In a land where the weather fares fairer than France, there was a wood made of palm trees and pine. Fruit could be found here of any kind- bananas ripe and yellow, oranges fresh and juicy, and the crunchiest apples known to anyone- all inside these forest walls. And in the heart of this fruit laden forest, there was a clearing made of meadows and grass. It was a haven for mice, fluffy squirrels and other small rodents, who would spend their busy days carrying food across the meadow and into their burrows for homes.
And in the middle of this clearing of grass, there shone a glistening pond. The pond was known to all the woodland creatures as Hippo Splash Pond, because it was thought to contain roughly the same amount of water as a hippo would make in a cannonball. How accurate the measurements were, I cannot say, only that it was measured by rabbits, and rabbits have a way of always being exact.
In this pond lived a family of ducks, known as the Waddlers. There was Mama Waddler, a nurturing, caring type of duck, Daddy Waddler, responsible and wise, Sister Waddler, girly and rather self absorbed (although none dare mention that aloud), Brother Waddler, an adventurous, unruly type of duck, and the last, the most unusual of them all- Rodney Waddler.
Rodney was a duck, indeed, but a very strange duck at that. He had eyes like Mama Waddler, and soft, yellow feathers, like Daddy Waddler. He had a tendency to be self absorbed, like Sister, and was almost as adventurous as Brother- so one could assume he fit right in to the Waddler family. The thing that set Rodney apart is a large word with a very simple meaning- he was ambitious, and that’s just not a quality ducks tend to possess. Most ducks are happy with the every-day routine. This was, after all, the Waddler family, and they were known for doing just that- waddling in lines to and from the pond, waddling through the meadow to talk with the mice, waddling through the forest to look at the trees. Rodney, however, wanted more than the duck’s life. Rodney was always ready to learn something new, always eager to develop a new skill. Rodney thought rather a lot of himself, and expected the rest of the forest creatures to as well. He knew he was destined for fame, and he did not hide it. While the rest of the Waddler family paddled around the pond in a line formation, Rodney could be found doing flips and twirls in the center. Rodney did not just want to chat with the field mice; he wanted to learn their language and speak it with them. Rodney did not just want to catch a fish for dinner; he wanted to adorn it with spices until it tasted magnificent. And Rodney did not want to just participate in conversation, he wanted to be at the center of it.
All in all, this little duck was mightily endearing, and altogether lovable. He was just ambitious, and that made him a very different type of duck.
One morning, Rodney awoke to the rapping and tapping of rain on the roof of the family home- a compilation of sticks and twigs that made a cozy enclosed bungalow. He jumped out of his feather bed, flapping his wings excitedly. Rain made for perfect duck weather!
Rodney waved a quick “hello” to his mom with a flash of his feather, and headed for Hippo Splash pond as fast as his little legs would carry him. Within minutes, he was twirling and splashing in the little pond, soaking up the rain as it washed clean his feathers. Rainy days were good days to be a duck.
I have not forgotten, reader, that on my previous occasion of describing the weather, I noted that the climate in this land was “fairer than France”. So, you won’t be surprised to find out that the rain stopped rather quickly. Rodney had only done a few of his infamous twirls in the pond before the sun sparkled and pushed the clouds far away in every direction.
Rodney the Duck was disappointed, but only for a short moment- ducks of his kind can only retain severe emotion for teaspoon sized intervals. He created a makeshift raft for himself out of some bamboo and meadow grass, and lay in the pond, staring at the sky, singing to himself happily, and being lulled off to sleep by his own soothing lullaby….
A rustle in the grass woke him up. He looked around, startled, and SPLAT!- fell straight off of his bamboo raft! Coming back up to the surface, Rodney shook his head and looked for the source of the noise. He heard the sound of soft, twinkling music, like bells in a choir. Then he saw the slow mirage of color creeping up from behind the brush, until a magical aura of purple, red, orange, yellow, green, indigo, and violet spread across the air above him…
It was Rita the Rainbow! Rita only came out between sunshine and rains. The rest of the time, she lived in the Treasure Forest with the other beautiful element fairies- Lightening Linda, Robert the Raincloud, Starry Sandy, and Moonshine Mindy. Rita didn’t walk, she jumped- or flew- in arch shaped patterns. She wore a long, flowy dress with every color you can possibly imagine, and when she jumped in her arch shaped half circles, the dress spread out behind her, leaving a trail of vibrant colors in the sky.
Rodney stared at Rita, halfway between enamored and mesmerized. He had never seen anything so enchanting in his life! Briefly, he imagined himself wearing that coat of color and shimmering radiantly as he splashed around the pond for all the fluffy squirrels and field mice to see….He shook himself off and waddled after her, trying desperately to catch up.
Rita gave him a backward glance as she bounced away. “Hello, Rodney”, she said, her voice breathing out soft droplets of color as she spoke.
Rodney was flabbergasted. “You know who I am!?!?!” He asked, a goofy, drooling smile spread wide across his face.
Rita gave a low, soft laugh, shaking her thick, long, colorful curls as she spoke. “Everyone in this wood knows who you are, Rodney”, she said. “You’re the singing, dancing duck!”
Rodney thought he would melt right there. Rita the Rainbow knew his name! He continued to waddle after her, desperately trying to catch her, to wear just a little bit of her color, to make himself as beautiful…
But Rita had already bounced off, leaving nothing but a trail of pigments in her wake. Rodney continued to stare, and wait, for Rita to come back.
Finally, Mama Waddler called Rodney in for breakfast. Rodney wandered in, still smiling, still seeing nothing but flashes of color in his eyes. He was what many would call, “love struck”.
Whether Rodney was more enamored by Rita or her colors remains to be seen. All we know, at this time, is that he sat on the rock by the Hippo Splash pond for many days after that, willing rain, willing sun, willing Rita the Rainbow’s return.
Image Credit: Glade Kirkham,Wet Canvas