It was stupid of Icarius to try to drown the daughter of a naiad, however. Water is our element, it is our birthright. Although we are not such good swimmers as our mothers, we do have a way of floating, and we’re well connected among the fish and seabirds. A flock of purple‐striped ducks came to my rescue and towed me ashore. After an omen like that, what could my father do? He took me back, and renamed me – Duck was my new nickname. No doubt he felt guilty about what he’d almost done: he became, if anything, rather too affectionate towards me.

I found this affection difficult to reciprocate. You can imagine. There I would be, strolling hand in hand with my apparently fond male parent along a cliff edge or a river bank or a parapet, and the thought would occur to me that he might suddenly decide to shove me over or bash me to death with a rock.