There was a round pond, and a pretty pond too,
About it white daisies and buttercups grew,
And dark weeping willows, that stooped to the ground,
Dipped in their long branches and shaded it round.
A party of ducks to this pond would repair,
To feast on the green water-weeds that grew there;
Indeed the assembly would frequently meet
To talk o'er affairs in this pleasant retreat.
Now the subjects, on which they were wont to converse,
I'm sorry I cannot include in my verse;
For though I've oft listened in hoped of discerning,
I own 't is a matter that baffles my learning.
One day a young chicken, who lived thereabout,
Stood watching to see the ducks pass in and out;
Now standing tail upwards, now diving below;
She thought of all things she should like to do so.
So this foolish chicken began to declare,
"I've really a great mind to venture in there;
My mother's oft told me I must not go nigh,
But really, for my part, I cannot tell why.
"Ducks have feathers and wings, and so have I too.
And my feet—what's the reason that they will not do?
Though my beak is pointed, and their beaks are round,
Is that any reason that I should be drowned?
"So why should not I swim as well as a duck?
Suppose that I venture and e'en try my luck?
For," said she, spite of all that her mother had taught her,
"I'm really remarkably fond of the water."
So in this poor ignorant animal flew,
And found that her dear mother's cautions were true;
She splashed, and she dashed, and she turned herself round,
And heartily wished herself safe on the ground.
But now 't was too late to begin to repent,
The harder she struggled the deeper she went;
And when every effort she vainly had tried,
She slowly sank down to the bottom and died!
The ducks, I perceived, began loudly to quack,
When they saw the poor fowl floating dead on its back,
And by their grave looks, it was very apparent,
They discoursed on the sin of not minding a parent.