Thursday, March 09, 2006

The diving lesson

As I cycled along the river today I spotted an egret hidden away on some concrete steps.

"What on earth are you doing in here?" I asked. "Isn't it a bit mucky?"

"It is a bit," said the egret. "COME ON! YOU CAN DO IT!"

I jumped.

"Pardon?" I said.

A cormorant popped up out of the water.

"WELL DONE!" said the egret. "I'm giving him a diving lesson," she explained.

"Gosh!" I said. "I didn't think the water was that deep."

"It isn't," said the egret. "He has to practice in shallow water where nobody can see him."

"Why?" I asked.

"He's afraid to go in over his head," said the egret. "Ever since he read some stupid story about a sinking problem he's been having anxiety attacks, and everybody keeps laughing at him."

"Oh, er, really?" I said.

"It's embarrassing," said the cormorant. "And I have horrible nightmares."

"Oh," I said.

"But I think I'm better now. So far I've managed to resurface EVERY TIME. I reckon that story was just a fairy tale."

"Oh, er, good," I said. I thought about it. "But was it really? I thought I saw..."

"AHEM!" said the egret.

"What?" said the cormorant.

"Oh, nothing. Never mind," I said.

"I'm going to practice in the river, now," said the cormorant, and flew away.

"GOOD LUCK!" shouted the egret.

She turned to me. "Idiot!" she hissed. "You almost told him!"

"Told him what? About the sinking problem?"

"Yes!" said the egret. "And it's NOT a problem, until they notice it. "They're SUPPOSED to sink. They're supposed to get the fish at the bottom, not at the top. That guy has been eating my breakfast EVERY DAY since that stupid story."

"Oh," I said. "I didn't know."

"You don't know ANYTHING," said the egret. "You're almost as bad as the dumb person who wrote those stories. Can you believe such idiocy?"

"Well, um ... my goodness, what gorgeous legs you have!" I said, desperately.

"Do you think so?" said the egret, brightening. "You don't think I'm knock-kneed?"

"Not at all," I said. "I've never seen such beautiful legs."

"But look at my feet!" said the egret. "I've got to go."

She flew over to the dam.

"I hope that stupid bird doesn't need more diving lessons tomorrow," I heard her grumble.

"I HATE getting my feet dirty."


Anonymous said...

You really are a great story teller. I so enjoy these little tales. I'd never have thought that piccies of birds in water could be so entertaining.

Cheryl said...

I could crack a joke about the news giving you a sinking feeling, or ask whether, as cormorants seemingly read your blog, you had ever assumed you might be writing for the birds.
But neither would be funny, so I won't.

Delightful, as usual - your quirky sense of humour really is a joy :-)

Fuzzball said...

These stories make me so happy, especially if I'm having a blue day. Thank you again!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful as usual. =)
But I was wondering.. did the gull by the side not say anything? Hehe


Badaunt said...

Cheryl: I didn't think either of those observations were exactly UNfunny...

Fallensnow: Well spotted! The gull at the side was a spy, possibly, who may or may not turn up in a future story.

I wondered whether anybody would notice the gull, actually - I didn't, at first, because of the light being so glary (glarey?) and my screen so bad. Any hints on how to take photos in that sort of light? These were not very good, really. Obviously I need to move beyond the 'auto' setting on my camera...

I'm glad everyone is enjoying these, and thanks for the encouragement. I'm having a lot of fun, in case you hadn't noticed.

Fuzzball said...

What kind of camera do you have?

kenju said...

I love these stories!

Badaunt said...

Fuzzball: It's an Olympus C760 Ultrazoom. I picked it up cheaply before my trip to Europe last year, and love it. Unfortunately I only have a Japanese manual, which is way too difficult for me to read, and I guess what I really need is to do some research about how to take photographs! I know how to adjust the manual settings so it doesn't have to be on auto all the time, but I don't understand enough about photography to know what to change or how it affects the photo I take.

She Weevil said...

I really love these little oriental charmers. They remind me a little of Tales from the Riverbank when I was very small.