Saturday, July 5, 2008


Gayardaree the platypus
A young duck used to swim by herself in the lake. Her tribe told her that Biggoon, the big water rat would catch her someday. But the duck wouldn’t listen to them. One day, when she was very far away from her tribe, Biggoon caught her and took her to his hole.

‘Let me go’, said the duck.
‘You stay with me and I will not hurt you’, said the water rat. ‘I am very lonely here and I want a wife’.
‘I am not for you’, said the duck. ‘My tribe has a mate for me.'
‘If you try to escape, I’ll knock you on the head with my spear,' said Biggoon, The duck stayed. She was frightened to go while the rat watched her. She pretended she liked her new life, and Biggoon gradually gave up watching her. One day, when he fell asleep, the duck swam away as quickly as she could. Her family was overjoyed to see her again.

When the laying season came, all the ducks laid their eggs and sat patiently on them until at last the little fluffy ducklings hatched. The duck who had been imprisoned by Biggoon hatched her own young, too. But her two children were very different from those of her tribe; instead of feathers they had soft fur. Instead of two feet, they had four!

‘What are these?' her friends asked when she brought her young to the water.
‘My children, she said proudly.
‘Take them away’, said the ducks. 'They are more like Biggoon than us. Take them away, or we shall kill them before they grow big and kill us! They do not belong to our tribe. They have no right here!’

The duck took her young and went far away to a mountain creek. There she could hide from all who knew her, and bring up her peculiar ducklings. When her two children grew, they saw how different they were from her, and kept away by themselves. Their mother felt too lonely and miserable to live on, too unhappy to find food. She soon died in the mountains, far from her old hunting ground. The children lived on, laid eggs and hatched more children just like themselves.

And they still live in mountain creeks, the Gayardaree, or platypus, quite a tribe apart -for when did a rat ever lay eggs? Or a duck have four feet?