Thursday, December 07, 2006

What heaven gives, Heaven takes . . .

By Kirsten Nour Namskau

As a child, I lived outside Oslo . . .(Now it’s almost in the center of the city) It was a new suburb and close to us was three farms. All the summer we could enjoy the sheep grassing in the fields and it was a rich wild-life of silka-deers, hare, birds, wild-ducks, wild-geese, foxes and badgers.
In one of the farms, they had 12 children. The farmer had made a big part of the farm as a play-ground for his children with a big swimming-pool. As people moved into the new suburb, he started an equestrian-school in which I joined. They had many animals to amuse their own children first of all, but as the suburb grew . . . people started to use their “garden play-ground” as a place of pick-nick in the week-ends. The farmer didn’t see any reason to deny their entrance . . . He loved to see people and children enjoy his home-made paradise.
Instead he opened a restaurant and several kiosks and put out benches and tables, but up to date . . . it is no entrance fee.
It was also a paradise for animals. They were taken good care of and soon also wild-life started to enter their farm. He made an artificial pond some wild mallard-ducks used to enjoy when they came from southern countries. Sometimes even gees and swans made some visits too.
One evening . . . the farmer went the last rounding on his farm, to see that everything was Ok and that the visitors during the day had not left their garbage behind . . . he found a female mallard-duck hiding in a bush. Carefully he took it out and discovered that one of its wings was broken and damaged in a way so the duck could never fly again. This was the work of some children’s cruelty.
Carefully, he brought the duck to the pond.
The next day, when people came to the play-round, they discovered that he had put up a fence around the pond with a poster saying; “No one are allowed to pass this fence, or to feed any animal without my permission.”
Some of the grown-ups asked why he had done so . . . it was wild-life.
He answered: “On my property, everyone shall feel safe . . . even the wild-life. The one making problems for another, is the one not allowed on my property.”

A male mallard-duck joined the female and they become a couple. She laid eggs and 5 ducklings came to life.
But autumn came and the male became more and more restless. In the sky one could see the flocks of gees and ducks start to take their way to southern countries. Rapping was heard in the sky as they flew over the farm in a formation of a “V.”
When the last flock of ducks took farewell, the male-duck also took farewell with his “wife”
. . . Took to his wings together with the now grown ducklings . . . made a big circle in the air and joined the flock.
Alone and left behind in fear was the female duck.
When the first snow came, the farmer carefully took the duck and brought her to the stable. The stable-boy put some hay in a corner of the stable and the duck fast made herself a nest. Every morning, when the stable-boy came to do the morning chores with the horses, he also came with two bowls for the duck. . . . one with grains and one with fresh water.
Throughout the winter, she learned to trust and feel safe in the stable. When the stable-boy came early in the morning to do his chores, she came running and rapping, wishing him welcome.

When spring again came with sun and warm days, the farmer let her out in the pond again.
One day one could see the first flock of ducks passing in the sky in a big formation of a “V”.
She looked up, stretched her neck and rapped: “My mate, are you coming with this flock?”
They answered her: “No, his not with us . . . we have seen him . . . he will come . . . maybe next flock . . . “
As flock after flock passed, the same procedure took place . . . when suddenly . . . from one of the last flocks, it suddenly was one duck turning off from the formation . . . making a big circle in the air and came down.
It was her mate coming back. (As the farmer had put a yellow marker on his leg, he knew it was her mate from last year.)
This scene took place every year for many years.
One year . . . as usually . . . at spring-time, she was again out in the pond, waiting for her mate to come.
She looked up to the sky for every flock of ducks passing . . . and rapped for her mate; “Are you there my love? Are you in this flock?”
They rapped back: “No, his not in this flock . . . maybe in the next one“

But this time . . . he did not come . . . he had died on his way.
Later . . . another male duck came to the pond . . . .
But that year, she didn’t lay any eggs and no ducklings were hatched.

When winter came . . . the farmer as usually brought her to the stable.
The stable-boy cared for her the best he could, but he also noticed a new sound from her from time to time . . . This was a sound he had not heard before . . . was she crying . . . ?
She was also more silent than she used to be . . .

One day when the stable-boy came for his morning-chores, she was still asleep, with her head tucked under her wing. She didn’t meet him with her rapping.
He finished his chores with the horses and went up to the duck with her bowls of food and water.
He let his hand glide softly over her body, to wake her up.
Then . . . her head glided out from her wing and fell towards the floor of her nest.
The stable-boy understood . . . that she would not wake up this morning . . . .
She had died . . . . of broken heart.


Kirsten N. Namskau said...

After I told this story the first time in 1992. One of the sons of this family moved to Egypt and opened a equestrian school here. (Pål Thorsen)

BBC said...

Nice story hon, but is it a true one? I mean, the duck could have died of old age ya know.

Laurel Ann has a duck pond at her place, it's cool.

The picture of the geese, I have an animated one. Hugs

Kirsten N. Namskau said...

bbc: The story is true. Of course the duck also could have died of old age...But broken heart maybe speed it up, don't you think???

BBC said...

Maybe, but my heart has been broken a few times and I'm still kicking.

Here is a link I think you might enjoy. Hugs.

Interesting Native Link

BBC said...

PS.. I removed the counter from my new blog cuz it was changing yours also. I will install a new one. Hugs.

Princess Saphire said...

This is really sad... I know that there are old couples who will pass on after their mate. But to think that the duck was to suffer like this... a long distant relationship too..

Hammer said...

This happens in many bird species that mate for life. I believe a broken heart is probably the most accurate answer.