Wish Upon A Crane

Hello and welcome back to another week of fantastic fibs and fortuitous falsehoods here at Factually Deficient! This week, I will answer a question posed by an individual best known to friends and family alike as Blurred_9L. Blurred asked:

Why do paper cranes grant wishes?

Some people – this Blurry personage among them – are clearly under the misapprehension that a paper crane is nothing but a creation of paper, folded into an amusing shape by deft and skillful hands. It is no wonder that such people marvel at the capacity of these seemingly inanimate collections of tree pulp and creases to grant unto the beholder their innermost desires.

This understanding is, of course, wildly inaccurate. And the truth will also tell you why our world’s population of cranes has been dwindling dangerously of late.

All birds are magic. Eagles can see into your soul. Herons can insert their own thoughts into your mind, and geese can move things with theirs. Peacocks cast dazzling glamours that leave unlucky victims blinded for days, while swans can kill with a thought. And as for ducks, well… Some powers are best left unsaid.

And cranes can grant wishes. They can, that is, if they choose to do so.

But the dark art of origami has found a way to subvert a bird’s sovereign will. Every time square paper is folded into the shape of a creature, it captures that creature’s soul in the paltry vessel of paper, subjugating its will to that of whosoever holds the paper, with the power to crumple or tear or burn what now houses the animal’s very essence.

By folding paper into the shape of a crane, a person holds that crane hostage to their own will, gaining the ability to force that crane, trapped in the hair-thin walls of bark and ink, to do what it would otherwise have a choice of doing: granting a wish.

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Disclaimer: the above post contains lies. Not all origami figures are hellish dark magic vessels to enslave the spirit of an innocent creature.

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Silly Geese and Ugly Ducklings

Hello and welcome back to another week of reliably unreliable information here at Factually Deficient! After a three-week foray into the realm of history, I think it’s time I answered another science question.

As such, I would like to address the following question from the incomparable Tohrinha:

What’s the correct way to play Duck Duck Goose?

This is a question that has plagued the human race throughout the ages, and I congratulate you that you have finally asked one of the few people actually able to answer it accurately– I, who have made a lifelong study of ducks and their games, and perhaps the only person still living who has learned directly from a duck how this game is supposed to be played.

First of all, this game can only be properly played in the spring– late March or early April, ideally– when the Canadian Geese are returning from their southern sojourns that took place over the winter. A game of Duck Duck Goose at any other time of the year is mere pantomime, and the players will have to find some way to simulate the actions of the geese.

In order to set up the game, one needs to gather a group of ducks, some other birds of one’s own choosing, and stand with them together in an open field– preferably one where geese are known to frequent, but any field will do if you are confident that your birdcalls will be loud enough.

The participants begin by letting all the birds fly free in the field, requesting of the birds that they fly low enough to run the risk of collisions with people’s heads. Every time a player sees a bird approaching someone’s head, he or she must shout “Duck!” while ducking his or her own head. When this happens, the birds, for their part, will call out loudly, attracting (with any luck) the geese.

When a goose, returning from the winter, approaches, everyone must shout, all together, “Goose!” and dive for the ground while trying to hold a bird carefully but tightly to their chests. Each time a goose lands, everyone not holding a duck is out of the game, until at last there is one winner, and a field full of freshly-arrived geese (not to mention the ducks and all the other birds).

This game is highly enjoyable for everyone involved, ducks, humans, and other birds, and provides the returning gese with a warm and convivial welcome from their winter detainments.

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Disclaimer: Many of the assertions in this blog are not entirely accurate. The writer cannot speak for all birds.