To Duck Love

“Violence will succeed as long as hate rules our hearts.” — Carennen proverb

Sunday Fiction.141-01-january-31st-2016

Photo © Alastair Forbes, A Mixed Bag

At Annata Lake, the crowned herons continually harassed the ducks.  Dyphental admired crowned herons, for like him, they are beautiful and vain, powerful and selfish.  One day, Dyphental spotted Carenna, as a nesting mother duck, for Carenna is everywhere there is nurturing.

Dyphental hatched an evil plan.  He enchanted a heron egg to be the strongest and fiercest, naming it Huhuro.  Casting a seeming-spell on the egg, he slid it into Carenna’s nest.  She would slave over raising Huhuro, while Huhuro learned the ducks’ secrets.

Huhuro would become the herons’ greatest champion.

Dyphental laughed when Carenna treated Huhuro the same as her hatchlings.  He laughed when she fed Huhuro, taught him to swim, protected him from predators.  He laughed when she endangered herself to find Huhuro when he was lost.

When Huhuro was grown, Dyphental returned triumphantly.  “Carenna, I have tricked you into giving succor to your enemy!  Now he will destroy your weakling ducks!”

Huhuro quacked at the intruder.

Carenna smiled.  “You are the one deceived, Dyphental.  By letting me raise Huhuro as a duck, he now knows us, accepts us.   Come, eat our food.  Share our nest.  You too can know peace.”

Dyphental screeched and disappeared, defeated again.


Submitted for this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction writing challenge.  Thank you to Al Forbes for organizing, and for the adorable picture of ducks!  You’ll have to imagine the little heron chick swimming around in there — or maybe Huhuro had just gotten lost, and Carenna was about to go find him.


Click here to see the other story entries and to submit your own.


31 thoughts on “To Duck Love

    • Dyphental and Carenna are both deities. In this culture, Dyphental is thought to be a god of greed and trickery, while Carenna is associated with peace, healing, and fertility. Although — big caveat from the author — since this is a story told by mortal people who worship Carenna, it reflects their own ideas and not necessarily anything true about either deity. (wink wink)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, humans and (some) animals are definitely altruistic! So of course they incorporate that into their myths. As far as the origin stories for these deities, I haven’t really thought about what the Carennans think about that yet. Obviously the people who worship Dyphental would have a completely different version, too. (These are both fairly minor gods, so I’ve paid less attention to them than to some others.)

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, glad you liked it! If you skim back, you can see that I try to start all my stories with a short tag line before the photo. Lately I’ve been trying to make that into a saying, song, etc. for one of my groups. Ta-da, extra world building points for free!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Wonderful lesson in your story. When we get to know each other, even though we are different, we find we are very much the same and get to know what it is like on the other side of things.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Mandi! I was hoping that would came across, without being too heavy-handed / hitting the reader over the head with the obvious moral. I’ve just finished reading a huge book of Hans Christian Andersen stories and wow, my forehead is still hurting from being hit so hard a few times. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • I studied fairytales in a children’s literature class or two in university. I think it would shock many children to know that Disney wasn’t providing them with the “true version of a fairytale.” I’m sure that book was interesting indeed. What surprised me about many FT’s is how little parents cared about their children. I guess because they had so many. One of them gets lost for days or forever, or dies, no big deal. FT’s were a warning. I will definitely look into a book like that next time at the library. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • That sounds like a fun class to take! It sounds like you’re talking more about the Grimms fairy tales — those had a lot of bad parents and gruesome monsters and horrible consequences in them. Hans Christian Andersen has much less of that. He’s more likely to include moral lessons with big doses of guilt, or Christian themes, like being cured by the power of the Bible. For his more well-known stories, what surprised me is how different our modern versions are – either adding key details or getting rid of tons to make the stories (frankly) make more sense. The style then clearly allowed for much more rambling plots and long pages of barely relevant exposition or description.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Eric, I’m glad you liked it! Especially glad the fable / fairy tale thing seems to be working. And yes, it’s a pretty universal idea – treat others like family, and it’s hard for them to treat you like “the other” anymore. Good lesson for plenty of not-so-young-anymore, too, I’d say.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t realize you were a fan of herons! Well, in this culture in Eneana, crowned herons are considered especially beautiful and regal. They’re associated with royalty and nobility, so some people attribute very positive aspects to them, while others (like the Carennen) see those same qualities as making them vain and haughty, caring only for their own power and wealth and desires and not for others beneath them. So in this Carennan myth, the herons are painted as ruthless and nasty. Actual herons, of course, are just birds, acting like birds.

      Still I’ll try to remember to include a story from the other side, that paints the herons more regally, to make it up to you!

      Liked by 1 person

      • To me, and perhaps to the Celts, herons act as guides . . . but whether to the Otherworld, or as aids on a worldly quest, or to the acquisition of knowledge is open to question. In the Asaric tales (Feast Fables, plus Priory Project, Neve and currently Alsalda, posted on my main blog) one of the Asars has been cast down from the Realm of Divinities in the form of a heron. Ardhea. A very likable, though sometimes arrogant, character. But I thank you for your consideration. And of course, no one and nothing can be cast as all good or all bad. Shades of grey, eh? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Interesting! And much more developed a role than herons play in my world. I agree, nothing is all good or all bad (although some of my characters do seem to try hard at it). I’ve been getting interested in the idea that the hero of one culture is the villain of their enemies; that’s where the heron thing came in. And of course, even the “evil” god Dyphental isn’t considered that way by his followers.


  2. Excellent story, Joy, and I like the way you embedded your message/lesson into it. Goodness and kindness engenders goodness and kindness – something that the god of greed and trickery wouldn’t understand. Dyphental’s scheme failed because he underestimated the power of Carenna’s peaceful, caring nurturing qualities. I love the whole imagery of this scene. In fact, the entire world you have created for your novel is fascinating.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Millie! Yes, that’s exactly what I was trying to get across. I’m really enjoying “playing” in my world of Eneana. Although it’s clear that I can explore much more of it in these short stories than I can do within the confines of the particular novel I’m writing (since it takes place entirely in the cursed manor and the attached village). But then, that only inspires me to think of ways to incorporate more of the richness of the world in the next novel(s)!


      • The world of Eneana sounds very wide and rich in your stories, so it does seem a shame to limit it to such a small area in your book. But with your writing skills and creativity, I don’t doubt that you’ll succeed in bringing it in somehow! And as you say, the following novels will benefit from the richness you’ve developed.
        (I intend to continue reading more posts, but right now, I have a meal to prepare. So I’ll catch you a little later.)

        Liked by 1 person

      • The novel is much more of a character-driven story, not an epic adventure where we travel the world. Hopefully I can get across a lot more depth about the local culture I’m in, even if I’m sacrificing the breadth of space and time. Some of the conflict in the story is cross-cultural, which is tricky to get across when the reader isn’t yet familiar with either the culture the main character came from nor the one she just moved to. So in addition to the fact that she’s inherited a cursed manor that apparently killed all the previous owners, our MC has to deal with the locals resenting her for being female, a foreigner, the wrong race, and the wrong religion, and on the lookout for any reason they can find to get her exiled — or worse.


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