The Plaid Duck
Early one spring morning, two of Paul Bunyan's kitchen boys were sitting on the dock waiting for Sourdough Sam to finish mixing his famous flapjack batter. They were dangling their feet over the dock into the water. That way, the slabs of bacon strapped to their feet would keep cool until it was time to grease the griddle (and that's how the expression "cooling their heels" came about).
The two were talking about Paul's newest logging plans when they heard a mournful hooting sound. There, next to the dock was a plain gray and white duck. Now this duck was rather strange looking--it had a long pointed bill and red eyes. They asked the duck why he was so sad, crying in that mournful way. Well, the duck explained that tonight was the spring debutante ball and he had nothing to wear. This was the first time he was old enough to attend the ball and he hoped to find his soul mate there.
So it was very important that he be dressed his best. The boys completely understood his predicament. One of the boys was none other than Jens Threadbetter who was rather handy with a needle and thread and, in addition to working in the kitchen, sewed and repaired the men's flannel shirts. Jens told the duck he thought he could find some scraps of flannel left over from Paul's newest shirt. And so he did. He sewed a lovely black and white flannel cape that fit perfectly over the duck's neck and draped elegantly over the back.
Well, the duck was so excited he trilled and trilled "watch out for me, I'm hot tonight." He was the hit of the ball and immediately found his soul mate. The other ducks all wanted outfits exactly the same so Jens was busy for many days fitting and sewing black-and-white flannel capes. But these capes only seemed to fit properly on the funny looking ducks with the long pointed bills and red eyes. And, because of all the flannel that Jens used in sewing the duck capes, he ran out of black and white flannel for Paul and his men who then had to have red and black plaid flannel shirts.