On a beautiful farm at the edge of a forest lived a farmer who owned a beautiful duck, named Cloé. Cloé was a happy duck who had no worries. She lived in a big fenced in area and had everything that a duck could wish for. Every morning the farmer would bring fresh and tasty feed and would clean her little bed made out of hay and pour fresh water into her bowl. He would never forget to softly stroke her fluffy feathers and exclaim:
– You are such a beautiful duck Cloé, I’m so proud of you!
Cloé’s life was like the flow of a peaceful river. In the long summer afternoons, in the shade of an old apple tree, she would ponder at the enchanting beauty of the flowers and the trees, and the sun high in the sky. She thought how blessed she is to live in such a beautiful place and to have such a kind and thoughtful owner. It’s so good to feel loved and to know that somebody loves and protects and cares for you.
One night the Moon shined high in the sky and Cloé was sleeping peacefully on her soft little bed. Suddenly, a loud noise woke her up and startled her. She could sense a strange smell and a shiver of fear ran through her whole body. With hesitant steps she came out of her little house and found herself face to face with a terrifying beast, that was furiously trying to penetrate the fence that protected her. He had long threatening teeth, eyes like fiery embers, sharp claws and a body black like coal.
Cloé was paralyzed with fear. She couldn’t move. Her eyes were fixed on that strange creature that she had never seen before, and whose intentions seemed far from friendly. Endless minutes passed, when finally the beasts’ fury started to calm down. The farmer had built such a strong fence that even the animals’ full force was useless. So, Cloé, little by little, took courage.
“The fence will resist”, she thought, “I don’t have anything to fear!”. Cautiously she came closer and with a mixture of fear and curiosity she asked with a trembling voice:
– Who are you? What do you want from me?
In the meantime, the beast, exhausted, was lying down trying to catch his breath and with a low, deep voice, answered:
– I am a wolf and my name is Malì! What do I want? It’s simple; I’m hungry, and I want to eat you!
Hearing these words, Cloé was again gripped with fear. Sure, she had heard already about the wolf from the stories that the sparrows would tell sometimes, when they came to visit her under the apple tree. But she always thought that such a creature existed only in the wild imagination of those little birds. Now instead, he was right there in front of her. She wasn’t dreaming and even worse, he was intending to eat her. Gathering a little more courage she told the wolf, this time with a firmer voice:
– You can’t eat me Malì! My owner loves me and to protect me he built a strong and sturdy fence. He is good and kind to me and not bad and mean like you.
There was a moment of silence, then Malì burst into a mocking laugh:
– Ha! Ha! Ha! You poor duck, how naive you are! Do you really think the intentions of your kind owner are so different than mine? He is only waiting for you to grow a little more: then, when you’ll be big enough and nice and fat, you’ll end up right into his pot.
This said, the wolf gave a last look at the duck with those eyes that now were like mirrors reflecting the moonlight, got up on his four long legs and, as he had come, vanished into the forest.
That night Cloé couldn’t sleep: the encounter with the wolf had deeply shaken her, but even more she was hit by his words.
“What a nerve he had”, she thought. “How could that ugly wolf dare to insinuate that one day the owner would put her into a pot! What a horrible thought! After all, what can a wolf know about love? What can he know of the kindness and the caresses of her beloved owner?”
Upon these thoughts, exhausted, the duck fell asleep. The next day, when she woke up, the encounter with the wolf seemed only a bad memory. Punctual as always, at sun rise, the farmer entered the fenced area with the usual care. He fluffed up her bed of hay, filled the trough with fresh water and put a generous handful of feed in her bowl. He looked at her and held her tenderly in his hands, and told her:
– You are really a beautiful duck! You are really growing well. All my efforts will soon be repaid!
He then put her down and went about his work, whistling cheerfully.
“My efforts will soon be repaid? What did he mean by these words?”, asked Cloé to herself, a bit worried.
She had noticed something strange that morning in the voice of her beloved owner. She had the impression that he was colder than usual, more distant, as if he was hiding something from her.
“But what are you thinking?”, Cloé told herself. “That bad wolf really has put some strange ideas into your head. My owner loves me. There are no doubts about it. How can I think that he has intentions to eat me?”
But even this thought couldn’t calm her. The wolf’s voice echoed continually in her mind, and his words, as terrible as they were, had a strange unknown taste. The taste of truth.
Again came the evening and then the night. Cloé couldn’t sleep. Too many thoughts kept her awake. Too much pain was tied to those thoughts. Then, again, that smell. She ran out of her little house with a pounding heart. On the other side of the fence, there he was: Malì, the wolf, had returned!
He was quietly laying down and staring at her with his fiery expression.
– Hi, Cloé! — he said with a warm and vibrant voice. — How are you?
– I was better before I met you! — the duck answered. — That’s for sure! Why did you come back? Are you so stupid that you don’t understand that you can never break that fence? It’s too strong, even for your sharp claws.
– I know that, — the wolf answered. — It’s just that tonight I felt a bit lonely and I needed somebody to talk to. So, I thought about you.
– That’s really something! First you want to eat me, then you come to talk with me. Who do you think you are?
“On the other hand”, she thought, “I also need somebody to talk to”. Then again there was something in that wolf that attracted her — she had to admit — as in his fiery eyes, like in a magic mirror, she could see a part of herself.
– OK Malì, let’s talk. But what do you want to talk about? — The duck asked.
– Whatever you want Cloé, — answered the wolf. — By the way, how is it going with your beloved owner? Are you still so sure that his love for you is without any selfish motive?
Cloé didn’t answer right away. Then she said, slowly:
– After hearing your words the other night, something has changed in me. Maybe you’re right Malì. Maybe my owner doesn’t really love me. But tell me, what does a wolf know about men?
– We wolves know a lot about men. We call them “double hearts”, because we know that we cannot trust them. With one hand they’re ready to give you the sweetest caress, but with the other hand they hide a stick ready to hit you.
– And of you wolves, can we trust you? — Cloé replied with a challenging air.
– We are ferocious animals, — answered Malì. — That’s true! But we don’t hide our ferocity and our intentions are always plain: we are of a single heart and one truth!
These words had a strange effect on Cloé. She didn’t feel sad or afraid anymore. A strange warm feeling irradiated from her heart. Nobody before that wolf ever talked to her with such sincerity. Nobody ever before Malì gave her such a precious gift: the truth. She looked at the Moon, that with a pale beauty enlightened the sky, and took courage, and uttered these words:
– If my destiny is to be eaten, then I would rather have a single heart like yours to eat me, than a double heart. Tomorrow morning, when the farmer will come to clean my fence, I will put a little pebble between the door, so it will not close completely. You can come at night, Malì, and you will be able to open it with your paw.
The wolf had a hard time to believe what he heard.
– If I enter the fence, I’ll eat you, Cloé! You know that, — he said. — I cannot resist my wolf’s instinct.
– I know, — Cloé answered. — But now go, goodbye Malì.
Morning came and the sun rose as always on the horizon. It’s golden rays surrounded everything creating a beauty that was almost unreal. The farmer came in, as usual, and with his usual care fluffed up her little bed, poured fresh water in her trough and feed in her bowl.
For a moment Cloé believed that everything that happened in the previous days had been a bad dream. Then, the farmer took her in his hands, looked at her, but this time he didn’t say anything. In the silence of that look, Cloé could hear, with a sinister clarity, a strange sound: “Tum tam! Tum tam! Tum tam! Tum tam!”, like two drums. It was the beat of two hearts! Now she knew, now she had no more doubts!
As soon as the farmer put her on the ground she ran toward the door of the fence. She took a little pebble and placed it between the door. Then, she went back to her little bed and stayed there, still and silent, waiting for the sunset.
She watched the great light retreat behind the mountains and the clouds became an incandescent red. A fresh breeze dried a tear running down her cute little face while the last sun rays gave place to the majestic Moon, ascending higher and higher in the darkening sky. Then, she heard a noise that suddenly brought her back to herself: Malì had not forgotten their agreement, her time was at hand!
Calmly she reached the middle of the fence at the foot of the old stump, thanking life for the beautiful moments given her, and courageously waited. Meanwhile, Malì was hitting with all his strength at the fence door, that at the third attempt burst open. The wolf advanced ferociously towards the duck, his jaws wide open, showing his long teeth, like sharp blades shining in the moonlight. He tensed his muscles ready to spring on his prey.
Malì and Cloé took their last glance at each other, then the wolf sprung off the ground. His jaw opened and closed several times while his claws fended at the air and plunged surely on his prey. Everything lasted only a few seconds. Then silence fell.
Cloé could not understand what had happened. How could she still be alive? All of her nice feathers were still in their place, no doubt. She turned and saw Malì, still panting, trying to catch his breath. With a trembling voice the duck asked:
– What happened Malì? Why am I still alive? Why didn’t you devour me?
The wolf looked at her. His look was tender now and irradiating something different, and inexplicable. He said:
– Before springing I saw in your big eyes the reflection of my beloved Moon, and in just that instant I could see the beauty of your heart singing a truth greater than mine. While I was in the air, I understood that a pure heart is of no value if one isn’t free to chose his truth. So, with all my strength, I deviated my path and vented all my fury on that stump smashing it into pieces. Now I don’t have the desire to eat you anymore. My anger vanished and all I feel is a great peace. Your courage set you free and set me free too.
The moonlight now seemed to envelop the two creatures with its soft white mantle. Their eyes met again and a deep sense of unity emerged in their hearts, as in a sweet prayer. Both had a strange feeling of penetrating more into the other to the point that there was no more wolf or duck, but only the dialogue of two hearts.
Time seemed to stop, then again with a warm voice Malì said:
– Come my beloved Cloé, come with me into the forest. I want to open your sweet eyes to the world, just as you opened mine.
Of Malì and the duck Cloé, no one has ever heard of again. But to this day a few sparrows, that had the privilege of hearing that dialogue, tell the story of a strange wolf and a courageous duck that knew how to share the truth of their hearts and find their true freedom.
For more stories:
Dialogue of two hearts
Six stories that open our minds and hearts, for adults of all ages. The Sea is a deep thought: a little boy with long golden hair asks the immense Sea to tell him the secret of Life. The Wolf and the Duck: an intense and uncommon dialogue between a strange wolf and a courageous duck. Rolfy and the big forest: an adorable little brown bear, lives the discovery of the patterns of life through the eyes of nature and its multiple aspects. The Frog Prince: The meeting of two souls that for love lose themselves in the darkness of the world, and again for love find their way back home. The corner of the eye: a girl, victim of deceit by a moneylender, and a noble knight, put under the judgment of an ancient law. Psychospores: aliens land on the Earth and promise solutions to all of humanity’s problems.