During our first real annual stay in the
On our first evening at
We, as well as the other patrons sitting on the terrace, were charmed by this amusing spectacle. However, the best and most astonishing part was yet to come.
The lady kept feeding cake to the two ducks, but seemed worried. ‘Alfred, où es tu?’ (Alfred, where are you?), she called out again and again. Finally, there was a ruffle in the undergrowth where the two brown ducks had appeared earlier. To everybody’s surprise a white duck poked his head out of the bushes. Slowly and self-consciously, it made his appearance. How to describe what we saw? Alfred, because that’s who it was, was a very unusual duck indeed. Unlike the common specimen, that move with their body held horizontally, Alfred kept his body very erect, almost vertical while he limped – not wobbled – towards the lawn. What was wrong with this duck?
The explanation was a very simple, yet rather distressing. It turned out that Alfred had a wooden ‘leg’. Apparently he had been run over by a car when crossing the main drive on the château grounds. The hotel proprietor loved Alfred so much that she had refused to have him put asleep. So the vet had given Alfred a wooden leg.
Alfred lived for another two or three years after our first meeting, until he finally died of old age. I bet he’s the only duck limping around on a wooden leg in duck heaven !