Residents of the western UK and Irish coasts have been warned to expect an invasion by a vast flotilla of ghostly, immortal albino plastic ducks, according to reports.
The tale of the floating, whitened bird-simulacra migration is a strange one, dating back many years. It seems that the plastic bathtime companions were originally made in China. They were on their way to America in 1992 when a terrible storm struck their vessel in mid-Pacific, and shipping containers holding 30,000 of the hapless playthings were washed overboard.
A majority of the ducks - at that stage still tinted a healthy yellow - headed south, many of them reportedly finishing up in Australia, where they were doubtless accorded the traditional hostile reception.
Ten thousand of the plastic anatidaens, however, went north, embarking on an endless odyssey across the world's oceans. Like the legendary Captain Vanderdecken in his ill-omened ghost ship the Flying Dutchman, the flocks of plastic kiddy-pals seemed doomed to roam the oceans for eternity.
The luckless fleet of cursed, wandering sea-going toys - Flying Duckmen, perhaps - circled the northern Pacific for some years before a fresh horror befell them as they drifted into the Arctic. Here they became frozen into the pack ice, suffering untold torment in their icy prison as they slowly transited past Greenland into the Atlantic.
Bleached pale by their hellish polar ordeal, the doomed ducks drifted onward. Thawed-out plastic voyagers have landed since the turn of the century in New England, Iceland and Canada, and one may have been found in the western Hebrides in 2003.
A retired American oceanographer named Curtis Ebbesmeyer has monitored the ducks' progress for the past 15 years, and it's his prediction that the plastic playthings' perpetual peregrination may now be headed this way.
Ebbesmeyer briefed the Evening Standard yesterday, saying that "We're getting reports of ducks being washed up on America's eastern seaboard.
"It is now inevitable that they will get caught up in the Atlantic currents and will turn up on English beaches.
"Cornwall and the South-West will probably get the first wave of them."
The Times claims that the globe-trotting bath toys have become collectors' items, and sell for £500. If true, this could mean another greed-crazed beachcomber salvage flotsam bonanza frenzy, with hordes of opportunists descending on Cornish beaches hoping to get rich on the sea's pale, plastic bounty.
We say: bad luck will surely come to those who seek to profit from the Flying Duckmen. Interfere with their eternal voyage at your peril.®