100 Pictures of a Duck named Squeaky
I love the musical story, Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, OP.67. All children should experience the music live or recorded. The flute is the bird, the clarinet the cat, the duck is represented by the oboe, the grandfather by the bassoon, the wolf by three horns, Peter is a string quartet, and the rifle a set of kettle drums.
Early on morning, Peter opened the gate and went into the big green meadow. On the branch, sat a little bird, Peter’s friend. “All is well.” Chirped the bird. Soon a duck came waddling along, glad Peter hadn’t closed the gate and went for a swim in the pond.
Seeing the duck, the little bird flew down and said, “What kind of bird are you, if you can’t fly?” The duck said, “What kind of bird are you, if you can’t swim?” They argued, and argued.
Suddenly, something caught Peter’s attention. He noticed a cat crawling in the green grass. The cat thought, “The bird and duck are arguing, I’ll just grab the bird while he is busy.” She crept forward. “Look out!” said Peter. The bird flew up the tree, the duck quacked in anger at the cat from the middle of the pond.
Just then, Peter’s grandfather came out of the house. He was upset because Peter had gone in the meadow without his permission. “The meadow is a dangerous place!” But Peter paid no attention to his grandfather’s words. Boys like Peter are not afraid of wolves. Grandfather took Peter by the hand, locked the gate and led him home.
No sooner had Peter gone back into his house, that a big gray wolf came out of the forest. In a second, the cat climbed up the tree. The duck quacked, and leapt out of the pond. But no matter how had the duck tried to run, she just couldn’t outrun the wolf. He was getting closer and closer and catching up with her! Then he grabbed her with his teeth and with on gulp, swallowed her.
And now, this is how things stood: the cat was sitting on one branch, the bird on another, not too close to the cat. And the wolf walked around and around the tree, looking at the cat and the bird with very hungry eyes. In the meantime, Peter, without the slightest fear, stood behind the closed gate and watched everything that was happening. He got a strong rope, and climbed up the fence that separated his yard from the meadow. One of the branches of the tree around which the wolf was walking stretched out way beyond into Peter’s yard. Grabbing hold of the branch,Peter carefully, and quietly climbed onto the tree. Peter said to the bird, “Fly down and circle over the wolf’s head. Try to distract him. But, be careful that he doesn’t catch you.” The bird flew around the wolf and almost touched the wolf’s head with his wings while the wolf snapped angrily at him with his jaws, from this side and that.
Oh, how the bird annoyed the wolf, how he wanted to catch him! But the bird was clever and very quick, and the wolf simply couldn’t do anything about it. Meanwhile, Peter made a lasso with the rope and carefully let it down from the tree, catching the wolf by the tail. The wolf began to jump wildly trying to get loose, and the wolf’s jumping only made the rope around his tail tighter. Just then, two hunters came out of the woods, following the wolf’s trail and shooting their guns as they went.
Peter, sitting in the tree, said, “Don’t shoot! Birdie and I have caught the wolf.” Then came the triumphant procession, “My what has been caught? A giant wolf!” And perhaps, if you listen very carefully, you will hear the duck quacking inside the wolf, because in his hurry to eat the duck, he had swallowed her alive.