Where are the Ducklings?
by Adelaide B. Shaw
It was a lovely day in May when Mrs. Molly Duck became a mother. Molly’s nest was in a quiet shaded area and was hidden by thick bushes and plants. She had sat on her eleven eggs for many days, keeping them warm and protected. She left them only for a short time each day to get food and water.
After three weeks of sitting, the shells of the eggs cracked open. One after the other the tiny ducklings emerged into the world. When they were all out, Molly counted them. There were eleven ducklings. All the eggs had hatched.
By the next day the yellow fuzz on the ducklings was dry and fluffy. It was time to set out for the pond across the road.
“Quack, quack,” called Molly to her brood.
“Peep, peep, peep, peep, peep, peep, peep, peep, peep, peep, peep” answered the ducklings.
The ducklings waddled up and followed behind Molly in a long wobbly line–Daisy, Maisy, Timmy, Jimmy, Trixie, Dixie, Bonnie, Connie, Danny, Manny and Buster.
Plop, plop, plop went Molly’s two big webbed feet across the grass, down off the curb and across the road. Plip, plip, plip went twenty-two small webbed feet right behind her.
Plop, plop, plop went Molly’s big feet across a storm drain cover. Splash! Splash! Splash! Splash! Splash! Splash! Splash! Splash! Splash! Splash! Splash!
The ducklings followed Molly, but their feet were too small. One by one they fell through the holes in the drain cover. Molly continued waddling toward the pond.
“Quack, quack,” she said. No ducklings answered her. “Quack, quack. Where are the ducklings?” she asked.
Molly returned to the road and the storm drain. From far below the street came the frightened peeps of her babies.
“QUACK! QUACK! QUACK!” cried Molly. She was very upset.
She walked back and forth across the storm drain. She stepped onto the curb and walked up and down on the grass. All the time she quacked again and again to her ducklings.
In the afternoon Mrs. Grant took a walk to the pond. She had with her a bag of stale bread.
“Here, duck, duck,” she called when she saw Molly.
Molly just quacked at her and would not come for the bread.
“Something must be wrong,” said Mrs. Grant. Then she heard the many peeps of the ducklings coming from below the street. She quickly ran home and called for help.
Within a few minutes Mr. Sando, who took care of the parks, arrived.
“Don’t worry, Mother Duck,” he said. “I’ll get your babies for you.”
Mr. Sando removed the storm drain cover. He lay on the ground and reached into the drain. He scooped up the ducklings one at a time into his hand and put them on the grass. Mrs. Grant put them into a basket and brought them to Molly.
“Quack, quack,” Molly said as she began calling their names. “Daisy, Maisy, Trixie, Bonnie, Timmie, Daisy, Manny, Trixie.”
Oh, dear. The ducklings just wouldn’t stay still.
“Manny, Bonnie, Jimmie, Connie, Daisy, Danny, Jimmie, Daisy.”
“Quack, quack,” she scolded. “Now let’s do this again. Daisy, Maisy, Timmy, Jimmy, Trixie, Dixie, Bonnie, Connie, Danny, Manny…”
There was one duckling missing. Molly told the ten ducklings to stay put and not to move. She then hurried back to the storm drain.
“QUACK! QUACK!” she called loudly.
Mrs. Grant had gone home, and Mr. Sando was getting into his truck.
“What’s the matter, Mother Duck?” he asked Molly. He bent down to the storm drain and listened.
“Peep, peep,” came from below.
“Well, for goodness sake,” he said. “We forgot someone.”
Once again he removed the drain cover and scooped up the last duckling. He carried it over to where the others were waiting.
“Good-bye, Mother Duck,” he said. “You have a nice family.”
“Quack, quack,” answered Molly. She was busy counting her babies. “Daisy, Maisy, Timmy, Jimmy, Trixie, Dixie, Bonnie, Connie, Danny, Manny…and Buster.”
Molly told them to stay close and not to wander. Now, with everyone in place, they continued their walk to the pond.
Plop, plop, plop went Molly’s big webbed feet. And plip, plip, plip went twenty-two small webbed feet right behind her.
1. How many eggs did Molly have?
2. What happened to the ducklings?
3. Who first noticed that something was wrong?
4. Who was the last duckling to be rescued?