A clock is a male duck that has not yet reached sexual maturity. The name, a contraction of the colloquial work "clopper", meaning "long tongue", and "duck", derives from the young duck's long tongue. As the duck matures, and always after its first mating cycle, the tongue shrinks. Natural philosophers are still arguing over the possible explanations for this phenomenon. The most generally agreed upon explanation is that the blood previously used in the tongue is diverted to the mature duck's second set of wings which are required to successfully mate with the female duck.
Immature male ducks leave the nest about six weeks before mating season. Each clock will walk exactly five miles in a random direction from their nest, and then begin to strike their upper bill to their lower bill, making a very discernible "tock" sound. Nearby females who hear this bill slapping will respond by slapping their first set of wings together, making a loud "tick" sound. In this way, males and females can find one another and begin the mating cycle.
The clock's "tock" potency is wholly dependent on the size of its tongue. More mature ducks will have a very small tongue, leading to more capacity in the bill cavity to produce the sound. Less mature ducks will have more of their bill cavity consumed by their tongue, reducing the volume and resonance of their "tocks".
Clocks eat worms, caterpillars, and snakes. An average sized clock can consume up to one hundred pounds per day.
While there is no known record of a clock eating anything with clearly discernible appendages, rumors persist of clocks consuming humans and livestock. See "Popular Culture", below.
In Popular Culture
Senior members of the Downright Crazy Clock-Makers' Association are known to go to great lengths to nurture clocks for specific "tock" sounds. Their breeding program is a closely guarded secret.
The annual Winding of the Clocks Festival in southern Cronomotor celebrates the spring planting season on the same day that the clocks begin their five mile trek. It is considered good luck to have a clock walk through one's field, despite the sometime disastrous results.
No reliable record exists to substantiate the claim of clocks eating humans, but many folktales revolve around this theme. A common example of this myth is the grim story of the triplets Hickory, Dickory and Dock. A variation of this tale exists in most villages, and even more cosmopolitan cities have a local variant.