Tut and Cleopatra, the two African geese were always together. They considered themselves the most regal and elegant of all the zoofolk. Slender bodied and gray backs, their necks and chests were white as snow. Their black beaks could have been made of buffed leather. Tut sported a large leathery hump on the top edge of his beak between his eyes like a crown. Cleopatra’s hump was a bit smaller. Although their markings were similar to Sweetie’s she was much more heavy bodied.
Tut and Cleopatra loved to stroll down the sidewalk by the edge of the pond. They stretched their necks full length and their beaks stuck straight up in the air as they waggled their tail feathers. They paraded past the pond, past the picnic area, and past the feeding station where an assortment of ducks were gobbling corn. They came to a halt at the steps of the office porch.
“There’s that ridiculous Sweetie,” muttered Cleopatra.
“Yes, I wonder what all the fuss is about,” whispered Tut.
“I have no idea.” Cleopatra sniffed, “Whatever is she doing on Mr. Dingsnapple’s porch?” The two geese twisted their necks ever so slightly to watch Sweetie.
“My Pet,” Tut turned to his wife, “she is sobbing. Do you suppose we should ask the silly creature what ever is the matter?”
Cleopatra eyed Sweetie. If Cleopatra could have curled her lip in disgust, she would have. “I don’t know, My Love. Do you suppose we should be seen talking to the likes of her?”
Tut ruffled his feathers, but the potential gossip was too enticing to miss. “Hmmm, that is a good point. But My Pet, however shall we find out what the silly thing is so upset about?"
Sweetie turned to watch them. She wondered whether or not to trust them. They had not been very nice to her in the past. But then again, Cleopatra was a goose. She would understand.
“Hmmm, too true, My Love. But I can’t address the silly creature.” Cleopatra thrust her beak higher in the air. “You do it.”
“Ahem, well, as you wish, My Pet.” Tut turned to Sweetie. “I say, you there, Goose. Whatever are you doing on Mr. Dingsnapple’s porch?”
Sweetie’s heart leaped. Maybe they would help her. “My eggs, Mr. Dingsnapple has taken my eggs. If I don’t get them back soon, they will never hatch. He says he’s going to blow them! Please, can you help me?”
Tut raised his eyebrows and turned to Cleopatra. “My Pet, this” and he hesitated with a sneer, “creature says Mr. Dingsnapple has taken her eggs.”
Cleopatra’s eyes widened. “Her eggs? She is fussing over a few eggs?” Cleopatra turned to Sweetie. “You there, Goose! Just forget about those worthless eggs. You’ll never get them back.”
“Worthless!” Sweetie was outraged. She dropped here head and hissed, “My eggs are NOT worthless!”
Cleopatra hurriedly stepped back and rolled her eyes. “Oh really!” she exclaimed, “You should try to be more like me. You don’t see me worrying over my eggs when Mr. Dingsnapple takes them, do you?” She waggled her tail. “Dignity, it’s all a matter of dignity!”
“Yes,” Tut added, “you really should try to be more like Cleopatra. Dignity is in order here.”
“Yes,” Cleopatra ruffled her feathers. “That’s what you need. Dignity.”
“But I don’t care about dignity!” cried Sweetie. “My babies, I want to hatch my babies. That’s all I want.”
“Babies!” The feathers on Cleopatra’s head and neck stuck straight out. She snorted. “Whatever for?”
Sweetie’s eyes grew wide as she stepped back in shock. She was speechless.
Cleopatra turned to Tut. “The silly thing says she wants babies. And she doesn’t care about dignity.”
“Doesn’t care about dignity?” Tut sputtered. “How on earth can she not care about dignity?” He turned to Sweetie. “Now see here, you ridiculous creature. Dignity is the most important thing in the world. How can you possibly care about anything else?”
Outraged, Sweetie responded, “I don’t care what you say!” Sweetie’s head feathers rose almost to a crest. “How could you not care about your eggs? I’ve got to make Mr. Dingsnapple understand!” She pivoted back to the door and pecked harder.
“Now see here,” ordered Tut. “Stop that at once.”
She whirled back on them. “You don’t understand. I’ve just got to make him give them back. I’ve got to have my babies.” She softened. “Don’t you see? I need them to love and care for. They’re my only love.” She returned to the door and continued pecking.