Patchwork Platypus

By Susan Westley

One morning, Adina, a little platypus, planted herself on the Australian riverbank and looked into the river below. The water swirled around her webbed feet as the image of her face bobbed and bounced on the ripples. A tear fell from her eye. It wound its way down her leathery bill and plopped into the water.

“Look at me, I feel like a patchwork quilt,” she said to the caterpillar crawling on the log nearby. “I have a duck’s bill, a beaver’s tail and feet like an otter. I even have fur like a bear. Why can’t I be beautiful like the other animals?”

In a nearby cypress tree Kirra Magpie’s warbling tickled Adina’s ear.

“Good morning, Kirra,” Adina said.

Kirra smiled and kept on singing.

“Your beak is small and delicate. I wish I had a beak like yours, Kirra.” Adina opened her mouth to sing, but a soft growling sound came out instead.

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