Once upon a time there was a duck.

The duck sparkled with sapphire blue feathers. Its emerald-green bill and feet shone in the moonlight and dazzled in the sun. Instead of quacking, its call sounded like the trilling of a flute.

There resided a king in a land many leagues from the land where the duck lived. Nevertheless, he heard of the duck and, being a collector of oddities, wished to own it. Therefore he promised his daughter’s hand in marriage to the man who could bring him the duck.

And so it happened that 10,000 young men left the kingdom to seek the duck. These men all worked and supported the economy. Accordingly, upon their leaving, the kingdom plunged into a recession of the severest kind and those left behind suffered greatly.

As for the young men, because they all went in one direction, the neighboring kingdoms took them for an invading army and sent out their soldiers to fight them. Hence, the young men, unarmed, fought their way through kingdom after kingdom until 9,999 of them died in battle. The one remaining fell in love with the daughter of the owner of the duck and stayed with her in her own country.

But one young man remained in the foolish king’s kingdom. A lowly servant, who stayed behind to woo the princess while all the other young men sought the duck. The king’s daughter fell in love with the servant and, knowing of her father’s plan to wed her to the winner of the duck, eloped with the servant and disappeared among the peasantry of another land. And so the king died without an heir and the kingdom was made subject to the owner of the duck.

Mosaic duck

This is NOT the duck.