Mother Goose

The first time I heard it, I thought I must be mistaken. What would a duck be doing in the middle of a city? It’s not as if we have room for ponds. In truth, our ‘gardens’ are no more than yards at the back, and the houses front straight onto the street.

But over the next week, I heard it again and again. Not exactly a quack, more of a hoot. ‘Let it go,’ I told myself. ‘The city is full of unexplained mysteries and strange noises.’ But I couldn’t. I had to know, so I decided to investigate further.

In the past few weeks I’d gained new neighbours on both sides. The old lady to my right seemed to be in most of the time, so that seemed a good place to start, although I wasn’t expecting to learn anything.

As I knocked, though, I heard the sound again, louder, and it definitely seemed to be coming from inside. I waited with baited breath to see if she would answer, but almost immediately the door popped open and a tiny figure appeared in the doorway.

‘I’ve been expecting you,’ she said. Well, I certainly wasn’t expecting her to say that! She must have seen my expression, because she added ‘Come in, come in.’

I don’t know what I expected to see, but there, in the middle of a kitchen that otherwise had nothing to distinguish it from the rest of the street, was a large white bird. ‘Can I introduce you to my goose,’ the old lady said.


They’re all gone now. Frida first, a few weeks later. No one saw her leave, but we all saw the goose, flying north. Some thought she had a passenger, but of course, that’s not possible.

Before Frida left, there was a knock at the door, but when I opened it there was just a box on the step. A box that moved. And made a noise.

The following year, it was just me again. Though things are still very different, and always will be. I don’t worry about the heating any more, or miss meals. She only laid once before she left. A virgin egg, this time. And it was enough.

© Ju Gosling aka ju90 2016

Written in Penny Pepper’s Magical Realism writing workshop at the Together! 2016 Disability History Month Festival