The Eatyoup

: Sandman's Goodnight Stories

Dicky Duck was a very wise young fellow. He swam about the pond alone

long before his brothers left their mother, and such worms and bugs and

things of that sort as he found made all the other young ducks quite

green with envy.

But one day Dicky Duck almost lost his life by thinking he was so wise,

for he was swimming around the pond when he came to the woods where Mr.

Fox was hiding back of some bushes.
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Dicky did not go near enough for Mr. Fox to catch him, but Mr. Fox

could see that he was a nice plump duck and it made his eyes shine with

longing to look at him.

"Ah me," he sighed as Dicky swam by, "if only I knew some wise creature

to ask! I am far too dull to know anything myself."

When Dicky heard the word "wise" he felt sure that meant him, for was

not he the wisest duck of his size and age? So he stopped swimming and

looked around.

Mr. Fox had hidden himself well under the bushes now. Not even the tip

of his nose could be seen and he made his voice sound very weak, as if

he were a very small animal.

"Who is it that wants to know a wise creature?" asked Dicky Duck.

"Oh, a poor little animal called Eatyoup," answered Mr. Fox, laughing

so at his joke that he could hardly speak. "I am very stupid and do

not know much and I have no wise friends."

Dicky Duck had never heard of an Eatyoup, but he had no intention of

letting anyone think there was anything he did not know, so he swam

nearer and said, "Well, I am wise, and if you wish to know anything ask

me. Come out where I can see you and we can talk to each other

better." He was trying all the time to get a glimpse of the new

animal, but Mr. Fox was a wise creature himself and he had no intention

of being seen.

"Oh, dear! I should hate to show my miserable little self to such a

big, fine-looking creature as you are," he said. "It is bad enough to

have you know I am stupid, but if you will come closer I will tell you

what it is I want to know."

Dicky Duck by this time was very brave, for what had he to fear from so

small a creature as the Eatyoup. So he swam right up to the side of

the pond and out bounced Mr. Fox and almost caught him.

If Dicky had not used his wings as well as his feet he would not have

escaped, but he was in the middle of the pond, swimming for dear life,

by the time Mr. Fox was in the water, and as the farm was not far off

Mr. Fox decided not to risk his life.

When Dicky Duck reached the barnyard he told all the fowl about the

strange animal he had seen, called an Eatyoup, and that, while he had a

very weak voice, he was almost as large as big Rover, the dog.

Of course everyone thought Dicky wiser than ever when he told this, but

for all that he was very careful not to swim near the woods again, for,

though he had told the fowl he had seen an Eatyoup, he was pretty sure

in his own mind that he had met Mr. Fox.