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The poem The Duck and the Kangaroo written by Edward Lear is about mutual friendship and its benefits. In this poem, Duck desires to travel along with Kangaroo on his back because it loves Kangaroo’s hopping.
Kangaroo on the condition that the duck will put socks on its feet. Duck agrees and both go around the world and enjoy their life. The poem has five stanzas having eight lines each.
Said the Duck to the Kangaroo, ‘Good gracious! how you hop! Over the fields and the water too, As if you never would stop! My life is a bore in this nasty pond, And I long to go out in the world beyond! I wish I could hop like you!’ Said the Duck to the Kangaroo.
In the first stanza, Duck is amazed to see the hopping (jumping) of the kangaroo over the fields and even over the water. It looks to Duck that Kangaroo never stops hopping.
The duck then says that its life is quite boring in the dirty pond and it desires to travel around the world. However it were possible if duck could hop like Kangaroo.
‘Please give me a ride on your back!’ Said the Duck to the Kangaroo. ‘I would sit quite still, and say nothing but “Quack,” The whole of the long day through! And we’d go to the Dee, and the Jelly Bo Lee, Over the land, and over the sea;— Please take me a ride! O do!’ Said the Duck to the Kangaroo.
The duck then requests the kangaroo to give it a ride on its (kangaroo’s) back and adds that it will sit quietly and would say nothing but only quack.
And them, the would go to different places (like Dee and Jelly Bo Lee), they will travel over the land and even on the sea. The duck again pleads Kangaroo to give it ride on its back.
Said the Kangaroo to the Duck, ‘This requires some little reflection; Perhaps on the whole it might bring me luck, And there seems but one objection, Which is, if you’ll let me speak so bold, Your feet are unpleasantly wet and cold, And would probably give me the roo- Matiz!’ said the Kangaroo.
Hearing the duck’s plea, kangaroo says that he needs to think over about it because it can bring good lick for him. However, he has one problem and that is the cold and wet feet of duck. They would irritate the kangaroo.
Said the Duck, ‘As I sate on the rocks, I have thought over that completely, And I bought four pairs of worsted socks Which fit my web-feet neatly. And to keep out the cold I’ve bought a cloak, And every day a cigar I’ll smoke, All to follow my own dear true Love of a Kangaroo!’
Hearing this, duck answers that he has already been well aware of it thought about it while sitting on the rocks. This is why he has bought four pairs of smooth socks which will fit its feet. Moreover he (duck) has also bought a cloak and even a cigar for the journey.
Said the Kangaroo, ‘I’m ready! All in the moonlight pale; But to balance me well, dear Duck, sit steady! And quite at the end of my tail!’ So away they went with a hop and a bound, And they hopped the whole world three times round; And who so happy,—O who, As the Duck and the Kangaroo?.
Kangaroo agrees to travel with duck on its back and finally in the pale moonlight (night), he asks the duck to keep balance on his (kangaroo’s) back and sit steadily at the end of his (kangaroo’s) tail.
Saying this, they started their journey. Both of them travelled the whole world three times hopping and jumping. In the end, the poet asks us who would be so happy as the duck and the kangaroo.