Stealing the spotlight of Chinese celebrities showing off their love online on Valentine’s Day, the image of a gander "kissing" a goose saw more than 18,000 forwards within two days on social media and turned many Internet users into scriptwriters penning romantic stories of the two love birds.
The photo of a gander standing on a soil path joining her beak together with that of a goose tied in a basket at the back seat of a motorcycle was first posted online on Valentine’s Day with such touching lines as "the gander kisses goodbye to his lover at village entrance before both being separated."
Moved by the image, many started scripting different storylines between the two birds.
Some pieced together a happy-ending picture saying that they eloped after an accident happened to the motorcycle and lived happily after with many children.
Others, perhaps more realistic and also more imaginative, wrote that the goose cheated on her lover shortly after they eloped, but they still met the inevitable end of most domestic birds and ended up getting fried.
However, Deng, the owner of the two birds, told a far less romantic story.
The picture was taken on Feb 9 when the goose was about to be sent away to a relative’s home as a thank you gift to return a favor, said Deng, whose parents had been raising the birds for more than a year in a village in Meizhou, South China’s Guangdong province.
"When my father tried to tie the goose, the gander yanked his neck trying to prevent him and gaggled as if pleading to my father for pardon," said Deng, whose family still sent the goose away though a bit moved by the scene.
The gander was later cooked by Deng’s family, too, during the weeklong Chinese new year holiday because Deng’s parents will leave home for work after the holiday and nobody else will be left to take care of it, said Deng.
Experts interpreted the unexpected fever about the two birds in different ways.
Some said the different versions of the romantic stories add hype to the photo and it’s a good example of new media empowering the public with the right of speech and participation.
Others attributed the fever to the special occasion of Valentine’s Day when romance is in the air.
Others, however, claimed that it’s likely to be an online marketing campaign.