Amy T. Wilkinson
Illustrations by Austin Beach
There once was a duck who lived on an island in the center of a pond.
He was loud of mouth, and lack of wit, the type of which no one was fond.
He would strut about, ruffling his feathers telling others that he was great,
despite the fact the he was dim and rude and seriously overweight.
One day the duck swam from his island and decided to go for a walk.
He was bored and was looking for a poor creature with whom he could talk.
He waddled through the forest, but every animal he found,
had to dash or run away or took immediately to a hole in the ground.
The duck thought, "Well, that is odd, they must have not seen me here.
If they had known it was me approaching, they would not be so quick to disappear."
Next time I will have to call out, to let them know itís me,
once they notice who I am, none will have to flee.
Duck continued searching, for the friend he knew he deserved,
even though he was not willing to put work into the friendship he wished to incur.
While searching, he came across a cabin that had been built in a small clearing,
He went inside and found a wolf skin was hanging from the ceiling.
He pulled it down and put it on and looked at his reflection,
He turned his head and twirled around and after close inspection,
He decided he looked like a wolf and would begin to act as so.
That way the animals would do his bidding, wherever he may go.
"The wolf is the master of the woods," the duck thought aloud,
"I will keep this wolf coat with everywhere and I can use it to enshroud,
my real self from all the rest so they will think Iím great,
everyone will want to be my friend; my loneliness will abate."
So Duck marched through the woods, hoping he would find,
another animal to be his friend and leave his old life behind.
But no matter which direction he chose in which to stroll,
the animals all seemed to disappears into ponds, trees, or holes.
He thought, "This is no different than when they thought me a duck.
They must all be confused again, some ducks have all the luck!"
They didnít see me when I was a bird, but now that I am scary,
They are all afraid of me and are acting skittish and wary.
Finally he came upon a squirrel who was gathering nuts,
He said, "You will come and be my friend, no ifs, ands, or buts!"
"You there!" He called, "Come sit with me, Iíd like to chat with you."
The squirrel squealed, "Just please donít eat me, whatever you will do."
The duck became amused that the squirrel was afraid,
so he ordered Squirrel to give him the nuts; and the squirrel obeyed.
That was when Duck got the idea, that if the animals were scared,
they would do all his work for him, and from labor he would be spared.
So off he marched back towards his pond where he came upon a toad,
said he, "You will bring me fruit, make certain itís a full load."
Next he walked through the woods, with the hope that he would find,
a goose with which he had once quarreled, with whom he would be unkind.
He found the goose and frightened him. He chased him out of the lake,
he made the excuse that the goose was mean and this action was fair play.
For the next few weeks Duck was cruel and mean, acting like the one
who was in charge of the woods and animals and the way all things were run.
The next few days Duck trudged around frightening everyone he could find,
of the pain and suffering he caused the others, he acted as if he was blind.
The truth was, Duck didnít care about the others that he hurt,
he was arrogant and believed the power was something he deserved.
A few weeks later when he was out walking, he came upon a fox one day.
When the fox caught sight of him, he ran as fast as he could away.
As the fox ran, Duck taunted him, and called that he better run a mile.
The fox heard the duck cry, and broke into a large, foxy smile.
The fox stopped, and turned, and through the woods came running back.
He said, "I may have taken you for a wolf had not I heard you quack."
The duck learned a lesson that day, itís better not to pretend
to be someone that you are not in order to make a friend.
Be who you are, even if it seems like you are down on your luck,
because who you are is better than who youíre not, even if youíre a duck.
Read other Bedtime Stories by Amy Wilkinson
Amy Wilkinson is a graduate of Hood College with a Bachelorís in Law and Society and lives in Frederick Maryland.
Amy began writing and telling stories at a very young age. Starting with daily journals at around 8 years of age, she later progressed to fiction and poetry never putting her pen down for more than a few hours. Nature and animal lover, essayist, and poet, Amy Wilkinson sets many of her stories in a forest or other outdoor setting. Much of the
material for children focuses on various life cycle, coming of age, morality, and individual interaction issues frequently seen through the everyday lives of her woodland creatures. Her bedtime stories balance equal parts of lively prose with food for parent/child discussions.
Austin Beach graduate from Urbana High School and is a current Frederick Community College student studying art.
Austin has been drawing since before he could walk but did not begin learning other traditional mediums until high school when he began art classes. He has worked in most mediums including but not limited to oil paints, watercolor paints, pastels, Ink pen, charcoal, pencil, and digital media. In addition he has worked with many mixed media projects, clay, and found objects.
Austinís subject matter has included landscapes, figure studies, portraits, whimsical illustrations, and fantasy related scenes and characters among other things.
In addition to art Austin has worked with numerous advocacy oriented organizations in Frederick and has been recognized as an emerging leader by Vice President Biden for founding and becoming Executive Director for a local Non-Profit.
He can be reached for other commissioned work via Facebook at Facebook.com/AustinBeachArtist.