Chapter 34

Once upon a time, in a land far far away…

Part two of this plagiarised story goes like this:

yeoldewoods.jpg

On an unremarkable day like this, Quackling expected to come to the woods and find it as it had always been. But alas, it was not so. Everything under the sun has a beginning and an end. Ye Olde Woods stood before her as a ghost of what it once was. It was difficult to explain what had changed.

The air was cold and the branches were stark, but this was no different to any other winter day. A layer of dust had settled on her indoor wooden furnishings but if that was all, the solution would be a simple one. You could say that the atmosphere changed because several trunks had fallen and few creatures remained – but that alone could not explain the utter hollowness of this place.

You see, not long before Quackling arrived, a faceless villain invaded the woods. He came deep one night, accompanied by an army of termites to clean out the trees from the inside out. That is, he came to steal the golden sap from every living plant and animal. His motivation? A hunger for gold. World domination. Or forging a stone of immortality? The villain quickly moved onto bigger and better projects and was out of the picture. But without the sap, life at Ye Olde Woods ebbed away and it would only a matter of time before the trees all dried up, fell, became chopped up and burnt to rubble.

Just when all seemed lost, the Elven brothers, the appointed guardians of the woods, came to the rescue! What took you so long and where were you when we needed you, the residents complained. The pair did not answer but began to sing a slow, melodious, beautiful Elvish ballad with echoes that reverberated and stirred a now silent wood. To every creature’s delight, with each verse the dry wood began to rattle and green, broken branches started to come together with an invisible running subcuticular suture, and golden drops of dew began to form – or was it guttation on the leaves?

They watched in gladness and wonder as one tree after another was filled with life again. Quackling waited in eager anticipation for her ancestral tree to be restored. Yet as the Elves exited the woods, repeating the last line of the chorus one last time, some trees remained dead. The trees that were chosen were neither the tallest nor the oldest. And insult upon insult, that sturdy old tree, the one that once stood tall and grand, the only thing in Ye Olde Woods that Quackling loved and cared about, now appeared more dead than when their song started. In fact, its dry trunk began to creak and came down slowly, forever coming to rest on the forest floor with a soft thud.

Hey wait, come back, you haven’t finished your work and this is not fair! Quackling was exceedingly upset, waddling and chasing after the Elves. Hush little one, said the older creatures who held her back. We don’t know why but the Elves have their reasons and have tended to these woods with perfect wisdom for centuries. What do you know about reforestation projects compared to them?

“Some there are among us who sing that the Shadow will draw back, and peace shall come again. Yet I do not believe that the world will ever again be as it was of old, or the light of the sun as it was aforetime.”

That’s all folks. The end.

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Chapter 33

Once upon a time, in a land far far away…

Incy Wincy wrote a story for school and didn’t use Turnitin. So Quackling engaged in a bit of plagiarism and this is how the first part of the story goes:

Quackling went up the sea, to the land of her ancestors. The days were short and winter solace had arrived. The migratory birds above headed in the opposite direction to warmer lands. Once in the distant past her parents flew south with these birds, but settled permanently in a warm piece of Far Far Away with a year-round food source. Tropical savanna, but not in Havana…  half of that land grew banana-na-nas.

Back to the present – the land up to the sea had a permanent lack of contrast and saturation because the very unhygienic air made the sun sick and sniffly. Whenever the wind blew, a damp chill tickled Quackling’s bones. Shaking or blowing her feathers didn’t dry them. Pressing against a hot iron did, however, roast her feathers dry a little.

On a windy day like this she would normally shelter at Ye Olde Woods – the magical boscage of her ancestral home. Here the trees dripped with golden sap that gave life to all surrounding flora and fauna. Rumour had it that deep in the woods there stood an enchanted tree with giant branches that could take you to distant lands.

On a wintery day like this the woods would be lined with straight rows of dark trunks that stood tall and proud. Outwardly unimpressive, the trees were dressed with only scant wine-coloured leaves or rows of common brown sparrows. However, each arched trunk-door opened up to a snug home that had a life of its own.

On a wet day like this every creature had a tree and Quackling would scurry off to hers. The trunk that protected them would stand sturdy, though somewhat weathered. The letters and scribbles carved into the branches where the little ones once climbed and played remained unchanged. Year in year out the wooden furnishings inside waited patiently, as did the old wooden cuckoo that dutifully poked its head out each hour.

Each time she came, the tree-home welcomed her with a glassful of hot green tea made with dried spring-leaves and a full jars of nuts harvested in autumn. At dusk Quackling would sink into a large cushion and peer out a small round window as the lights came on. There was always plenty of entertainment with pesky purple possums at the neighbouring trunk-house to the right and squeaking scrambling squirrels on the left.

But oh deer! The occasional wild darting dashing darling deer always managed to tear her eyes away from undrawn curtains. Ye Olde Woods felt like it existed before the beginning of time and was the kind of place that stayed the same forever and ever.

deer

That’s all folks. The end.

Chapter 31

Long long ago, in a land far far away…

Remember mother duck? And remember how Quacking didn’t want to be a duck?

Well, when Quackling was an egg, mother duck was ever so pleased that she was going to hatch into a duck and not some other creature. Because she herself was a duck before she became a quack. Mmm, being a duck is great! She nodded approvingly. You can quack, you can swim, and there’s always lots of fish to keep your tummies full. Come to think of it, Quackling can remember how she used to hang out on the waters with mother duck, long before she even popped out as an egg!

So mother duck thought Quackling was going to get bigger and better, and grow to be the biggest and bestest duck in a biggest bestest pond. But Quackling didn’t care about those things – or maybe she did, but not enough to make it happen. She kept going off on adventures, hanging out on dry land (shudder), taking some flying lessons, counting quacks and fish, sampling the soil, writing stories, hanging out with egglings and baby quacks, and all sorts of other weird things. ARGH, said mother duck. Why can’t you be a normal duck and be happy with a normal duck life?

But time heals all wounds… or does it? Anyway, mother duck came to be at peace that her not-so-little one was busy and content, with enough food from the pond and elsewhere to make her tummy nice and round. Importantly, Quackling also had enough time to be around and tell her stories when she got really sick. She always liked to hear those in-the-pond and out-of-the-pond stories, because she was satisfied that abnormal or not, Quackling could swim and had become a useful duck. Some of her duck friends at the pond even became Quackling’s friends.

Thus ended the decade-long feud between the two. Then in her sick bed, mother duck died. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men, couldn’t put her back together again. Life’s full of unhappily ever after tales, after all.

That’s all folks. The end.