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Goose Step

by Beverley, Napier, New Zealand


There was a goose on the front lawn. We get a lot of wildfowl flying overhead on their way to the nearby wildfowl lagoon - but this was our first goose. Ollie saw it out of the lounge window and his eyes bulged. It was the biggest bird he had ever seen and needed to be eaten.. He practically broke his neck tearing through the kitchen and almost upset Ted off his ladder in the process. He sped out of the cat door and down the drive to the front lawn. Ollie was in stalking mode, body low on the ground, rippling like a well-oiled snake he was slowly advancing on the goose.

The goose hadn't noticed Ollie. He had somehow been separated from the rest of the gaggle and was muttering obscenities to himself, pecking at bits of grass here and there. Ollie got closer and closer, almost within sniffing distance of the goose's tail. He must have thought all his birthdays had come at once. Suddenly the goose swung around - the cat and the bird were eyeball to eyeball.

The goose was having a bad feather day and it didn't help to be face to face with a stalking cat. He hissed ominously and purposefully advanced towards the cat. Ollie was completely taken aback. Birds didn't behave like that.. The pattern was, birds were terrified and took off and cats chased them. It wasn't fair. There then evolved a most peculiar dance - a sort of goose step with the goose advancing in the dominant role. It went something like this. Waddle, waddle, waddle forward, feet together, waddle sideways, feet together, then swing your partner, circle round. Ollie had had enough of this nonsense - it was time to reassert himself. He leapt forward suddenly. The goose was ready and quick as a striking snake. He delivered a stinging peck to Ollie's nose. I was sympathetic - a bruising peck from an attacking goose is no joke.

By this time the goose was really mad. He hissed like an over-heated kettle and took off after Ollie. The cat fled around the lawn with the goose in pursuit. It must have been so humiliating - being chased by a bird with not a claw or fang in sight. But the goose's wing flapping and honks were formidable. Eventually the goose tired of the fun and Ollie sat down at a respectable distance to wash his stinging nose.

Honks from the sky overhead heralded the return of the rest of the gaggle. The lawn goose honked back and then glared balefully at Ollie. He had unfinished business. There was to be one more stage of the saga. The goose pounded the lawn with his huge feet, flapped his wings then raced at full speed towards the cat. Ollie hit the dust, flattening himself on the lawn. He was only just in time - the goose thundered over his head with all the speed and force of a boeing, the undercarriage fanning the fur on the top of the cat's head. The lawn goose slowly gathered height and presently, joined by the rest of the gaggle, took off towards the lagoon.

When Ollie returned to the kitchen Ted picked him up. "Poor Ollie Baby," murmured Ted soothingly, "Did a mean goose upset him, then? And how is the little fellow's nose?"



Editor's note:

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