The Birds dispersed after the secret meeting at midnight. Their plan to escape the zoo was taking shape. Owl had planned every detail. Freedom was a month away.
‘Party-time!’ quaked Duck, digging into some chips and chocolate.
‘What is this?’ asked Kingfisher, peering into the packet of chips. ‘I haven’t seen anything like this before!’
‘Chips!’ smiled Duck, slurping some Cola. ‘You don’t know what you’re missing!’
‘That doesn’t look like food to me!’ shrieked Parrot. ‘Why not celebrate with nuts?’ she asked, offering some she had stashed away.
‘I have some delicious fish!’ Kingfisher announced.
‘Trr Trr’ Babbler flew in. ‘Here…some chana from the little boy who visits daily.’
‘Yuck!’ shrieked Duck. ‘You can eat your boring chana! And nuts and fish! I have more exciting things to eat!’ she said, pushing away their offerings.
The Birds enjoyed their midnight feast, dreaming of their flight into freedom.
A month passed and the day of escape arrived. The sun set and the last visitors exited the zoo. The zookeepers locked up the enclosures and made their way out. Signalling to them all, Owl led the forward march toward the southern wall where Owl and Kite, had worked very hard over several months, to tear a small hole into the wire-mesh wall.
One by one, the Birds emerged from the caged enclosure. Kingfisher Babbler Parrot and all. They flew out into freedom. Entering a whole new world where no cages bound them.
‘We’re free!’ they all danced, thanking Kite and Owl.
‘Wait! Duck isn’t out yet!’ hooted Owl, as he encouraged Duck to press himself through the little opening.
‘I’m too large for this!’ Duck rued, as he struggled to squeeze through.
‘I told you not to drink those colas and eat those chips!’ muttered Parrot. ‘Now look how huge you have become!’
Duck nodded. ‘I’m stuck now!’ he cried. ‘Please help me! I promise I will never have chips and colas again!’
The Birds felt sorry for Duck. ‘Wait! I have an idea!’ chirped Babbler. ‘Maybe that boy who feeds me chana everyday can help!’
The Birds flew to the home of the little boy across the street and created a din to wake him up. They led the boy to the wall of the enclosure and he understood the problem immediately. Tugging at the wire-mesh, the boy made more space for Duck to hop out.
A cheer went across as the Birds danced around Duck, as he hobbled out of the zoo, in relief.
Deeply grateful, Duck made a vow to eat nothing other than his food again. The sight of chips and cola reminded him only of the dreadful life he had left behind. A life trapped in a cage.
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