Once upon a time, there lived a duck by the name of David who may have been the most adorable little duck you had ever seen. Most animals loved David, especially David himself. David was so in love with his himself that he never came out of the pond, choosing instead to remain and look at himself in his reflection. Gosh, he was beautiful, with his glistening feathers, perfect eyes and amazingly symmetrical tail, he was the envy of all the other ducks in the pond. All the ducks, except, of course, for Gary.
Gary wasn’t exactly a duck, he was a pelican. Though he may as well have been a duck given that he was the only pelican in the entire pond. Gary thought of himself as a particularly good judge of beauty. This was because everything that he thought of beautiful was actually beautiful. Take for example that tree over there. See how its branches find more than one way to reach up towards the sky? Well, that is beautiful is it not? That’s right. It is. And Gary knew it was beautiful many years before I pointed it out to you just now, so it’s no wonder that he considered himself quite the expert on beauty. Now, back to David.
David was quite a mean duck and would often poke fun at the other, less attractive ducks. Particularly the younger ones. Why should you waste your time looking at something that was ugly when there is so much beauty in the world? David thought. So, David and Gary, two ducks who thought that they could both judge what beauty was, and thought of each other as ugly, disliked each other immensely. This was quite the problem to have when you were forced to share a home together. Little did they know that they were both planning to get rid of each other from the pond.
Gary knew that the only way he could get David out of the pond was to convince him that there was something more beautiful than himself out there in the big wide world. David, on the other hand, thought that he would just have to convince Gary that he was so ugly that he would be forced to leave the pond forever. The duck and the pelican swam towards one another, completely unaware of each other’s motives. Gary, being the smarter of the two aquatic birds, let David speak first.
“I am convinced,” David began, “That you may be the most grotesque creature I have ever seen.”
Gary, who had never experienced such an insult, began to cry. This caught him by surprise because he thought he was much stronger than that. Watching Gary cry, David started to feel guilty. He wasn’t quite sure what to do, so he swam around in circles for a few moments. Suddenly, Gary used his massive bill to pick David up, David panicking to escape in the hopes of not being swallowed. Just as David was about to give up, convinced he had seen his reflection for the last time, Gary spat him back out into the pond.
Everything immediately looked more beautiful to David. He had never noticed how beautiful it was to watch the trees swaying in the wind or how soothing it was to watch the clouds rolling across the sky. Gary started to feel some guilt for how he had behaved as well and now started seeing David in a different light. The two birds, confused about what had just happened, agreed to swim over to the other side of the pond to watch the sunset together.
My name is Gregg Savage and, every night when the house is quiet, I write and publish a free children’s story at dailytales.com.au for you to share and enjoy.
Illustrations by Alisha Towers: FACEBOOK
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