Poor Peep the Duck (now re-named Madeline) has undergone quite a few hardships since I first told the tale of her and Quack the Chicken. I was going to relate these to you myself, but Madeline felt I wouldn't do it justice. She wanted to tell it herself.
Tragedy. That’s what my life has been. One thing after another, over and over again. True, I have had some moments of cheerful bliss, times of respite between the trials, and I am hoping beyond hope that those days will return once more. My friends, my husband, my children…all figments of the past, mere memories now. Yet, I do have hope. I will not allow myself to slip into the murky waters of despair. I may have to suffer the choppy waves for a while, but I can see the clear, glassy lake ahead.
It was years ago that I first felt the pain of loss. Some of you may have heard how my first friend, my brother of sorts, suffered at the hands of a cruel two-legged beast. He was marred, forced to walk with a limp that rendered him unable to defend himself against this pitiless world. As time went on, he began to slow down and be less and less able to keep up with the others and me as we wandered about. Then, one day, he was gone. Vanished without a trace. I mourned for a time, wondering where he could have gone. The two-legged ones say they had nothing to do with his disappearance, but I have a feeling that they are not as truthful as they seem.
By and by, I finally accepted this and was able to move past.
The next summer, my spirits were lifted at the arrival a new fellow. He was handsome and strong and we fell for each other immediately. My Francis, Francis Drake, he was called. We spent all of our time together and were soon expecting a large brood of children. Patiently I waited, anxious for them to arrive into our world. But that day never came. In the dead of night, over and over again, I was assaulted, and my precious ones were slowly disappearing. The creature that took them from me was much stronger than either of us; we never had a chance. Soon, they were all gone. I was confused for days, and wandered aimlessly, calling out, trying to find them. Of course, that endeavor was fruitless.
Small condolence was made when we adopted four children. They were not like us, but we loved them all the same. Yet, they grew up quickly and I was once again left with an empty nest.
Francis and I made up for it by exploring. We wandered hither and thither, all across the countryside. Something we enjoyed together was water. For the longest time, there was no convenient swimming hole nearby, so we had to make do with splashing about in small pools of water. Though, at last, the two-legged ones decided that we deserved a place large enough to suit our needs.
If you happened to glance our way during that autumn, you most likely could have spotted us, Francis and I, swimming contentedly in the watering hole. And, we were happy then. So joyously happy.
Yet, it, too, was not to last. As if taking my friend and my children were not enough....oh, my dear husband! Why? Why did you have to go? He was murdered. Slain by a beast, perhaps one not unlike he who took my children away. The fiend! The monster! To take the life of the one I held so dear? Why, I ask again. Why?
Alas, my tale is near its end. You may recall my saying that I have hope. How? you ask, when my life has been so wretched? I have hope. Hope that I can make dear Francis's legacy live on. I am once again expecting children. It will be only a matter of weeks before I will know. The two-legged ones are skeptical. "Poor girl," they say. "It will never happen. It's been too long." But I have a feeling...and I have hope.