Read STORY VI - JIMMIE AS A FLYING MACHINE of Lulu‚ Alice and Jimmie Wibblewobble, free online book, by Howard R. Garis, on ReadCentral.com.

One day, I think it must have been about three-and-a-half-quacks past cornmeal time, there was a great commotion in the yard, and around the pond where Jimmie Wibblewobble and his two sisters and his papa and mamma lived.  There was a great fluttering in the air, and something, colored in beautiful tints, flew down and settled on the water with a little splash.

“My goodness, what is that?” asked Alice Wibblewobble, who was easily frightened.  At first no one knew, for, though the creature was shaped just like a duck, it was not colored like any duck Jimmie had even seen.  It was gold and bronze and green, with little patches of red and blue here and there, and was a most beautiful creature.

“Maybe that is a fairy,” suggested Lulu, who sometimes read fairy stories.

“Oh, if it only might be one, and could tell me where the fairy prince is!” exclaimed Alice, with a sigh.

“Nonsense!” cried Jimmie, who was just going off to see his friend Bully, the frog.  “Stuff and nonsense!”

“That’s what I say, too,” called out the strange creature.  “Nonsense!  I’m not a fairy at all.  I’m a duck like yourselves, only I am a wild duck.”  Then its wings beat the air and water, and the wild duck arose and flew right over the pond and back again, as quickly as could be.

“My goodness!  How do you do that?” asked Jimmie, who never could fly more than a few feet.

“Why,” answered the wild duck, “I just did it, that’s all.”

“Snippery, snappery snails!” cried Jimmie, “you’re just like a flying machine that my papa read about in the paper.”

“Well, somewhat like one, perhaps,” admitted the wild duck.  “I can fly a long distance.  Did you ever try?”

“No,” answered Jimmie; “I never did.”

“Perhaps you would like to try now,” suggested the other.  “I will stay here a little while, and show you.  It is very easy.  You can just as well become a flying machine as not.  Come, I will fly up on the fence.  You come up here, too, and when I say ‘Go!’ why start off, and, who knows? perhaps you will do as well as I. Don’t be afraid.”

“Of course, I’ll try,” said Jimmie, very bravely, for he was always wanting to try new things.

“So will I,” cried Lulu.  “I want to fly, too.”

“Oh, you had better be careful,” warned Alice, who was a very cautious duckling, never getting into danger if she could help it.

“Oh, we’ll be careful, but we are going to become flying machines just the same,” said Jimmie.

So the wild duck flew up on the fence, which was at one edge of the pond, and, oh, how beautiful he looked with the sun shining on his finely colored feathers.  Jimmie had quite a struggle to get on the top rail of the fence, and so did Lulu, but they finally managed it, and, just as they stood beside the wild duck, who should come along but Grandfather Goosey-Gander.  He asked the two Wibblewobble children what they were going to do, and when Jimmie said they were going to learn to become flying machines, the old duck said, “Humph!” just as quickly as he could.

“If you had such hard work getting to the top of the fence, how do you think you can fly across the pond?” he asked, and then he sneezed three times, for he was catching cold.

“Oh, we will do it,” answered Jimmie, for, of course, you see, he really thought he could.

But something is going to happen, just as sure as you can add up two and three and make five out of them.

“Are you all ready?” asked the wild duck of Jimmie and Lulu, as they stood beside him, balanced on the fence rail.

“Yes,” replied Jimmie, trying to stop his heart from beating so rapidly, “we are ready, Mr. Wild Duck.  You fly and we will fly also.”

“Watch me carefully,” said the beautiful creature, “and do exactly as I do.”

They were just about to fly, when the old rooster, who had been picking up corn down the road, come running up.

“Hold on!” he cried, “I can fly as good as that wild duck!  Wait for me and we will have a race!”

So they waited until the old rooster got up on the fence rail, too.  Then the wild duck counted:  “One to begin with, two for a show, three to make ready and four to go!”

Then he flapped his wings, gave a loud “squawk-squawk” and sailed over that pond as nice as you please.

Well, of course, I’ve got to tell exactly what happened, or it wouldn’t be fair.  Jimmie tried to fly, but I wish you could have seen him.  He only went a little way, and then, because his body was too heavy for his wings, or because his wings were too light for his body, he came flopping right down to the ground, ker-thump, and he hurt his nose considerably, let me tell you, for considerably is quite a lot.

Well, poor Lulu, if she didn’t fall, too!  Yes, sir, she turned a somersault right in the air, before all those watching ducks, and she, too, came down ker-flimmax-ker-flump, and she hurt her left-hand wing.  Then she cried once, “Boo-hoo!” just like that.  Then she stopped.

Jimmie didn’t cry at all, if you’ll believe me, no, sir, not a mite, but he felt badly all the same.  And then that rooster!  Oh, dear me, how foolish some roosters are, anyhow, now aren’t they, really?  Well, he started off all right, but just then the wind got in the wrong place, and it turned him upside down.  Now, no rooster can fly upside down, no matter what else he can do, so that one came flippity-flop down into the water ker-splash-ker-sposh; and one more besides!  Maybe he didn’t feel mortified!

But that wild duck!  Oh, my, goodness me!  How he did fly.  Around and around, and around that pond he went, never touching the water once.  Then he came to where Jimmie and Lulu were, and he told them how sorry he felt for them, before he flew away to a far, far distant land, where only wild ducks live.  Then Grandfather Goosey-Gander went up to those two Wibblewobble children, and so did Alice, to lend Lulu her handkerchief.  And Grandfather Goosey said:  “It is better for tame ducks to stay on the water, or on land.  They were not made for flying.”  So that was the end of Jimmie trying to become an air ship.  To-morrow night you may hear about Lulu and the gold fish, that is if the lemon squeezer doesn’t pinch me.