By Margo Wayman
The lazy afternoon sun was slowly making its way towards the horizon, where it would go to sleep for the night. The sky was a delightful shade of powder blue, mixed with pale rose pink and magenta. Wagdy, the mallard duck, flew through the clouds, gazing down at the Nile River below him. The bottle green and willow brown feathers of his back and neck glistened in the sun. He was an exquisite looking duck.
Wagdy had been flying for a few hours and needed to rest. He glided down to the river. His orange webbed feet went out in front of him as he skimmed onto the placid river. Midnight blue water shot out from the side of his feet, forming a straight line behind him. Wagdy enjoyed the coolness as he came to a stop and began bobbing up and down on top of the small rippling waves that were moving across the river towards the shore.
Wagdys burnt orange beak pecked at his wings, lifting them up to let the water brush them clean. When he was feeling refreshed, he stuck his copper-colored head under the water to look for a fish to eat. He spotted a tiny golden yellow one swimming towards him. As it passed under his beak, he stuck his head quickly into the water and caught it. He lifted it up into the air, tipped his long neck backwards and gobbled the fish down. He still felt hungry, so he stuck his head under the water again. He watched carefully as another fish headed toward him. He clutched it in his beak and swallowed it whole.
Having his hunger satisfied, he floated on the water, paddling around, enjoying the feeling of the suns warmth on his feathers.
Moly, a tawny brown fish, swam through the congealed reeds at the bottom of the river. She looked up and saw the outline of the duck as it swam around above her. Shed seen him catch fish in his beak and gulp them down voraciously. The mallard didnt look like he was paying much attention to what was going on down on the river bottom, so Moly swam up closer, being careful to stay behind him. She used her fins to swish her way through the water up to Wagdys webbed feet. She took a quick nip at his feet and swam right back down to the reeds where she hid.
Wagdy felt some pain. He wondered what it was. He stuck his head under the water and looked at his feet. There was nothing there. Something had bitten him! He swam around in a circle with his head under the water, and not seeing anything, went back to what he was doing.
Moly giggled and blew some bubbles up to the surface. They burst in silent little pops not far from where Wagdy was bobbing. She thought that had been a lot of fun, so she swam back up to the duck, came up behind him and pulled out one of his tail feathers with her beak. She held it tightly as she swam back down to the reeds. She watched intently.
Wagdy jumped up into the air when the feather was pulled out. What was that? This time it hurt. He stuck his head back under the water and looked carefully. He couldnt see a thing. There were no fish, no sticks, and no crocodiles. He couldnt understand what had bitten him again. He was just about to lift his head up when he noticed Moly, the fish, hiding in the reeds. Aha, it was a fish! Wagdy decided to let the fish think it had tricked him, but he was too smart.
Moly giggled again. She was having great fun. She blew a lot of bubbles this time. As they popped open on the surface, Wagdy saw them. A smile came to his beak as he waited patiently for the next attack.
Moly decided that this time shed be much braver. The duck just didnt seem smart enough to catch her. She swam up, but came up underneath the front part of his body. She got closer and closer. She was only a few inches away from nipping Wagdy, when he stuck his head down under the water and caught Moly in his beak. He started quacking in delight as he raised his head up and swallowed her whole.
As the sun sank behind the coral pink sand dunes, Wagdy stretched his wings. He started running on top of the water, sending small splashes in all directions. When hed built up enough speed he soared up into the air and began to flap his wings. As darkness fell on the river that evening, the duck could be seen heading towards the horizon, with a mischievous smile on his beak.