My duckling Ophelia had a long, graceful neck; luminous, creamy feathers; and a friendly, flirty disposition. And she turned out to be a boy.
So Ophelia had to rejoin her–oops, his–other siblings at my neighbor’s farm lest two males prove too rough for my little female Veelie. (There was no question of parting with the other male, my son’s beloved Brownie.)
But my neighbors graciously let me take a female in exchange; thus did New Ophelia join our flock.
At first I thought it was a joyful family reunion; after all, it had only been about three weeks since my seven of my ten orphaned ducklings had gone to the neighbors’ farm. The three immediately huddled together and prodded each other gently with their beaks.
Alas, the harmony didn’t last long: Brownie soon began grabbing Ophelia by her neck and dragging her away from the food every time she tried to eat. Veelie, taking her cue from Brownie, soon followed suit. I was afraid poor Ophelia would be starved out, so I threatened to bring Brownie to Jacob’s farm.
Sage pleaded for his beloved bird, though, and earned him a respite. And it was just as well; now, after a few days, the birds have settled into a comfortable coexistence.
Despite the presence of a changeling, harmony now rules the Kingdom of the Ducks.