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The White Duck

The White Duck was, on the sur­face, lonely. She was not vi­cious, stu­pid, or bad in any way. She was just dif­fer­ent from the rest of the ducks. It is not known whether it was the colour of her feath­ers, or lack thereof, who set her apart. Even though I am skep­ti­cal to that, it surely did­n’t strengthen her case.

The oth­ers would ini­tially tease her about the white feath­ers, since they as­sumed she thought she was spe­cial and bet­ter than them with their murky, brown pat­terned shrouds. She’ll surely not last long out there”, they would say. Any hawk would take her first, she shines like a piece of glass! Good rid­dance”.

Ducks are, by the Good Nature, liv­ing to­gether with other ducks. You sel­dom see them walk around lonely on a yard — if you see one scout­ing with a tall neck, you can be sure the other is close by in the bushes. I am not sure how a duck would be­have if it was be­ing the sole duck on a farm. I do not think any­body knows that, since it has never hap­pened. We’ve al­ways been to­gether, that’s the way it should be”, said Richard.

Richard — who was the leader duck at the time — was, as most male ducks are, grand, beau­ti­ful, and had a blueish hue on his neck. His main du­ties did not in­clude too much ex­cept for scar­ing off in­trud­ers and preda­tors (the last task was, as you can imag­ine, some­thing no duck had ever suc­ceeded in). He was how­ever a clever duck (also very unique), and even though he had never trav­elled out­side the bor­ders of the farm, he thought he knew how the world and uni­verse worked, as Good Nature it­self had told him. He re­spected Good Nature very much. But above all, he re­spected and trea­sured the duckumity” – a com­mu­nity of ducks liv­ing to­gether on a farm.

A duck­u­mity was to its core con­sist­ing of warmth, friend­ship, rou­tine, shar­ing, co­op­er­a­tion, and ul­ti­mately love be­tween its mem­ber ducks. All ducks had for­ever lived in duck­u­mi­ties — even if there were just ducks in pair or a group of eight. It was said that in the be­gin­ning, ducks were ac­tu­ally roam­ing the earth alone or with a part­ner — not in groups at all. Modern ducks of course found that silly and un­re­al­is­tic. They could ac­tu­ally not be­gin to think of how it would be to break away from a duck­u­mity. It was like try­ing to imag­ine a new feather colour.

The White Duck roamed on the farm: ex­plored its bor­ders, stayed out late in the evenings, be­friended the shady mag­pies and mice. They had in the pass­ing men­tioned the ex­is­tence of other lands, out­side the bound­aries of the farm, and even be­yond the farm next to this. Even though the White Duck was a very for­ward think­ing and open minded duck, she had ini­tially trou­bles un­der­stand­ing how there could be other lands, where the an­i­mals would not look like they did here. They even spoke an­other lan­guage! But af­ter a while, a seed in her heart was grow­ing. A seed with a promise of ex­plor­ing and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing some­thing be­yond the farm.

When the White Duck spoke her mind about these things with the duck­u­mity, Richard would get so up­set that he would scare her away from the group in that silly way only ducks can do (put the beak down and charge to­wards the tar­get like a bull. It is not known if the ducks truly be­lieves they are bulls by do­ing this). But the White Duck was spe­cial in this case: she would not get dis­heart­ened or put down by the treat­ment of the oth­ers. She was alone, but she found a cer­tain … calm in the soli­tude cre­ated for her. She would toil on in the bushes and grass, never com­plain, and come home every night with her white feath­ers soiled by the dirt splashed up from the rain.

One day, the duck­u­mity con­fronted the White Duck, since her be­hav­iour had be­come ex­tremely ob­nox­ious and re­pul­sive. She spoke about a constant life on the road, not hav­ing a home, meet­ing new ducks every day”. Richard, who was by all means not evil or vi­cious in any way, de­cided to take up the ar­gu­ment with her once and for all:

My dear White Duck. Nobody of us in the duck­u­mity can com­pre­hend why you would pos­si­bly want to leave this lovely liv­ing arrange­ment we have here on the farm. We have every­thing we need. When you’re alone, you can quack with a fel­low duck. When you’re sad, you can seek ad­vice of a fel­low duck. We’re all in this to­gether, don’t you see? Whenever your soul is weary, when you can’t wad­dle an­other wad­dle more, don’t you wish to seek the com­fort of your friends?”

Well, Richard. Foremost, I haven’t had the plea­sure of ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the things you de­scribe, just be­cause I’m dif­fer­ent from you. In fact, you have alien­ated me even more with your be­hav­iour, lead­ing you to hate me even more. You de­spise me and what I stand for, and I pity you for that. I ab­solutely see the pos­i­tive as­pects of a duck­u­mity. I too see po­ten­tial for love and fam­ily, and what good that may bring to my soul. But I just can’t stand stay­ing here know­ing that some­thing else is out there. And that is where you and me dif­fer: you can live with that, I can­not”.

But why are you so des­per­ately seek­ing this something else’?! What’s wrong with this farm? What’s wrong with us? Who are you go­ing to talk to when the go­ing gets tough? It might be ex­hil­a­rat­ing in the be­gin­ning on the road, but mind that you have no duck apart from your­self out there. No duck to share your hap­pi­ness or sor­row with. No duck to share the bur­dens of life with. Here, you can do that. Don’t you see that it’s not re­al­ity un­less it’s shared? The re­al­ity you think ex­ist out there ac­counts for noth­ing”.

Because I will be able to con­tribute to the duck­u­mity so much more if I seek the un­known now, while I’m young and strong. I don’t want to sink into the safe cra­dle of age, with my thoughts be­ing set in stone, with­out chal­lenged my way of think­ing. Without ex­posed my­self of thoughts from other ducks out there – ducks who’ve seen things I have not, or per­haps even look like me! I’m not dif­fer­ent be­cause I want to, I am dif­fer­ent be­cause I need to. It’s not about leav­ing this duck­u­mity — it’s about ar­riv­ing in my own in­ner duck­u­mity. It’s my own re­spon­si­bil­ity to to every­thing I can to get as many per­spec­tives on life as I can, be­fore I do some­thing evil, like mak­ing de­ci­sions with­out con­text, judg­ing a fel­low dock with­out em­pa­thy, or car­ry­ing mal­ice to­wards spar­rows with­out even talk­ing to one”.

Richard, who as pre­vi­ously men­tioned was quite clever, did in this mo­ment get a glimpse of a beak of how the White Duck rea­soned. There were no black and white feath­ers here. Richard and the oth­ers could not judge the White Duck be­cause of her angst to see more of the world. Quack and let quack”, as it was said amongst ducks. He felt some­where that she un­der­stood what Richard meant and loved with the duck­u­mity, but that she ac­tively chose some­thing else right now.

Right, White Duck”. I can­not say I share your world view, per­haps I never will, but my sin­cere opin­ion is that you should go away from here, in­stead of be­ing mis­er­able at the farm. If you’re away long enough, I have the chance of prepar­ing the oth­ers for hear­ing your sto­ries when or if you re­turn.

The White Duck un­der­stood the hid­den bless­ing and Good luck” in Richard’s state­ment.

She set off in the morn­ing the next day.

White duck
The real White Duck, who still roams on our farm (she has­n’t left. Yet).