down the yellow brick road…
the lonesome duck
…”What’s that swimmin’ towards us, Trot?” he added, looking over the Magic Flower and across the water.
The girl looked, too, and then she replied.
“It’s a bird of some sort. It’s like a duck, only I never saw a duck have so many colors.”
The bird swam swiftly and gracefully toward the Magic Isle, and as it drew nearer its gorgeously colored plumage astonished them. The feathers were of many hues of glistening greens and blues and purples, and it had a yellow head with a red plume, and pink, white and violet in its tail. When it reached the Isle, it came ashore and approached them, waddling slowly and turning its head first to one side and then to the other, so as to see the girl and the sailor better.
“You’ll grow small,” said the Bird. “You’ll keep growing smaller every day, until bye and bye there’ll be nothing left of you. That’s the usual way, on this Magic Isle.”
“How do you know about it, and who are you, anyhow?” asked Cap’n Bill.
“I’m the Lonesome Duck,” replied the bird. “I suppose you’ve heard of me?”
“No,” said Trot, “I can’t say I have. What makes you lonesome?”
“Why, I haven’t any family or any relations,” returned the Duck.
“Haven’t you any friends?”
“Not a friend. And I’ve nothing to do. I’ve lived a long time, and I’ve got to live forever, because I belong in the Land of Oz, where no living thing dies. Think of existing year after year, with no friends, no family, and nothing to do! Can you wonder I’m lonesome?”
“I can’t make friends because everyone I meet–bird, beast, or person–is disagreeable to me. In a few minutes I shall be unable to bear your society longer, and then I’ll go away and leave you,” said the Lonesome Duck.
“You must be a Magician Duck,” remarked Cap’n Bill.
“Well, ordinary ducks don’t have diamond palaces an’ magic food, like you do.”
“True; and that’s another reason why I’m lonesome. You must remember I’m the only Duck in the Land of Oz, and I’m not like any other duck in the outside world.”
“Seems to me you LIKE bein’ lonesome,” observed Cap’n Bill.
“I can’t say I like it, exactly,” replied the Duck, “but since it seems to be my fate, I’m rather proud of it.”
(from The Wizard of Oz, by L.F.Baum)