come and drink your tea," Gran said.

They sipped their hot tea and listened to the rain come down outside. Maggie thought about the ducks for a minute, but remembered what Grandpa had told them, stopped worrying and ate her chocolate-covered biscuits.


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