The Naughty Little Duck Myth in The True Dark Ages | World Anvil

The Naughty Little Duck

The Naughty Little Duck is a story told to many young children in the Frankish Empire. It is based loosely on a young boy who awoke the dead from their eternal slumber.


The Naughty Little Duck tells the story of a young boy aged 6 that woke the dead in a Temple of Orcus in the south east of Gaul. His is referred to Little Duck throughout. The story regularly goes like this:   "Little Duck is a 6 year old trouble maker and will not stop annoying the locals of his village. Every day he is rude and relatively obnoxious to them, showing no respect to anyone. A constant embarrassment to his parents who can't control him, and every punishment they meet out fails. One time they had him sit in a corner and not allowed to speak, so to annoy them he would burp or fart and giggle. Eventually they decide that to make an example of him.   What they do is send him to the local church to perform basic chores for the priest. Being young and away from his parents, Little Duck sees no bother in trying the wine and spilling it everywhere. This does not go down well, when the priests try to lead Mass. They have no wine so have to send Little Duck to get more.   On the way to the vinyard, he spots a group of soldiers up ahead entering an old temple of Orcus at the side of the road. Stopping there, he asks what they are doing. One replies that hey are clearing the place out of undead. Little Duck looks up and exclaims loudly, 'There's no such thing as undead'. The soldiers look disgusted at him and shakes his head before going into the temple.   Little Duck carries on down to the vinyard going to himself, I'm going to go into that crumbling old temple and show them that there's no undead there. So he picks up the wine for the church and turns to leave. Getting back as far as the old temple, he sees the soldiers leave it and walk off. He shouts after them that he'll go in and prove there's no undead in there pointing at it. Steeping inside he rushes down a set of old worn steps, and when in at the crypt at the bottom, stops. Looking around, he sees the altar to Orcus, and the piled bodies of old skeletons too long in the ground all lying besides the walls. Hollering and screaming phrases only a 6 year old would find offensive he rushes around knocking over skeletons and toppling everything on the altar.   At that point, the carved head of Orcus was knocked over. The eyes started to glow a dark red, and the skeletons started to shudder. After a second or two, they start to rise and immediately pounce on Little Duck. The solders at this point has made their way back, and pour in destroying every skeleton that stands. One has the sense to move the carved head of Orcus back to the altar and the skeletons drop.   When they are finished, Little Duck gets a clip round the ear from the soldiers, and dragged the rest of the way to the church. There he also gets a clip round the ear from the priest and sent off. By the time he gets home his parents have been informed giving him another clip round the ear.   That night, all Little Duck can think off is the skeletons standing and reaching for him to tear him apart. When he wakes up he has changed. Going out to do chores again he is sullen and cowed. Never again will he try anything so stupid, and if it wasn't for the soldiers and their discipline, he would've been dead. From them on, he dedicates his life to being as good as can be. So much so, he joins the church and becomes a Paladin, showing that through mistakes earlier in life, anyone can change and grow. Now he routs out undead wherever he can, and guides others to a better path."

Historical Basis

Little Duck doesn't seem to exist, though a local legend tells of a wayward child who eventually became a God fearing man who persecuted undead with the backing of the church. He fell into an old temple to Orcus and was pulled out by soldiers, before being attacked.


Found throughout south eastern Frankia, many an adult will tell their children this tale to make them more obedient. Many hope that hte child will learn to not be so foolish, leave dangerous things alone and take up the good fight where possible.
Date of First Recording
Circa 450 AD
Date of Setting
390 AD
Related Ethnicities
Related Locations

Cover image: by Colonel 101


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Jul 17, 2023 22:48 by LexiCon (WordiGirl)

lol what a tale! very captivating, indeed!

Jul 17, 2023 23:19 by Darren McHaffie

Makes a bit of a change haha.

Jul 18, 2023 14:44 by Sapha Burnell

Definitely a different vibe than I've been seeing! The shocked portrait of Little Duck is potent for the story beneath, and I like what you do with Little Duck later in life.

Jul 18, 2023 15:11 by Darren McHaffie

Thanks. Surprisingly quick idea knocked together that one.