Or Evolution At Work
(Please pre-read before reading to small children.)
A neighborhood deep inside a large city had a pond that ducks loved to flock to. Every year at spring, the ducks would announce their arrival by quacking. The neighbors would come out of their homes to watch the flocks land on the pond and in their yards. A large number of ducks would congregate at the pond, and many of the ducks hatched their chicks and raised them there too. The neighbors who surrounded the pond loved the ducks and took good care of them. They provided the ducks with good areas for breeding and caring for their chicks. They also fed the ducks high quality corn and other seeds. The ducks that stayed enjoyed abundant health and the ducks that flew on ate a good meal to help them with their journey.
The ducks that stayed became very well acquainted with the neighbors and the visitors that frequented the pond. The ducks knew some of the neighbors by sight, and they even knew the car of the lady who brought them their corn and seed every day. When they saw someone new, they would run up to the newcomer knowing there was a good chance of getting some bread. Yet, they were still wild ducks and their instincts prevented them from getting too close to the neighbors or visitors. They always stayed a few feet away and would run if anyone approached too fast.
Most of the chicks were dark brown with some black and white, but some of the chicks were yellow and white, with some black spots. These yellow and white chicks, because they were rare—some seasons had none–were always the special delight of the neighborhood. One spring a mother duck had eight chicks that were yellow and white, with small black spots over their face. These chicks were very popular in the neighborhood, and visitors came from everywhere to see them. Children and grownups delighted in watching the small chicks learn to walk and swim.
One of the chicks was especially popular. This chick looked just like the other chicks, yellow and white with black spots, but stood out because of his friendliness and quacking. All the ducks, chicks included, quacked, but this chick quacked constantly. At first, the quacking was barely noticeable. His quacks were so quiet that no one heard them, but even then he stood out from the other chicks because he was so friendly. When the other chicks ran away, he would go greet the person handing out corn or bread. When the other ducks and chicks would only come within a few feet of a neighbor or visitor, he would go right up to their feet. As this small chick grew, his voice got louder and soon everyone could hear his quacking. The duck loved to walk right up to strangers and quack and quack and quack. For being so friendly, the duck was featured in the local newspaper and became famous all over the city.
The pond was fed by a creek that wound through the city. All types of wild animals lived along the creek—frogs, snakes, raccoons, possums, feral cats, and feral dogs. One day just before the sun began to rise, a few of the feral dogs that traveled the creek came to the pond. Curious they ran around the pond looking to see what there was to see. If they came too close to any of the chicks, the big ducks would throw a fuss that would scare the dogs away. All the ducks were afraid of the dogs, except for the famous chick.
When the dogs came to his nest, his mother hissed and threw a fit, other ducks around them also threw a fit, and the wild dogs, not keen on a confrontation, backed off. But the famous little chick showed no fear and walked right up to the dogs. The chick’s mother was frantic, but could not race out to protect the one little chick because she still had seven other checks to protect. The dogs circled the little chick, poked him with their noise, and then the biggest dog ate him.
The moral to this story is that evolution works.
The really dangerous people believe they are doing whatever they are doing solely and only because it is without question the right thing to do. And that is what makes them dangerous. -Neil Gaiman, novelist and short story writer (b. 1960)