Galapagos had never really liked being a duck; all her life she’d wished she could be an Albatross. she’d even called herself Galapagos Albatross for a while, but her mail kept getting lost so she had to repaint the word “Duck” on her letterbox.
Every time the Albatross flew over her little nest Galapagos would gaze into the sky for hours watching them soar on the winds.
With their wings spread wide the Albatross looked like they were as big as the clouds and covered the whole sky as they floated majestically above the cliffs.
Sometimes, when none of the other birds were watching, Galapagos Duck would practice running into the wind so that she could rise gently up like the Albatross and ride the air currents without flapping her wings.
Unfortunately for Galapagos, her short little legs weren’t long enough to let her get up much speed and her wings weren’t big enough for her to glide on the winds or launch her fat little body into the sky without frantically flapping them as she went.
Every time poor little Galapagos tried to take-off without flapping her wings, she ended up falling over and rolling head over heels down the hill towards the cliff.
Sometimes she shot off the edge of the cliff and fell toward the beach below and had to save herself by flapping her wings as hard and as fast as she could.
Then, one day, as she sat watching the Albatross’ float in the sky, Galapagos saw something really strange, high above the Albatross were humans, floating like Albatross; but they were the strangest looking humans Galapagos had ever seen.
Now Galapagos knew that humans couldn’t fly; in fact, they didn’t even have feathers – she decided to fly up and have a look.
Galapagos didn’t even bother trying to glide like an Albatross, instead she started flapping her wings furiously and was soon flying up towards these strange looking humans.
How could humans soar on the winds like the Albatross if she couldn’t?
Suddenly her beak dropped open in surprise; these humans all had huge wings like the Albatross and they floated effortlessly on the wind while she had to beat the air with her little wings to keep herself from falling.
The little duck snapped her beak closed suddenly when she realised that the wind was getting caught in her beak and had slowed her down so much that she was now falling out of the sky; a few quick flaps and she was flying again.
For hours Galapagos flew around the humans with their strange wings to see how the wings were made and how the humans controlled them.
When Galapagos finally flew back to her nest she had a plan; at last she would ride the winds like the Albatross.
For days Galapagos roamed the beach and the clifftop in search of the things she needed. Down on the beach there was always lots of flotsam and jetsam for her to search through; all the stuff that fell off boats, or people threw off, washed up on her beach and at last she had a use for some of their junk.
Slowly the piles beside her nest grew until the birds in the nests close to her started to complain that she was turning the neighbourhood into a rubbish dump.
In big piles around Galapagos’ nest were plastic shopping bags, lots of pieces of dry water reed and tangles of old fishing line; everything she thought she might need to make wings just like the humans had.
For days Galapagos worked from dawn to dusk, the pieces of reed were tied together with fishing line to make a frame for the wings; once the frames were finished Galapagos stretched the plastic bags over them and sewed them into place with fishing line. When her new wings were finished each one was more than four times as big as Galapagos own wings – they were humungus.
Finally, her new wings were ready and Galapagos prepared herself for the big day; the little duck was soooo excited, but very nervous as she strapped herself into her wings.
Even though she’d made her new wings out of the lightest material she could find Galapagos still felt her knees buckled under their weight on her first few practice runs down the hill. It wasn’t until her tenth run that Galapagos finally felt her new wings slowly lift her furiously running feet off the ground.
He was bruised and battered from her many falls, but that was all forgotten as Galapagos watched the edge of the cliff disappear from under her feet.
Galapagos panicked as she felt herself falling towards the beach far below; but slowly the wind caught her new wings and her heart soared as high as she did when the wind lifted her to where the Albatross glided lazily.
Galapagos was so excited that she almost did a backflip to celebrate; she stopped herself just in time before her wings got all tangled up.
Several of the Albatross had glided over to see who this strange bird who now glided on the wind with them was; “Who are you and what are you doing up here with the Albatross?” asked the biggest Albatross with a stern look.
“I’m Galapagos Duck the Albatross.” answered Galapagos proudly.
“Well. I think you’re a pretty funny looking Albatross,” said the big bird, inspecting Galapagos’ reed and plastic wings, “but you must be a pretty smart duck” she added with a nod.
The Albatross all flew away from Galapagos then and she was left alone in the clear blue sky.
At first she was worried that the Albatross had left because they didn’t like her, but as the wind blew under her wings and she started practicing her soaring and gliding she soon forgot about them.
Suddenly the air around her was filled with the huge, white wings of more Albatross than Galapagos had ever seen, and they were all looking at her.
Galapagos eyes darted all over the sky; it didn’t seem like there was any part of the sky where there weren’t Albatross – she’d never seen so many of the giant birds in one place before.
“Ahem, AHEM; excuse me” said the huge Albatross that Galapagos had talked to earlier, “we’ve had a meeting about you, young lady” she said in a deep sing-song voice; “everybody had to come and have a look – I hope you don’t mind, but we’ve never seen a duck pretend to be an Albatross before.”
“N-n-n-n-no” stammered Galapagos “It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance, I-I-I’m sure” she added in her best polite ducks voice. “I-I-I hope you don’t mind me soaring with you, I didn’t mean to be rude.”
“Look young lady” said the huge bird; “we think it’s a bit strange, but that’s all right, we’re all allowed to be a bit strange sometimes you know. It’s flattering really; we think that if you want to be an Albatross so much, you have every right to be one – as long as you’re careful, we wouldn’t want you to hurt yourself.” she said, looking at all of Galapagos’ scrapes and bruises. “You are all right, aren’t you?” she asked gently.
“Yes, Yes, I’m fine” said Galapagos nodding her head so hard that she dipped suddenly in the wind; “these were just a few minor training mishaps; I know how to do it properly now.” she declared proudly.
“Well anyway, we think that congratulations are in order,” announced the old Albatross with a big smile; “and we’ve decided to make you an honorary Albatross” she said as she offered the small duck her wingtip to shake. Unfortunately, as Galapagos reached out to shake the huge wing, she lost her balance on the wind and crashed back down onto the clifftop with a thud and broke her precious wings.
It took Galapagos several days to repair her broken wings, but after she fixed them she flew with the Albatross every day and was always accepted into their group. her flying got better and better as the Albatross taught her all the special tricks they use to catch the wind in their great, white wings.
And that’s the story of how little Galapagos Duck learnt that she could do anything she wanted by thinking about her problems and being game to give it a go.
So if ever you are out at the beach and you see the funniest looking Albatross in the world, just call out “Hello Galapagos” and maybe, just maybe, she’ll wave back.