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TITLE: Chapter 3: A Symbol of Friendship
By Caitlin Dea

This is chapter 3 of the Adventures in Feather Grove. Fluffkin and Lilly have stayed true to each other in their first adventure, but will their bond of friendship stay strong in the face of danger?
As the summer wore on in Feather Grove, more and more ducklings were born. Since all the baby ducks in the same area have similar markings, it is very easy to lose track of your sibling in a large crowd of other ducklings.

One day, after taking a long time to find Lilly at the lake, Fluffkin thought of an idea.

"Lilly," said Fluffkin, "We need to make collars so that we can find each other easily in a crowd. It will also show that we are best friends."

"What will we use to make them?" asked Lilly.

"Have you ever watched Mama repair the nest by weaving the marsh grasses together?" said Fluffkin.

"Of course I have," replied Lilly. "She does it all the time."

"We can do the same thing but weave the grasses into cords that we can wear around our necks."

"All this just sounds itchy to me," said Lilly unconsciously scratching her neck with her webbed foot.

Fluffkin just rolled her eyes and motioned for her sister to follow her. They were headed to the same place which had started their first adventure. Near the lake, behind the marsh grasses still stood the same mud puddle which was used to scare Rikky. Fluffkin and Lilly had pushed a few large rocks into the mud so that they would have somewhere to sit without getting dirty. This little alcove in the marsh grasses was adopted by Fluffkin and Lilly as Fort Mud.

When the two sisters arrived at Fort Mud, they began collecting blades of marsh grasses. The grasses in Feather Grove held a whole spectrum of colors to choose from. Fluffkin favored the greens, blues, and browns, while Lilly contrasted the lighter more vibrant colors (such as yellow or orange) with the darker colors like (she chose the browns and blues).

After they had picked all their favorite colors, Lilly held each set of grasses in her mouth as Fluffkin weaves and braided. Fluffkin weaves Lilly's collar first. The dark oranges and browns of Lilly's collar brought out her big brown eyes.

"It fits perfectly!" exclaimed Fluffkin.

"I was right though," said Lilly. "It is a bit itchy."

"It's okay," assured Fluffkin. "As you wear the collar and get used to it, it will become less irritating."

Fluffkin now began to finish her own collar. Once satisfied with the result, put it on and strutted around looking very proud of her new collar.

"Your collar looks marvelous!" exclaimed Lilly.
"Thanks." Fluffkin said. "We make a great team! It looks like we really belong together now."

The next day Fluffkin and Lilly walked back down to the lakeside where all the other ducklings played every morning. Fluffkin and Lilly split up for a while. Fluffkin went to play tag with the older ducklings while Lilly went treasure hunting with some goslings. Lilly was in the middle of searching for something pretty to put in the fort, when a loud screech thundered from above. With one glance upward, all the baby animals scrambled in all directions. Lilly immediately saw that the threat was a hawk trying to grab a meal. Lilly was very close to Fort Mud, so she started running toward the marsh grasses which lined the beach. Suddenly, in mid run, she skidded to a complete stop. She had forgotten Fluffkin! She turned around and gazed back toward the crowd. Fluffkin was no where to be found.

"Surely with her new collar," Lilly thought. "I should be able to see her clearly."

But Fluffkin was not in sight. With the hawk still circling Lilly began to get anxious.

"Where can she possibly be?" said Lilly in a whisper.

As she looked around, Lilly noticed an interesting shade of blue sitting between to rocks. Lilly had never noticed that before. The small little duckling ran over to the rocks while whispering, "Fluffkin, are you there?"

Immediately, a very fluffy head peeped out from the rocks. It was Fluffkin!

"Follow me back to the fort where it will be safe," whispered Lilly.

Fluffkin was very scared so she made no noise, only nodded. When the frightened pair reached their clubhouse, the two little ducklings breathed a sight of relief. Lilly was the first to speak up.

"Good thing you thought of those collars, huh, Fluffkin? I wouldn't have ever found you if you had not worn yours. I guess I can stand the itching a little more now."

Fluffkin was still shaking from the ordeal. She finally managed to speak up and said, " No, Lilly, this collar around my neck didn't save me at all, but the small duckling in front of me sure did. If you hadn't displayed courage like you did and looked for me, I would have been some hawks meal right now. I was so frightened I could hardly move. You weren't the only bird who saw the blue collar. The hawk saw it too. No wonder why he was circling right above us. The collar wouldn't have done me any good if no one was there looking for me. Quite the contrary, it would have only made me an easy meal."

Now it was Lilly's turn to shake for she had not realized the danger she had been in until now. That day Lilly and Fluffkin learned that the greatest symbol of friendship was not an outward charm that can be worn but devotion to each other in the face of danger.
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