The duck that wouldn’t start

“Cough, cough…cough,cough…” went the duck, looking uncomfortable, sitting up high in a tree.  “Cough, cough…cough, cough…”  The other ducks quacked, took off into the air and glided down to the river.  But not this duck.  It just wouldn’t start.  “Cough, cough…cough,cough…”

At the bottom of the tree, the echidna had its head buried under a rock, leaving an impressive arrangement of spines pointing directly at me.  I sat quietly and waited.  Suddenly there was movement.  At first I thought it was hunkering further down under the rock, but then a nose appeared and suspiciously sniffed the air before hiding under the rock again. This was repeated several times until a decision was reached.  The echidna turned around and squinted at me.  It ambled closer and squinted harder, nose pointed up at me, still sniffing.    It tilted its head on the side, peered endearingly at me once more and then wandered off.

“Cough, cough…” continued the duck, “Cough, cough… quackquackquackquackquackquack- quackquackquackquack…” the duck motor had caught!  Wings were spread, and the bird flew down to join the others on the water.

Below, the echidna meandered on, unconcerned.

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