by David Miller (Lothian Books Victoria Australia 2003)

peace with ourselves-peace with each other-peace with the environment

recommended but unavailable - maybe a copy in your local library


Our world struggles to deal with the complex issues that surround the plight of refugees. This delightful story draws upon analogies with the natural environment and our desire to conserve and protect animal species. This simple but pertinent story is for all ages to enjoy and share together and it contains many peace-building elements:

  • happy endings

  • everyone winning

  • nonviolent resolution

  •     imaginative and creative

  • challenges existing stereotyping

  • faith and hope

  • peace with the environment

  • finding personal peace

  •     ..and element that supports the idea that peace is possible

The advancement of humans encroaching upon the habitat of two ducks is how the story begins. Immediately we are caught up in the unfolding tragedy. Escaping possible death the ducks flee to safety but find themselves in inhospitable places, places in which they are not welcome, places in which they don't belong, noisy and busy places overrun with humans. They flee again only to be fired upon. They find safety but they are found. The story draws upon hope at every point along their journey.

So how does the story end???

......happily with everyone winning especially the ducks

...and a tragedy is finally averted.

The happy ending ensures even human refugees can be resettled........but also there are many other essential peace-building elements inherent in this amazing story.

Dogs and cages don't necessarily mean capture and detention or death.

Happy win-win endings are always possible.

Critical questions to explore with children

  • Why were the ducks in danger when the trucks arrived at the swamp?
  • Why was the city not a suitable place for the ducks to stay?
  • Why did the seagulls squawk and chase the ducks away?
  • Why would people hunt ducks?
  • The dog could have created real problems for the ducks. What could he have done?
  • Why were the ducks put in a cage after they were captured?
  • Do you think the ducks would always be safe in their new swamp?
  • What kind of environment should wild ducks be able to inhabit?

Creative questions to explore with children

  • Why are swamp areas being invaded by trucks?
  • What could the owners of the trucks have done instead of scaring the ducks?
  • Should areas like swamps be protected?
  • How is this story similar to stories about refugees?
  • Why do refugees leave their own lands?
  • What normally happens to refugees when they arrive in Australia or any other country?
  • Do refugees deserve to have happy endings?
  • How can we help create happy endings for refugees in our country?

Teaching and Learning for Peace Foundation October 2005

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