Writers have favourite muses. These change as one passes through various stages of life. My farm companions have become my muses at this juncture in time. Brenda, the little duck who thinks she is a chicken has captured my imagination. Here she is with her “mother” Casperella. Brenda is much bigger than her mother, but still she tries to crawl under Casperella, as a baby would do. She topples her mother over and in the end they just snuggle. It is adorable.
I felt certain her story would make a good children’s book. I started it, but searched for an ending. And then, ah, she had seven little babies and I was mesmerized by how Brenda would manage being a chicken hatching baby ducks.
It was a fascinating, sometimes heart breaking living event to observe.
Through the documentation of her actions and the actions of her babies, the book came to life.
In this version, Brenda is not telling the story. Her baby is. I hope you enjoy it; I hope, too, you come to recognize the complexity of a duck’s emotional life.
MY MOTHER THINKS SHE IS A CHICKEN
My name is Guinevere. Lady named me after the famous queen from King Arthur’s Court. I like my name, but I don’t feel like a queen. And I don’t want to be famous.
I am quite shy. I don’t like a lot of attention.
I have good reason to hide.
When I was born, my mother almost killed me.
As an egg, I had been lying under her body for a very long time.
My mother had kept me warm and finally, I was ready to come into the world.
I pecked my way out of my shell.
I wriggled and worked until I was free.
I looked up into my mother’s eyes and smiled.
She looked at my tiny webbed feet, my flat little bill.
I tried to make my way to nestle under her feathers.
She picked me up and threw me away.
What was wrong?
I tried to crawl back to my mother to the safety of her soft warm body.
She picked me up by my tiny neck and threw me again.
I didn’t know what to do. I stayed very still. I wanted to hide.
I began to cry.
A big hand came into the cage and lifted me away.