Life in the Jungle – Chapter Six – Doris the Consistently Caring Duck

A friend requested a story to fit her book of illustrations. The illustrations will follow in due course. It is a story with seven chapters (seven illustrations, that is) and the story starts here. In the meantime, I have sketched my impression of Doris (see below).

Doris the Consistently Caring Duck

Doris the Consistently Caring Duck


Doris the Duck was all about caring. There were many who cared about others, but Doris did it consistently, carefully and conscientiously. You could always rely on Doris to be there when you needed her. Doris would care above and beyond the call of duty.

She certainly did when it came to caring for Maurice the Fun-Loving Monkey.

Maurice had fallen out of a tree after his swing had broken. His friends had done all they could to make sure he was taken swiftly to be taken care of by Doris. They knew she would know just how to nurse her new patient.

It turned out that Maurice was a patient who would test anyone’s patience.

At first, Maurice wasn’t aware that he was a patient. His head was still fuzzy from the fall and he had drifted off to sleep while Lucy and Lynette the Lamenting Lyre Birds had sung their beautiful song.

While he was sleeping, Doris carefully washed the mud off Maurice (for he had fallen into a muddy puddle underneath the tree). Then she plucked the leaves from his fur (for he had fallen past several branches on his way down). She removed the splinters from his hands (for he had made the swing himself) and she laid him gently on a bed of fresh leaves and soft grass.

This took Doris quite some time. Having wings, not hands or paws, made things a little trickier. But Doris was up for a challenge!

When Maurice woke up, things got a little more challenging.

‘Nurse!’ cried Maurice.

‘Yes, Maurice?’ replied Doris.

‘I’m thirsty!’

Doris hurried to the pond and brought some lovely cool water back for Maurice to drink.


‘Yes, Maurice?’

‘I’m hungry!

‘I’ll fetch you something to eat,’ said Doris.

‘No, don’t leave me! I’ll be lonely! Oh, so lonely! So, so lonely!’

What was Doris to do? She couldn’t find food and keep Maurice company.

She soon came up with a solution. Doris was good at problem-solving. In her spare time she’d been taking crisis-calming classes taught by Frank the Rapid-Fire Response Frog.

She called Bernard and Barry the Data-Collecting Bears. They were willing to help and knew just the right places to find food. They had very good taste in food and Doris had every confidence that they’d come back with just the right thing.

While they searched for food that was both nutritious and made from the finest ingredients, Doris sat with her lovely soft wing around Maurice’s shoulders. Maurice was very happy. At least for a little while. Then,


‘No need to shout, Maurice. I’m right here.’

‘But I’m bored! B-O-R-E-D! Bored, I tell you! This being a patient is no fun whatsoever!’

Doris managed not to take this personally. She smiled patiently, then suggested that perhaps Lucy and Lynette might sing a song to Maurice to cheer him up. Maurice thought that was a lovely idea. Lucy and Lynette were only too happy to help. They sang some happy songs as they flew around above Maurice. Maurice felt very happy indeed. Then,


‘What is it now, Maurice?’

‘I feel like nobody really cares about me being a patient, lying here all sick and sad and hungry’ (for he had quickly forgotten about the birds’ songs and the bears’ gourmet sandwiches).

Doris was relieved to see, at that very moment, Gordon the Complicated Giraffe coming to deliver a ‘Get Well’ card to Maurice. She knew for a fact that Gordon’s cards were always beautifully written and that it would make Maurice feel very special. Gordon’s card was beautiful and Maurice felt very special. For a little while. Then,


‘WHAT!’ Doris quacked.

Maurice was startled! Doris was always so patient with her patients. He started to cry.

Doris felt awful! She hated it when this happened. She had tried so hard to be patient and caring but she had got tired. Her wing hurt from holding Maurice. Her feathers were all muddy from all the waddling back and forth to care for him. She was hungry, too. Bernard and Barry had thoughtfully brought her an extra sandwich, but Maurice had liked the look of hers and she’d offered it to him instead.

All that pressure and she’d quacked! Doris felt awful! She waddled very quickly to the pond, swam out into the deepest part, ducked her head under the water and her tail in the air and she let out a great big ‘QUACK!!!!’ under the water.

Doris Quacks!

Doris Quacks!

No one heard her, of course. She didn’t want anyone to see how tired and overwhelmed she was. She felt much calmer with her head under the water, but soon she had to come back up for air.

When she finally came up for air, what she saw was not good! Things had turned very bad, very quickly.

Bernard and Barry were exhausted from running around finding more and more food. Their furry brows were furrowed – and when Bernard and Barry’s brows were furrowed, you knew they were not doing well at all.

Gordon was crying behind the tree because he’d started thinking about how he hardly ever got cards when he wasn’t feeling great.

Lucy and Lynette were tired from flying and singing endlessly to keep Maurice amused.

And Maurice? He was lying flat on his back crying and occasionally calling out ‘Nurse! Nurse! I have no nurse!’

Doris stuck her head back under the water and waited.

She knew He would come. It was times like these, when everyone was at the end of themselves, that He always came. She waited and trusted that He’d come again.

It was times like these that they all needed the King of the Jungle.


Tune in for the next chapter when the King of the Jungle will hopefully arrive. Will he be scary or kind?

Please feel free to leave questions, suggested changes, critique about the feasibility of the story, or other editorial comments below. This is a work in progress.



Life in the Jungle – Chapter One – Gordon the Complicated Giraffe

A friend requested a story to fit her book of illustrations. The illustrations will follow in due course. It is a story with seven chapters (seven illustrations, that is). In the meantime, I have sketched my impression of Gordon (see below).

This chapter was written while dining in the elegant, warmly-welcoming Lock’s Brasserie. I dined there through the generosity of my parents who wished me a restful and happy holiday.

My artistic 'impression' of Gordon

My artistic ‘impression’ of Gordon

Gordon was a complicated giraffe.

He used to like to think he was, but recently his friends had been telling him he was ‘complicated’, saying it in a manner which suggested this wasn’t such a good thing.

Being complicated meant that Gordon did a lot of thinking. He thought a lot. He thought and thought and then – he thought some more. Sometimes he thought so much that his head began to hurt, just a little bit.

He didn’t just think about one thing and then move onto thinking about another thing. As he thought about one thing, another thing would pop into this head and he’d think about those two things together. He’d notice patterns and connections between those two things. Then sometimes he’d think of a third thing! The patterns and connections would make him feel happy, amazed and confused all at the same time.

Gordon had a friend who was very clever. He knew a lot about trees. He actually knew a lot about everything but especially liked to talk about trees. Gordon’s friend could tell, just by looking at a tree, what type of tree it was. He even knew the names of the trees. He could look at an oak tree and say ‘Gordon, my friend, that there is an quercus robur.’ Gordon simply thought it was ‘lovely’.

Gordon didn’t really notice trees that much. He knew that a tree was a tree and not, say, a lamppost. He knew that trees had leaves that were good to eat. There was one tree that had leaves that tasted a little bitter and he knew to avoid that tree. Otherwise  he didn’t know much about trees at all.

He thought about trees though. He thought about them a lot. One of his favourite things to do was to start thinking about trees, then think about their leaves and how, at certain times of the year, in some parts of the world, the leaves would change colour and then fall off the trees.

His friend, who was very clever, could tell you all about why the leaves changed colour and what made them fall off and what caused the new leaves to grow in Spring. He had already told Gordon all about it, but Gordon couldn’t remember what his friend had said. It was all very detailed and scientific.

Gordon didn’t know very much about trees but he did like to think about them.

He loved thinking about those special trees in other parts of the world – how, during the summer, they would have lots of green leaves when the weather was warm and the sun was shining. Gordon thought it was wonderful that just when you might want some shade to rest from the sun’s heat, there were leaves to give you shade!

Then, when the air got colder and the sun didn’t shine as much and when you wanted to feel as much of the sun’s warmth as you possibly could – well, then, the leaves would have fallen from the trees! There was no shade any more – but you didn’t want shade anymore!

It was amazing!

Sometimes, Gordon would even start thinking about who it was that might have thought of all the trees in the first place. Whoever made the trees – and the special leaves that fell off and grew back with perfect timing – must have been very clever! Even more clever than Gordon’s friend. He must have been very kind too.

Gordon did get tired sometimes from thinking too much.

Though he never got tired of thinking about the trees and the leaves and the sun and the shade and the clever, kind maker of the trees.

He never got tired of that!

He did, however, just occasionally, get a little tired of hearing the endless chatter of his neighbour, Maurice the Monkey.

Tune in for the next chapter when Maurice the Monkey and his slightly troublesome relationship with Gordon the Giraffe will be further explored. Please feel free to leave questions, suggested changes, critique about the feasibility of the story, or other editorial comments below. This is a work in progress.