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January 1

Dear Diary,
Today, Numali brought me a library book about runner ducks and read some of it to me. She also made me practice reading from the book, because she knows I will work hard to understand something so important to me.

We studied outside, sitting in the sunshine, because it makes Father frown to see us reading in the house. Although he is not so mad when I am reading about ducks! He sees it may help us, in time.

"Father," I said, "You could be a duck farmer, don't you think?"

But he only grunted. "That is women's work, getting eggs," he said. "And do you think I can herd ducks with these legs?" He shook his head. "I am only good for eating ducks, Nahji. Go outside."

Mother says that he was a different man before his legs got crushed. I wish I’d been old enough to know him then, but I was only a baby. Mother says a man cannot live on a diet of deep sorrow, it sours the blood like vinegar.

"I know you want to help him, Nahji," she said, "but first you have to help yourself. That is hard enough work."

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