Lucy, the Lucky Duckling…
I was watching Britain’s Got Talent last night when a duck waddled onto the stage. Another one of those animal acts that occasionally are brilliant, I thought, but usually amusing when the animals decide to have fun instead.
This duck had no intention of performing, so the act didn’t last long.
For one magical moment, I remembered a duck I once knew. Her name was Lucy, and I was very fond of her way back in my childhood.
We lived in the countryside on a small farm, and every Spring, the farmer would send for 12 newborn chicks. They would arrive in a cardboard box that had holes in the lid. It was a magical moment when that lid was raised, and we could see the tiny chicks. They never seemed any the worse for their deliverance and were soon installed in the barn in a special pen complete with a heat lamp.
In one particular year, 12 ducklings were also ordered, and we awaited their arrival with a mixture of excitement and curiosity. When they arrived, there were 13 in the box, something we would later be grateful for.
After a few weeks, they were transferred into an outdoor run, always our first point of call after school. Only we couldn’t see any of the ducklings in the pen.
Nobody would say where they had gone, just that they must have escaped somehow.
Later, I found out that they had indeed escaped onto the main road and been run over by the passing cars. This information was kept from the younger children, and it was a hard secret for me to keep. The next day, a neighbour turned up with a cardboard box that also had holes in the lid.
I was given the box and told to open it. Inside was what I liked to think was the thirteenth duckling, Lucy.
We often had a chicken for dinner, but Lucy lived to a grand old age, waddling around the garden…