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The Loaves And The Fishes (And The Ducks)

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The Loaves And The Fishes (And The Ducks)

The Loaves And The Fishes (And The Ducks)

The Loaves And The Fishes (And The Ducks)

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/98743459/98836409" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

People have been going to the Linesville Spillway for decades to see the ducks who walk on the backs of fish. Dan Collison and Elizabeth Meister for Long Haul Productions hide caption

toggle caption Dan Collison and Elizabeth Meister for Long Haul Productions

People have been going to the Linesville Spillway for decades to see the ducks who walk on the backs of fish.

Dan Collison and Elizabeth Meister for Long Haul Productions

Hear The Song

Hear "Bread in the Water," a song about the loaves and the fishes (and the ducks), written and performed exclusively for NPR by Tim Fite.

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Since as long as anyone can remember — some say 1934 — locals and tourists have tossed bread to a suckling, quacking stew of carp and ducks at the Linesville Spillway in northwest Pennsylvania. The small dam is the site of one of America's oldest roadside attractions, roughly halfway between Cleveland and Pittsburgh. The carp gather just outside Linesville, Pa., in writhing thickets at the spillway's edges. The fish are so thick that mallard ducks, also in search of a free meal, literally hop, skip and jump on the fish's backs to compete for a slice of bread.

Linesville's star attraction brings as many as 500,000 visitors a year to the small community, where they might buy gas, a burger or day-old Wonder Bread from one of the bread shanties that line local streets. But this year, the place where ducks walk on fish has been threatened by a policy change that has locals worried about a giant sucking sound of a different kind: the clatter of tourists and their dollars leaving their community.

Dan Collison and Elizabeth Meister visited the Spillway and teamed up with singer-songwriter Tim Fite to produce this story about one of America's fishiest tales. To hear it, click the link above. You can download Fite's song, "Bread In The Water," using the link at left.

Hear more entries in Long Haul Productions' song/story series: "The Lord God Bird" by Sufjan Stevens and "Swap Shop" by Lambchop.

Watch a video of the scene at the Linesville Spillway.

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