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The Mystery of the Missing Duck

By: Gus M.
California, Age 9

One day, I was looking for my Mallard duck down by our pond. I was going to feed it some bread because it was winter time. In the winter, there isn't as much food for ducks to find on their own. By the way, my name is Tom and I live out in the country. When I went down to the pond I couldn't find the duck. I went back up to the house to call my best friend for help.John is in my third grade class. He also lives next door. I explained why I needed help so we decided to meet on the road, near the pond.

'Hi, Tom,' said John.

'Hey, I'm glad you could help me find my duck,' said Tom. 'I wanted you to help me find some clues down by the pond.'

As we went down to the pond we found a feather that was colored just like the Mallard duck. We also found some wet mud with duck prints. The prints were far apart. This means that the duck was in a hurry.

'The duck may be gone because I heard a lot of noises last night. It sounded like coyotes,' said John.

'Joe's dad also told me about a mountain lion that has been killing livestock in the area,' said Tom. 'Let's go to Joe's house and ask him if he saw or heard anything last night.'

Joe lives down the hill with his mom and dad. The Henry's have been our neighbors for three years. Joe is not my best friend, because he is only in first grade. But sometimes he can help.

'Hi Joe,' said Tom. 'I wanted to know if you could help us find my duck?'

'We found a feather and some footprints,' said John. 'Maybe the duck has come down to your pond. Can we look?'

Joe asked his dad if he could go toward the forest where their pond is. Their property is about 5 acres of forest with a huge pond in the middle.

When they were by the pond, they noticed a tree with sticks and feathers under it. Tom said, 'It looks like the feather we have right now.'

'Let's go look around to see if the duck is there,' said Joe.

To their surprise, they see the Mallard duck with a friend. They walked over to look at the nest, under the tree. The nest had 7 eggs in it.

We decided to leave the eggs alone. We left some food for them.


Author's comments

Gus, your story is well researched, which made it very interesting. You included a great deal of information about ducks, their natural enemies, and the way they live; and this makes your mystery intriguing and believable.

People interested in writing are often told, 'Write about what you know.' This is good advice, but sometimes we want to write about a job or animal or situation we don't know well. That's where research comes in.

You've written a very good story. Congratulations.