Post by Cfirstname.lastname@example.org
Btw, I do know why ducks sleep standing on only one leg. :-)
Why Ducks Sleep Standing on One Leg
Many people must have wondered why ducks are accustomed to sleep in
the funny way they do - with one leg lifted. The Vietnamese have an
interesting explanation for this.
After Heaven had completed the creation of the world, there were four
ducks who found that they only had one leg each. It was difficult for
them to walk, and sometimes they were unable to find enough food. They
became very morose when they saw how easily other fowls and animals
moved about on two legs.
One day the four unfortunate ducks held a meeting and discussed their
ignoble condition. They had arrived at a point where life on one leg
could no longer be endured, so they decided to lodge a complaint to
Heaven. But they were entirely ignorant of Heaven's location, and they
did not even know how to draft a petition.
One of them suggested that they should turn to the rooster for help.
The others protested that his penmanship was so bad that no one in
Heaven would be able to read the petition. But there was no one else
to whom they could turn, so after having quacked and grumbled for some
time, the four of them went to find the rooster, who was only too
eager to help and readily scratched out the desired petition.
The ducks read the petition and then held another meeting to decide
which one of them should carry it. They way to Heaven was long and
tedious and beset with many pitfalls, so that none of the one-legged
ducks was enthusiastic about undertaking the journey.
The rooster, who was standing some distance away, overheard the lively
discussion. He coughed discreetly, and approaching the group,
delicately asked whether he might be of further service. They were
very pleased and accepted his offer to help.
"Not far from here there is a temple," he suggested, looking wisely
down his beak "and it happens that I am acquainted with the god of the
place. He could convey your petition to Heaven, and I can give you a
letter of introduction to him."
The ducks were loudly grateful whereupon the rooster put on his
spectacles and wrote out a suitably worded letter for them.
The ducks then proceeded to the temple, and as they entered its
precincts, they suddenly heard a loud, imperious voice wanting to know
why the temple's incense burner had eight legs instead of four. The
voice continued by demanding that the four extra legs be removed
As the ducks heard this, their hope rose. They did not know what an
incense burner was, but they understood that four of its legs were to
be removed immediately. They hurried into the temple. The god was
still frowning at the incense burner when they entered, and he looked
at them unsmilingly.
"Your lordship," said one duck, who had become the spokesman for the
group, "here is a letter for you from our friend and neighbor, the
rooster and also our petition.l It's about our need of four legs; as
you see we have only one leg each."
The replied that what had been given them at creation was final, and
that their petition would serve no purpose. At these words the four
ducks fell silent. But then one, younger than the others and more
desperate, spoke up and said what was on the minds of all four.
"Your lordship," he stammered, "you spoke just now of removing four
legs from the incense burner..."
The god looked at him wide-eyed for an instant and then burst into
uncontrollable laughter. In the end he agreed to give hte ducks the
four extra legs.
"but mind you," he said, hading them over to the ducks and winking at
the incense burner, "these legs are made of pure gold and are very
precious; guard them carefully."
The ducks were ready to promise anything. they took their legs with
indescribable joy. They bowed and thanked the god. They attached the
extra legs to their bodies and soon they were able to move about like
their fellow creatures. But at night when they went to sleep, they
would pull up the leg given them by the temple god so that no one
could steal it. Other ducks, seeing this, assumed it was the proper
way to sleep and in imitation began to lift one leg before retiriung
for the night. And so the custom has remained to this day.