Short Stories » The Duck Pond
SO little Bridget took the baby on her right arm and a jug in her left hand, and went to the farm to get the milk. On her way she went by the garden-gate of a large house that stood close to the farm, and she told the baby a story:-
“Last summer," she said,” a little girl, bigger than you, for she was just able to walk, came to stay in that house she and her father and mother. All about the road just here, the ducks and the chickens from the farm, and an old turkey, used to walk about all the day long, but the poor little ducks were very unhappy, for they had no pond to swim about in, only that narrow ditch through which the streamlet is flowing. When the little girl's father saw this, he took a spade, and worked and worked very hard, and out of the ditch and the streamlet he made a little pond for the ducks, and they swam about and were very happy all through the summer days. Every morning I used to stand and watch, and presently the garden-gate would open, and then the father would come out, leading the little girl by the hand, and the mother brought a large plateful of bits of broken bread. The little girl used to throw the bread to the ducks, and they ran after it and ate it up quickly, while she laughed out with glee,, and the father and the mother laughed too just as merrily. Baby, the father had blue eyes, and a voice that you seemed to hear with your heart.
“The little girl used to feed the chickens too, and the foolish old turkey that was so fond of her it would run after her until she screamed and was afraid. The dear father and the little girl came out every morning, while the black pigs looked through the bars of the farm-yard gate and grunted at them, as if they were glad, and I think the ducks knew that the father had made the pond, for they swam round and round it proudly while he watched them, but when he went away they seemed tired and sad.
“The pond is not there now, baby, for a man came by one day and made it into a ditch again; and the chickens and the ducks from the farm are kept in another place.
“The little girl is far away in her own home, which the father made for her, and the dear father lives in his own home too in the hearts of those he loved."
That was the story that Bridget told the baby.