778 IN THE DUCK-YARD
that one may be nice and fat when one is to be embalmed with apples and prunes.'
And accordingly she lay down in the sun, and winked with one eye ; and she lay very comfortably, and she felt very comfortable, and she slept very comfortably.
The little Singing Bird busied himself with his broken wing. At last he lay down too, close to his protectress : the sun shone warm and bright, and he had found a very good place.
But the neighbour's fowls went about scratching up the earth ; and, to tell the truth, they had paid the visit simply and solely to find food for themselves. The Chinese were the first to leave the duck-yard, and the other fowls soon followed them. The witty little Duck said of the Portuguese that the old lady would soon be in her second ducklinghood. At this the other Ducks laughed and cackled aloud. ' Second ducklinghood,' they said ; ' that's too witty 1 ' and then they repeated the former joke about Portulak, and declared that it was vastly amusing. And then they lay down.
They had been lying asleep for some time, when suddenly something was thrown into the yard for them to eat. It came down with such a thwack, that the whole company started up from sleep and clapped their wings. The Portuguese awoke too, and threw herself over on the other side, pressing the little Singing Bird very hard as she did so.
' Piep ! ' he cried; ' you trod very hard upon me, madam.'
' Well, why do you lie in my way ? ' the Duck retorted. 1 You must not be so touchy. I have nerves of my own, but yet I never called out " Piep ! " •
- Don't be angry,' said the little Bird ; ' the " piep " came out of my beak unawares.'
The Portuguese did not listen to him, but began eating as fast as she could, and made a good meal. When this was ended, and she lay down again, the little Bird came up, and wanted to be amiable, and sang :
Of your dear heart
I'll sing so oft
As far and wide I flee.'