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The little duckling of learning

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The mallard hen I nearly stepped on in the pasture was one of my earliest boyhood memories.

The bird erupted from a clump of dead and dry springtime grass; her flapping wings beating furiously and giving me such a start that I nearly turned and ran in the opposite direction. She quacked loudly and continued to do so as she flew to a nearby wetland and landed with a "plop."

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