Lilly, instead, was hanging around out of the water: at the small lake he felt more at ease shuffling around the park. He made friends with the many children who wanted to come close to him, full of curiosity.
Lorely was floating on the water: unlike the big Lake Garda, silent and motionless, the little Lake with his constant huffs and puffs was making her life less dull, and the gentle rolling was even soothing her headache.
Zizzy the fly was sunbathing lying on Lorely’s back: when the duck was away she had to fly all the time and she felt more exhausted than ever!
Lally, believe it or not, was busy exchanging tips and secrets with her two new friends, Roselle and Rosette. Yes, the two roses! After letting go of her passion for singing she had discovered that fashion was her true talent and the two roses were undisputed experts in accessories and style!
And then there was the Lake, embracing them all, again, with his waters:
“Huff… Puff… NOW I truly like this story!”
From above, Cindy’s Travels dashed around before landing where the ants were lined up waiting for her.
Everything was back to normal.
But then, as it often happens when everything is perfect,… a voice from the background broke into that peaceful moment:
“Leo, wake up, Leo… wake up, it’s morning already!”
And Lorely, her ducklings, the fly, the little fat fish, the dragonfly and all the ants seemed to fade away, blur, lose colour, disappear… smaller and smaller, fainter and fainter: gone.
“Come on Leo, get up, we’re going to the great Lake Garda today, hurry up, or we’ll be late!”
“Where is Lorely, Mom?” asked the little boy, opening his eyes.
“Lorely? Who is Lorely, sweetheart?”
“Lorely the duck, she lives one step from here, on the lake shore, with her three ducklings: Lilly, Lolly and Lally!”
“I don’t know Leo, there are many ducks living in that little pond…”
“Yes, but I must find Lorely!”
The child dressed up quickly and ran in search of his favourite duck. They had become friends, now.
The trees bent their branches on the Lake. The story is over, but life at the small lake at Du Lac and Du Parc goes on…
“Well, my dear ducklings, you’ve been really good!
But after this long story, to tell you the truth, I’m a little tired:
“Huff.. Puff… goodnight everybody!”
Illustrations of Chiara Tomati
“Excuse me” said Lorely, shyly approaching them, “I’m sorry to bother you, but I need your help. I understand you don’t know me, and you don’t know who I am, so you must be wondering why, why, I …”
“Shush!. Just tell me,” said the swan silencing her “what do you need exactly?”.
“I’m desperate, Mr. Chon, desperate. My son Lilly, the most fearful of my ducklings, the very skinny one, who cannot even stand in the wind and hates water, yes, water, he has disappeared. This morning he went for his usual walk on the lake shore, but never came back. And I know, I know, I can feel it: he must be in trouble.”
“Now, calm down, madam …”
“Lorely, Lorely the duck.”
“Calm down Lorely the duck, Lake Garda is very big, that’s for sure, but it has never swallowed anyone: we will find him. We need to get organised, though! This has to be a team’s job, and together we’ll succeed.”
And immediately Chon the swan went and called his brothers, his mother, and all the other swans of the lake to take part in the search for the unlucky Lilly.
Just like a fleet of ships getting ready for a storm, they lined up in a compact formation. And next to them in line were the ducks. They all wore yellow and orange safety caps and hovered on the water surface. Lilly would soon return home.
They began to patrol the lake, far and wide, underwater and on the surface.
Lolly led the rescuing team from bottom, along with other diver swans and ducks. And when all hope seemed to be lost, they finally spotted him!
Lolly immediately popped out of the water and yelled: “I saw him, I saw him, I found him, Lilly is here! Hurry! Let’s go!”.
Everyone rushed in and yes, it was him, Lilly: more ruffled than ever. But after all, those untidy feathers looked cute on him.
They quickly took him out of the water and dragged him on land, to his safe place. Lilly quickly regained his breath and, scared to death, warmly greeted Mummy Lorely and his siblings.
“Oh my dear son” said the duck “what a fright you gave me! Never get away again”.
The ducks thanked the swans, with whom by then had made friends.
That evening, to celebrate Lilly’s rescue, they decided to throw a dance party, where Lally could finally see one of her greatest dreams (after becoming a star, of course) come true:
Chon the swan had finally noticed her, and invited her to dance. That evening, the swan and the duck were inseparable. An amazing duet, just as Lally had imagined it in her daydream the first time she saw Chon; a show made of dance steps and top notes from Lally, the future singer. The duck girl was madly in love and did not want to leave: “I will come back soon to see you” she promised waving her wing to the shiny white swan.
Their holiday, in fact, was over, and the next day the ducks would be gone…
That was not their home.
That simply was not their Lake.
Illustrations of Chiara Tomati
“Lilly, Lilly, why are you shaking like a leaf?” said his sister when she found him all alone in a corner.
“Eek Eek… I’m scared Lally!” said the duckling, “a totally new place, so big, eek… eek…”.
“Come on Lilly” said his duckling sister to comfort him, “I’m sure you’ll love it. Who doesn’t love the great Lake Garda? ”. Lally looked at him with her most charming look.
“Well, I don’t, for example! What if I get lost?”
Lilly, not at all convinced about the journey, had started to mumble.
Their mother called them: “Are we all ready?”.
“More than ready!” replied Lally, dragging her little brother.
“Ok, only Lolly is missing. Lolly? Lolly? I’m sure he’s underwater, as usual…”
“I’m here, Mom. I’m sorry but I was catching up on energy for the trip.”
“You mean eating, right?”
“Well, of course, who knows if there… oh mummy, what if I were no longer able to feed myself?”
“Lolly, my dear duckling, how can you come up with such ideas?”
“And what if the lake is too big? So big that I can’t stay underwater that long?” “You would simply eat less, Lolly, which would just do you good! Come on, let’s go! The ants are waiting for us. Say goodbye to the Lake.”
“Bye Bye Lake, goodbye Lake!” chorused the ducks.
And the Lake replied, spluttering:
“Gurgle gurgle.. I don’t like this!”
“Go now, my beloved ducks, we’ll miss you here!”
“I don’t think so!” said a voice in the background. It was Rosette the rose, much relieved, who sighed “We’ll no longer risk to be cut off and used as accessories: Lally is leaving…”
Overjoyed, the two roses intertwined to hug each other, and so did the tulips and all the other flowers: at last they no longer had to hold their breath, trying to spread as little scent as possible not be chosen by Lally.
The air suddenly filled with floral scent. It was a feast of colours and scents.
The duckling party, led by the army of ants, set off for their journey. The troop of little animals did certainly not go unnoticed when they crossed the park. All the guests turned around and looked at them.
Before leaving the gate behind, Lorely turned back one last time. She realised that, caught by the excitement of their departure, she had not said goodbye to her Lake. So she ran back, really fast, and trotted to the shore, panting.
The Lake stood still and silent.
“Lake, oh Lake, I too wanted to say goodbye before leaving…” said Lorely.
The languid eyes of the lake surfaced to look at the duck. His mouth had a sad expression and did not utter a single word.
Lorely the duck lowered her head and remained silent too, stroking the water surface with her feathers.
The trees bent their branches on the two characters. The curtain closes. But it will reopen soon. In a new scenario…
Illustrations of Chiara Tomati
A multitude of weeds, plants, and fish live in my body. Nino the little fat fish is one of them and he’s so fat that you can hardly see his eyes. This is precisely why he is the dream-snack of Lolly the duck, who is always after him! Lucky Nino, I’m always there to make Lolly jump out of the water. Always.”
And while the Lake was introducing himself, Lolly kept diving in and out in search for food…
“Lolly, what are you doing?” asked his mother.
“Wait! I’m almost there… got it!”
“But who, Nino?”
“Nah, Nino is too difficult to catch. He’s such a fast swimmer! As soon as I think I’ve spotted him, he’s already gone. If he were not so fat, one would probably not even see his shadow dashing around in the water! But one of these days…”
“One of these days what?” admonished the Lake.
“One day I’ll manage to catch him!”
Meanwhile, Nino the little fat fish was underwater and heard everything, and started to think about a plan: “If I go through here, he’ll catch me. If I go through there, he’ll catch me too. Argh, I’m in big trouble!”.
There he was, at the bottom of the lake, trying to think of a way out, when another fish arrived and interrupted him.
“What are you doing?” asked the fish.
“I’m trying to find a solution” Nino said. Lolly and I can no longer live in the same lake: that duck won’t give up, he’s always lurking and trying to catch me! I have just heard him say to Lorely, his mum, that I’ve become his personal challenge, and that sooner or later he’ll have me! I have no choice, I have to leave, I only need to find the safest route, not to be caught while trying to escape.”
“You’re wrong” said the other fish. “There’s always a solution, and it’s almost never to run away. You should stay, instead. I’ll show you what to do.”
“But, but…” stammered Nino.
“Trust me!” said the fish. “Let’s meet here tomorrow morning, I’ll take you to an enchanted place.”
The next day the fish passed near the rock where Nino the little fat fish was taking refuge and took him to the house of Rose the salamander, the sorceress of the invisible.
“There you’ll find a magic mix that, when you take it, makes you become transparent, so transparent that Lolly won’t be able to see you even with his diving mask!”
When they arrived at the house of Rose the salamander, she stretched her short legs to reach out and give Nino a carved stone with a concoction of weeds, salt and other secret ingredients in it.
“Drink it!” she said “You’ll soon begin to lose your colour, and then you’ll always want this!”.
Nino held the stone with his fins and started to sip the magic mixture. As he sipped, his colour slowly faded away, from his head to his tail, and when he had finished it, one could hardly spot his shape.
“Yes! It worked again!” said the sorceress, proud of her preparation. “Now go!” she said. “You are a little fish free to splash around your Lake without fear. When you need me, you’ll know where you can find me.”
Nino was so happy that he was shaking his tail left and right.
The following days Nino had great fun testing his invisibility: he swam just in front of Lolly and his bespectacled eyes, who, as if by magic, could not even feel his presence, to the point that he started to doubt about Nino’s existence!
Illustrations of Chiara Tomati
“What is it? Lake, can you hear that too? Asked Lorely knocking with her wing on the water surface.
“What, Lorely?” asked the Lake, full of curiosity.
“This noise. It seems it’s coming right from here” replied the duck.
“Here! My feathers are quaky quaky quaky” quacked Lorely spinning and flapping her wings.
“Hold on!” said the Lake, “I can see it!”.
“Who? Where? What? What?” asked the duck, quite panicky.
“It’s a black thing with two large yellow pupils, and it is resting right on your back.”
“Eek!” screamed the duck, “take it off me, now!”.
And she kept flapping her wings and shaking her head so hard that her leaf-bandana fell off. But that tickling was still there…
And then she suddenly heard a tiny little voice say: “Please Lorely duck, don’t shake me off.”
“But who are you?” asked the duck, annoyed indeed, “and what are you doing walking around on me?”.
“I am Zizzy the fly” replied the tiny bug “and I’m a little tired, so I was hoping I could take a lift on your back to reach the other side of the lake.”
“NO way!” said Lorely the duck, ruling out any hope for a friendly deal. “Get off, quickly!”
Then she started to shake and shake, until Zizzy the fly fell into the water and disappeared from view.
“Lorely, Lorely” admonished the Lake “poor Zizzy! You know that flies can’t swim …”.
“Yes, it’s true, but it should not land on my back without even asking for my permission…” said the duck trying to apologise. But when she realised that Zizzy the fly was no longer in sight, she began to beg the Lake:
“Lake, oh Lake, you deal with it please! Only you can find her in your waters!”
The Lake crossed his currents and puffed to try to save the fly:
“Puff puff… I don’t like this story!”
Zizzy the fly jolted out of the water, and fell on the opposite shore.
Lilly, Lolly and Lally, the three ducklings, rushed to help her.
Lilly was dazed, staring at the small fly. Lolly started to hop around her: “What can I do? What can I do? Shall I go get her some food?”.
“No, Lolly” said his mother “this fly does not need food now. Let’s help her up, instead.”
The fly stood up on her legs and flapped his wings to dry them.
Lilly, hit by the water drops, swung and fell backwards.
“Oh Lilly, my darling, you can’t even stand in the breeze!” said Mom Lorely helping him to stand up.
“Zizzy, how are you, Zizzy?” asked Lolly, worried.
“Better, now” said the fly.
“I’m sorry Zizzy” apologized Lorely “I did not mean to hurt you, but I had never seen a fly tired of flying!”.
“Yes, you’re right, Lorely, I’m a little lazy”.
“Well, from now on” said the duck “to make up for what I did, you can land on my back every time you need. And I will carry you around with me.”
From that day Lorely and Zizzy were always together. The fly was like a big black spot on Lorely’s back, who got so used to her presence that she did not even notice her anymore! Except for that hum that she could hear every now and then, when Zizzy was tired:
Illustrations of Chiara Tomati