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A Tale of Friendship elm and pine trees and plants such as

fern and duckweed. The banks of the
tributary were dotted with meadows
Written and Illustrated by Carol
of wild grass created by the beavers
Moore in the cutting of trees to build their
A special note of thanks to James Poling, the dam.
author of Beavers, Their Extraordinary
Lives and Curious History, which facts I
used for realism and authenticity in the The beaver colony was neither large
writing of this story. nor small, having three families and
ten members, and like all beaver they
worked very hard to dam the small
Author's Note: river. Although the beavers took
Dear reader, while this story is absolutely occasional breaks, usually for not
untrue I make no apologies, for in the more than half an hour, one beaver
imagination of the heart and at the heart of relished sitting at the water's edge
imagination everything is possible and deep in thought. He worked harder
anything could be. It has been said that the and faster just so he could sit still
world was created in six days and on the longer. If they kept busy with the
seventh day God rested having created all who and what of things, he found
manner of beast and then man. But one value in the if and why of things --
animal was not there in the beginning. It for hours at a time.
was fashioned by the Creator many years One day in early spring while he was
later, and this is a story of how it came to sitting on the bank deep in thought
be. about why trees should shed their
leaves in winter, he was distracted by
Chapter One a loud "quack-wack-wack" and "rab-
rab-rab". He looked up to see four
mallard ducks attacking a smaller
one that limped, chasing her from the
water onto the bank near him. She
struggled to get a foothold, suffering
numerous pecks, and he saw anguish
in her eyes. It was too much for his
sense of fairness. "Stop that," he
blurted out.
The ducks ceased their pecking and
fell back astonished. They were
accustomed to being ignored by
beavers so what was this? He glared
at them but didn't say anything more,
Years ago, even before the Indian so all but the small one that limped
had set foot in America, there lived a jumped back in the water. She caught
colony of beavers on the banks of a her breath before quacking, "Why
tributary of the Mattawamkeag River did you do that?"
in upper Maine. Semi-mountainous, The beaver shrugged, "They're
it was a beautiful place with willow, always picking on you. I got tired of
it." lake so big it takes weeks, maybe
months, to fly across? I've never
"Well," she said, "They didn't used to actually crossed it, but we ducks hear
pick on me. But nobody else cares -- stories from other birds. It tastes
not ducks, and certainly not beavers. salty and strange animals swim in
It's... very curious." there, like a fish so big it could
"Curious?" swallow this pond in one gulp."

"Why, yes." The duck began The beaver was enchanted. He'd
preening her feathers, pretending never heard such a thing. He listened
indifference. "I notice things. If I in rapt wonder as the duck talked on
didn't I couldn't keep out of the way about seals, dolphins, water spouts
of those hooligans always chasing and hurricanes. She had an endless
me. I notice you sit here far more supply of information, so their
than other beavers do, and...that conversation continued for hours
makes me curious." punctuated only by the beaver's
quick dips into the water. He
The beaver sighed. "Oh, I like that apologized, explaining that he
word "curious...curiosity, curiously, needed to wet his paws or they
curiousness." He rolled the sounds developed cracks in the warm spring
over his tongue like the taste of a air. The more Dooro listened the
tender willow sprig. "I am myself more Miena told until they had
curious about many things. For talked late into the afternoon and the
instance, what is your name?" trees' shadows had became fingers
long and thin, and a cool breeze had
sprung up.
The beaver lowered his voice as if
"I have to go now," said Dooro.
they were co-conspirators. "Miena,
my name is Dooro. I have a question. "Me, too," Miena echoed and
I've often wondered about those reluctantly slipped back into the
objects that hang in the sky. Not the pond.
clouds, but the round things, that
very big bright one during the day,
and the dimmer one at night along
with all the sparkles. Have you flown
there? Can you touch them?"
"Oh, no!" she said. "It doesn't matter
how high I fly, they're always Chapter Two
farther. I suspect I could fly for ten
summertimes and never reach them." All that week Miena sought Dooro
out whenever he rested on the bank.
"Really." This was partly because the other
Dooro was so impressed Miena ducks left her alone when she was
flapped her wings momentarily. with him and partly because he was
"Yes, when you fly you do notice a so happy to see her. They would
lot of things. Like, did you know discuss whatever came to mind,
there are not just other rivers and which could be about some
lakes like we have right here, but a difference between ducks and
and beavers, until they had reached
the edge of the lake and turned into a
narrow canal just wide enough for
the beaver's body. She followed him
to the end, about 150 feet further,
and they climbed out, he shaking his
fur and she fluffing her feathers.
Dooro began walking into the forest.
Because his short powerful legs
made him slow and awkward, he was
not graceful on land as he had been
in the water, Miena, too, did not
beavers, or the relative threat of such glide along but walked with a gimpy
enemies as bear and cougar, or even waddle. Dooro passed half a dozen
where they might end up if they flew trees hesitating momentarily before
or swam in one direction forever. stopping at the seventh tree to sniff
the bark and open his mouth. But
Then one morning Dooro invited unexpectedly the duck sounded an
Miena to accompany him while he alarm.
worked. She paddled beside him as "What's wrong?" Dooro exclaimed.
he swam gracefully and powerfully
closing his forepaws into fists and Miena was emphatic. "Not that tree.
carrying them close to his chest as he There's a nest in it."
propelled himself forward with
She lifted her head to point and
webbed hind feet, using his tail as a
Dooro saw that there was, indeed, a
rudder. When Miena dipped her head
nest halfway up the tree hidden in the
underwater for a piece of duckweed
branches. He watched Miena fly to
Dooro lowered his head too. Instead
of ordinary eyelids, his eyelids were
transparent. When he closed them it
was like looking through
windowpanes and he could see her
with perfect clarity.
Miena felt exhilarated. She was at
home in the water, her feathers
providing perfect insulation, and now
that she didn't have to worry about
other ducks chasing her she could
relax and enjoy the surroundings.
She loved to paddle against the soft
liquid resistance and smell the crisp
snap of spring air with its hints of
floral bouquet. Even better, by
accompanying Dooro she felt she
was participating in something
important and necessary. She swam
alongside him, passing other ducks
The duck recognized the nest
because she had hatched in one just
like it. Although ground nests were
more common, occasionally some
were put in a tree. She found eight
olive-green eggs nestled between
soft brown feathers and wondered
where the parents were. But the nest
did feel warm to her feet so she
realized the mother duck had only wove them into the tangled structure.
recently left and would return Occasionally another beaver helped
shortly. She rejoined Dooro who had him work a particularly large trunk
already selected another tree. section over the top and rest it at an
angle, further buttressing the back of
the dam.
Using his tail as a stool on which he
could sit upright, Dooro gripped the Because he was single-minded in his
trunk in his forepaws and began effort Door and Miena talked only
chewing the bark of the six-inch occasionally. The beaver had cut
willow sapling, dropping chips as he down, sectioned and transported two
worked. It took only 15 minutes trees to the dam before deciding it
before the tree began to sway on the was time for a morning break. They
verge of toppling. Taking one last sat on the bank watching other
bite, Dooro slapped his tail on the beavers still hard at work.
ground setting off distant thumps and
pistol-like pops as other beavers "Were you born here?" asked Miena,
followed suit on ground and water. nibbling at some watercress that had
Even Miena knew this was the sprung up at the water's edge.
beaver's version of "Timber!" an "Yes," answered Dooro, "In the
emergency signal that reverberates lodge at the center of the lake." He
throughout the beaver colony telling began rubbing oil on his coat from
others to seek the safety of water the scent glands near his tail and
until they are sure no enemies have using the split toenails of his back
been attracted by the sounds of a feet to comb through his thick mat of
falling tree. Dooro too returned to the underfur. "How about you, where
canal and waited ten minutes before were you born?"
he got out and began dismembering
the branches of the tree and chewing "A lake close by -- one night's flight
the trunk into pieces about three feet from here. I left, though. I didn't feel
long. Gripping a branch in his teeth safe there."
he splashed back into the canal, with
Miena close behind. "Why not?"

The beaver was tireless and Miena Miena hesitated. "That's where a
accompanied him as he made 20 snapping turtle grabbed me by my
trips to the lake and back. He ferried foot when I was a duckling. My
the branches and trunk sections to parents beat at him with their wings
the dam and with dexterous forefeet until he let me go. If I'd been in
and strong jaws pushed, pulled and deeper water and not so shallow at
the time. . ." She shuddered as her Dooro insisted. "Come on. I will be
voice faded. with you." He coaxed her into the
water and over to the area above his
"I understand," said Dooro tunnel. Then they dove, Dooro
sympathetically. "Aiera the wolf leading the way.
gives us grief, too, but one thing he
cannot do is sneak up on us from As with all beavers, Dooro was
underwater. That's why we are endowed with an almost miraculous
working so hard right now to keep ability to stay underwater. He had
the water high. Kits are being born. outer ears he could fold shut and
My mother has two new ones." flaps of skin in his nose he could
close to keep water out. His
"Really, where are they? I haven't oversized lungs allowed him to
seen them," exclaimed Miena with submerge for as long as fifteen
interest. minutes and to swim underwater half
"Oh, she will bring them out soon. a mile. When he dove his heartbeat
They are not yet a week old, but slowed automatically and his body
already she is teaching them how to prepared to absorb what to other
swim. They learn at the edge of the animals would be poisonous amounts
eating shelf inside the lodge." of carbon dioxide. But Miena was
not so endowed. Certainly she was
"Eating shelf?" able to dive for minutes at a time, but
that was under conditions where she
"Oh, I forgot, you have never been
could see her surroundings and had
inside a lodge, " said Dooro. "We
immediate access to the surface.
have two levels. The upper level is
Dooro realized there was a problem
for sleeping and the lower level
well before he had reached the
slopes to the water and is for eating
entrance to his lodge.
and a place to dry off. Would you
like to see it?" Almost halfway through the tunnel
Miena panicked. Pushing against the
"Oh, I couldn't disturb your mother
walls with her webbed toes, she
and her babies," said Miena.
sought to swim faster but only stirred
"No. I will show you my lodge," said up mud, twigs and debris that
Dooro proudly. It's the smaller one clouded the passageway. And once
near the dam. The back entrance isn't she couldn't see she became
that long." disoriented, thrashing about in terror.
Sensing trouble, Dooro turned and
"Back entrance? swam back to her, pushing and
"A tunnel I made from the bottom of guiding her back out of the tunnel
the pond to my lodge, maybe 20 feet with his chest and forepaws until she
long. It's a couple of feet wide. I'm was into clear water. She stopped
sure you could make it." floundering and hesitated only a
moment before rushing to the surface
"I don't know." Miena said. She to draw in deep breaths of air. She
didn't mind diving, but the image of made her way to the bank and lay
a dark tunnel unnerved her. exhausted.
Miena didn't hold her unfortunate
experience against Dooro. They
continued to meet and talk every day,
at least for a while, as he was busier
than ever. The snow pack was
melting and the waters of the
tributary swelled, forcing the beaver
colony to abandon their lodges, if
only temporarily. Dooro explained to
Miena that this was actually a good
thing because the more water the
dam could hold back, the more water
there would be to fill new canals and
It didn't help that Dooro caught a
underwater plunge holes so
disapproving glance from his father
necessary to escape enemies. Now
who was working on the dam. Dooro
that the trees closest to the lake were
was overwhelmed with shame.
gone they had to travel further afield,
"Miena," he exclaimed. "I really
and each additional canal lined with
thought you could do it."
underwater escape burrows might
"Ohhhh," she gasped. "I'll never do mean life or death. Through Dooro,
that again. Even if I was chased by Miena came to understand a beaver's
100 turtles I could never, ever enter a passion for dam building.
tunnel again."
Along with the increased flow of
"I'm sorry." Dooro didn't know what water and abundant greenery came
else to say. an explosion of new family
members. Besides the coot and
"I know you're sorry," Miena merganser ducks with their
reassured him. "You just thought ducklings, three of the mallard
ducks are like beavers -- and we're couples were showing off their new
not. I'm not. Just don't ever mention broods. Except for their more
that horrible place again." subdued coloring, Miena thought all
the ducklings were adorable
miniatures of their parents. For the
first time she knew a new yearning
and couldn't wait to discuss it with
"Do you plan on having a family one
Chapter Three day?" she asked the beaver as he lie
sunning himself lazily on his back.
He flipped to his stomach.
"Yes. I do. A couple weeks ago, as a
matter of fact, I was considering it."
Miena was surprised. "You didn't tell
"No, I didn't think to. I came across a an odd friendship, but after all, ducks
fresh mound of mud an unfamiliar are no threat to beavers. She returned
beaver had put onto a fallen log. She to the water with a gentle slap of her
had shaped it into a cone. It tail and Dooro, Miena, and the kits
smelled... marvelous." He stretched all followed her as far as the dam.
his chin out onto his forefeet and
closed his eyes, savoring the Once at the dam Dooro began
memory. explaining the fine art of dam
building. He told them a dam needs
Miena didn't have a clue as to why to be wider at the bottom than the
mud would smell marvelous. top. That instead of one big tree
"That's.... nice. I have thought about being used as a foundation, many
it, too. Not mud, of course -- but saplings and limbs of older trees
having a family. But then..." heavy with brush go into the
construction. Then branches are laid
Dooro sensed Miena's depression. side by side in line with the direction
Knowing she was an outcast from of the current and anchored into the
her own kind and unlikely to attract a mud by rocks and stones, so as not to
mate, it occurred to him a distraction wash away. With a web of interlaced
was in order. "Look, there's my branches acting like a net, all manner
mother with my brothers." of driftwood and debris are
Sure enough, the mother beaver was entrapped. Dooro explained that once
swimming across the lake in their the foundation is laid, to be
direction with her two kits straddling watertight the dam needs a plaster of
her tail. After passing by a pair of mud, pebbles, and grasses and that
ducks also giving rides to their this plastering of mud must be done
ducklings, they came right up to on the upstream side first or it will
Miena and Dooro. The beaver kits wash away. And finally, the heaviest
immediately abandoned their mother logs are added to the dam on the
and began leaping onto Dooro and downstream side and pushed against
then tumbling over one another. it at right angles for more strength.

"Boys, behave yourselves," their Being only three weeks old, Dooro's
mother admonished sternly. To brothers were hardly attentive. They
Dooro she said, "Your father and I perked up, however, at the mention
are about to cut down a big spruce of mud. "We want to plaster. Can we
tree. Will you watch your baby do that?" they begged.
brothers?" It was what Dooro had in mind.
Dooro's eyes twinkled. He'd already He took them to the bottom of the
seen Miena fluff her feathers in pond where he showed them how to
anticipation. "That will be fine, scoop up armfuls of mud, old leaves
mother. Maybe I will give them and pebbles. His forepaws with their
another lesson on dam building." five toes and strong claws were
The mother beaver smiled her beaver particularly dexterous, and with the
smile and nodded serenely, fully support of his paddle-like tail he
trusting her oldest son. She didn't could walk on his hind legs
object to Miena. She'd decided it was underwater. Arms full, Dooro
actually walked up the side of the
eight-foot dam to the surface where tails. Those in the pond reacted by
he began shoving mud into place diving or flying, but Miena did
with paws and snout. In following neither. One of the kits dove
his example, the beaver kits were instantly but the other kit seemed
barely successful. Because of their confused and was swimming towards
size and underdeveloped the bank. With bone-chilling fear
coordination, mud melted from their Miena saw Aiera, the dark-gray wolf,
grasp and they quickly discovered loping along the bank in their
stealing Dooro's was an easier way to direction.
plaster. He good-naturedly allowed
it, although a lot of mud seemed to Without thinking, and on the pure
be drifting back from where it came. instincts of a mother duck, she raised
a hue and cry as loud as her lungs
After one dive, Miena was content to would permit. "Quack-wack-wack.
stay on the surface and enjoy the Quack-wack-wack." Half flying, half
young beavers enjoying themselves. pushing the water with her feet she
She was impressed that animals so rushed to put herself between the kit
young would be so industrious, but and Aiera. The same instant the wolf
eventually their playfulness got the saw the young beaver he heard and
better of them. It was after Dooro's saw the duck. It's automatic that
fifth dive that his baby brothers predators attack the weakest and
decided mud had a better use. First Miena knew instinctively to become
they began patting it on Dooro, and vulnerable. She began flapping one
then themselves, and finally Miena. wing and bobbing spasmodically, all
But the mud war was self-limiting the while keeping up her "Quack-
because by that time Dooro had no wack-wack," as though she was in
intentions of gathering more mud. great pain.
Then they turned to Miena. It The ruse worked. Aiera couldn't
occurred to the beaver kits they resist a wounded duck. He crashed
could pretend to be ducklings and be into the pond, water spraying
ferried about. Over Dooro's everywhere. His muzzle was only
strenuous objections Miena went inches away and when he opened
along with it, looking decidedly wide his mouth Miena saw his fangs.
waterlogged, or rather, beaver- Out of the corner of her eye she also
logged. She traveled beside the dam saw the second beaver kit dive to
towards the bank, figuring to get out safety. In front of Aiera's eyes she
once she grew too tired to carry her healed instantly, flying up and away
passengers. They were having a to a tree where she could safely
wonderful time, drawing looks of watch his reaction.
amusement from other ducks as well
as beavers. The thwarted wolf leaped about in
the water, sniffing and growling. All
Suddenly close by there was a noise the beavers had disappeared and the
as loud as a pistol shot -- so loud it ducks were either in the trees or had
could be heard half a mile away. paddled to a safe distance. Aiera's
Immediately other loud pops tongue drooled from unanticipated
followed, some fainter, as distant loss and unable to accept defeat, he
beavers sounded the alarm with their actually began swimming towards
the ducks at the center of the pond.
With exaggerated nonchalance they
easily outdistanced him and he
finally gave up.
Half an hour later the pond's
residents were back to doing what
they'd been doing before the wolf Chapter Four
appeared, except for Dooro, Miena
and the kits who stayed close to the The newness of spring changed into
family lodge at the center of the the lazy days of summer. Except for
pond. While the kits swam and an occasional repair of the dam, the
played, Dooro and Miena talked, beavers were unmotivated to cut any
keeping a wary eye on the bank. trees. It was a time of abundance for
beaver and duck alike because they
Dooro was in awe. "That was could now dine on a wide selection
marvelous what you did." of plants. Without leaving the water
they feasted on duckweed, water
Determined to remain modest, Miena
lilies, and watercress. Close by grew
dipped her head in the water several
ferns, mushrooms, wild grasses, and
times. Droplets of water rolled and
berries. Miena enjoyed an occasional
splashed off her back and feathers.
bug or minnow. Dooro, too,
"My parents did that for me. It's
welcomed the change in menu and
something we ducks do."
only occasionally ate willow or
"Well, I still think it was marvelous," aspen, a staple during the winter
insisted Dooro. months. The flourishing plant life of
the beaver pond attracted other
"The place where I live in the animals. It was not uncommon to see
wintertime has more than one wolf. deer, raccoons, skunk and bear,
They usually live in packs, you although the beavers were always
know," said Miena changing the nervous when a bear was around.
subject. Bears had been known to tear apart
The thought both intrigued and beaver lodges.
terrified the beaver. "I have never Meanwhile the ducklings and kits
heard of that." turned into young ducks and beavers.
"Well, I've seen it," she assured him. Nature was preparing the ducklings
for their winter flight. Early on they
Miena's worldly knowledge never had lost their down and begun
failed to impress Dooro and after the growing flight feathers. And while
events of that day, he had even more the young beavers would not be
respect for her. As for the duck, she independent until two years old, by
basked in his respect. the end of summer at half their adult
size, they were fully capable of
patching the dam or felling a tree.
Throughout the summer Miena and
Dooro continued to have their special
conversations. Where Dooro was,
there was Miena -- and vice versa.
To Dooro, what few beaver "Miena, when are you going to leave
conversations he had had, became with the others?" he said, worry
boring in comparison. As for Miena, edging his voice.
well, she had no one else to talk to
and grew to prefer it that way. Miena hesitated. "There's time."
Momentarily she tucked her head
All too soon the light of day began to under her wing, and then shook her
shorten and by the end of September feathers.
the beavers were once again hard at
work. With increased cloud cover Dooro persisted. "But almost all the
and colder weather the ducks other ducks have already left.
appeared nervous, watching the sky "That's not true. There are ducks
and looking southward. Their left."
quacking became more frequent and
if any one of them took flight, the Dooro didn't want to argue. He
others watched mesmerized until it preferred making a suggestion.
had landed. Some of the birds took "Well, at least I hope you plan on
flight and didn't return. The distant leaving with them when they do
honking of geese and their flying leave."
"V" patterns was a bugle call to those
Miena looked away and didn't
with migratory instincts.
The beavers hurried to cut trees for
storing in woodpiles underwater.
With stones they weighted down
successive layers of wood at the
bottom of the pond. Because the
pond was too deep to freeze all the
way to the bottom, this would be
their food through the winter. As
always Dooro worked extra hard and
Miena followed him constantly. If he respond. The subject wasn't
hadn't enjoyed her company so much mentioned again for a while.
he might have realized, as did all the
other residents of the pond, that at
this time of year this was odd
behavior. Miena didn't watch the sky
or look southward like the other
Chapter Five
It was only after most of the ducks
had left the pond and Dooro had In a week's time there were no more
begun fortifying his lodge with mud, ducks at the pond, except a forlorn
that he thought to question Miena Miena. With even beavers
about it. He was patting the mud disappearing into their lodges for the
carefully onto the dome of his lodge, winter, Dooro was truly alarmed and
a master plasterer striving to cover determined to straighten it out one
every bit of exposed surface. way or another.
"Miena, when are you leaving? The harsh elements. Miena looked more
ducks are all gone and you know it's miserable each day.
He thought and thought about how
The duck's quack was something he could help her. He even suggested
between a plea and resignation. "I'm to Miena that she dive into the pond
not going," she said. before it was frozen over so she
could seek shelter in his beaver
Dooro couldn't believe what he was lodge. But this would have meant
hearing. "But, why not!" using the tunnel passageway and
"I just can't." And then more Dooro only needed to see the terror
defiantly, "I don't want to and I in her eyes to know that answer.
won't." Then one morning after it had
To the pragmatic beaver this violated snowed all night, the frantic
every instinctual rule. Ducks flew quacking of a duck awakened Dooro,
south for the winter and there simply comfortably asleep in his lodge. He
was no other option. Dooro was arrived at the surface of the pond to
emphatic. "You can't leave? Well, find Miena stuck in the ice. She had
you can't stay. What would you eat? fallen asleep in one of the last clear
Where will you live? The pond will patches of water and during the night
be frozen soon." snow and ice had sealed it, trapping
her feet. No matter how hard she
Miena refused to answer. Instead she struggled she couldn't get free and
turned her back on him and flew off was crying out pitifully.
to a tree. The worried beaver didn't
know what to do. She was his friend, Without hesitation Dooro began
after all. gnawing and clawing at the ice. In
his presence Miena ceased crying
Dooro kept an eye on her all the and lay quiet. It wasn't long before
following week. With each he had freed her.
progressive day the now-freezing
temperature began to have its effect. While he worked, Dooro had
The mud the beavers had so carefully resolved to save Miena. He didn't
applied to their lodges became hard consider it brave or foolish. He only
as cement and the pond began to knew that what he planned was
freeze over starting at the shoreline. against every beaver's deepest
This was no problem for the beavers instinct. Without acknowledging
who could continue working Miena who followed him, he walked
underwater even in a completely ice- to his lodge and began chewing the
covered pond. Dooro was outer wall with its mud cement
accustomed to memorizing every air casing. Even with his powerful jaws
pocket including the ones that always and his two-inch bottom teeth honed
formed along the shore of the pond to a knife-like edge, it wasn't easy.
or the one that formed at the dome of The feeling of bitter cold stabbed at
ice above the entrance to his lodge. his gums until his teeth became
What he wasn't accustomed to doing numb, but Dooro was single-minded
was worrying about a duck who had in the determination to vandalize his
no such defenses against winter's own fortress. He bit and tore at it for
an hour until it was broken open.
Then with his snout he nudged in the them all."
shaken duck and began immediately
making repairs. Even with repair, he "Oh....." Dooro shuddered. "How
realized the protective wall of his awful."
lodge would take days to harden "That's not all. Besides eating those
again. He finally joined Miena it kills, it uses them for a second
inside. skin."
"Oh, what did you do to your "What does this animal look like?"
beautiful home?" she said sadly.
"It walks on two legs like a bird, but
With his forepaws Dooro began it can't fly. It has arms instead of
readjusting the wood shavings. He wings and no tail."
made a pile for the duck and a pile
for himself. "It will be all right," he They talked on and on about the
said. "I've already repaired it. How strange animal. But while Miena
are you feeling?" began to relax and enjoy herself,
Dooro couldn't ignore a persistent
"It's warmer in here," she quacked feeling of doom. For good reason. At
softly. "Thank you." that very moment Aiera was foraging
With his nose the beaver pushed an in their area.
elm twig towards the duck. There The wolf hadn't eaten in days and
were several leaves still attached. with the alluring scent of duck and
"Want some?" He asked, trying to beaver wafting through the air he
sound cheery. followed it eagerly, lifting his
"No thank you." Miena was muzzle and sniffing often. Crossing
overcome with gratitude and the last the now frozen pond, it didn't take
thing she had on her mind was food. him long to find Dooro's lodge.
She was well aware of how dearly Dooro and Miena smelled him before
Dooro loved to learn of new things, they heard him.
so she searched her mind for such an
item and found it. "Did I ever tell "Dive, Miena!" ordered Dooro.
you about the enemy of all animals?"
she asked.
Dooro's eyes got wide. "All animals.
What do you mean?"
Miena lowered her voice. "There's a
legend among ducks of an animal
whom even our enemies fear. I've
never seen it, and my parents never
saw it, and no ducks they ever talked
to saw it, but nevertheless, there's an
animal who uses the rocks of the
ground and the limbs of the trees to
kill others. It doesn't even need its
teeth and it's more deadly than wolf
packs or cougars or bears. It kills
But the duck, paralyzed with fear, gasped.
shrank against the wall of the lodge.
Dooro knew if he left her she would Miena, pushing with her webbed
be killed. Already he could hear feet, struggled to him and laid her
Aiera's growling as the wolf tore and good wing over his back like a
scratched at the freshly packed mud blanket of feathers. "Is that better?"
and branches. It wasn't long before she asked.
his head and shoulders broke He sighed and closed his eyes. "A
through. little."
Dooro, backing up, pushed Miena
against the wall and lifted his head to
show his teeth. But the stronger and
more agile Aiera wasn't the least
intimidated. He wriggled and crashed
through the barrier leaping on the
beaver and pulling him outside. So Chapter Six
powerful was Aiera that once he had
a solid hold of the beaver's neck he The truth is that no matter how noble
shook him savagely. or terrible our intent, we must face
the consequences of our actions. But
The violence of the scene and so strong and pure was Dooro and
terrible growls of the wolf awakened Miena's friendship that it had not
Miena from her daze. "Quack-wack- gone unnoticed by the Creator. Such
wack." She rushed from the lodge, devotion and self-sacrifice are rare
flapping her wings, doing her best and in this case rewarded.
once again to attract Aiera's Mysteriously, magically,
attention. She finally succeeded, but wondrously, Miena and Dooro's
at what cost. Aiera released the wounds were healed -- as surely and
beaver and grabbed Miena by her left quietly as pure love warms a frozen
wing, breaking it. Then he tossed her heart. In the twinkling of an eye they
into the air to get a deadlier grip. were transported halfway around the
It was all the chance Dooro needed. world to another continent, a new
Aiera's left back leg came within land with new woods and waterways.
reach and he bit down as hard as he While transported they were
had ever chomped a willow tree. The transfigured. Miena lost her feathers,
bone cracked and Aiera, howling in then her wings, which turned into
rage and pain, released Miena. arms, and a thick down of fur
Dooro's attack was totally enveloped her body. Dooro's nose
unexpected and it unnerved the wolf, stretched and spread until it became
who was really a coward at heart. He a bill like Miena's and his body
turned and fled, using an uneven gait shrank, flattened and grew more
to favor his injured leg. compact. In this new land they
became a new animal, an animal not
Unfortunately, for all their bravery quite a bird and not quite a mammal
both Miena and Dooro were mortally but a bit of both with a broad flat tail
wounded. Their red blood was and fur softer than a beaver's, with a
splattered on the white snow. Dooro bill like a duck and "oviparous,"
collapsed, shivering. "It's cold," he which is to say it lays eggs. The
Creator looked on his newest
creation and saw that it was good.
For one long moment they stared
into one another's eyes. Then he
cried, "Miena."
She cried "Dooro."

They fell into one another's furry
arms, caring not about the how or
why, but embracing and tumbling
over and over with joy.
That, dear reader, is how the
Platypus came to be.