February 20

Dear Diary,
Some amazing things have happened. My dear little Mutka, the best duck in the world, has decided that she wants to sit on her eggs. She made a nest in an old box and will not leave! Father has watched her closely, wheeling himself around the yard on his cart.

“She hardly ever gets up, Nahji,” he told me. “Just enough to eat a little and take care of things, then she is back on those eggs! I think she does not like the idea of another duck or a hen taking her babies.”

And—this is the second miracle, Diary—then my father smiled! “I like watching your ducks while I work in the machine shed, Nahji,” he said. “They are very cheerful in this good weather. They make a nice sound.”

I told Mutka how wonderful she is and gave her some of my rice. Then Mr. Dipak came, bringing a gift of mealworms; all the ducks gobbled up those worms in ten seconds!

“Well, that was a good gift, but it didn’t last very long!” I said to Mr. Dipak.

He only laughed. “You can raise mealworms, too, Nahji. It is not that hard.”

“I would like to,” I replied, “but I’m thinking I do not have the time to raise worms on top of everything else.”

Then my father gave me a funny look. I was sure he would say something about how much time my schooling takes up; how I must choose between ducks and school. But instead, he said, “I will raise the mealworms! When I was a boy, my grandmother kept little birds for pets. She fed them mealworms and taught me how to grow them.”

“You will do this for me, Father?” I could feel myself shaking, just a little, I don’t know why.

He nodded. “For you, Nahji. For all of us.” He reached over from his cart and put a hand on my arm. “You are working hard for your family. It is right that I help, too.”

I told Mother about this before I went to bed, Diary, and tears came to her eyes. “Somehow, you have brought hope to his heart, Nahji. We must find a way to help it grow bigger.”

Maybe my prayers are being answered, Diary. Maybe Spring can come to hearts as well as to trees and flowers—and ducks, of course.

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