We never learned the details of their journey to us, but we do know where it started: a foie gras factory. French for “fatty liver,” foie gras is created by force-feeding ducks large quantities of corn and fat over the course of two to three weeks, swelling the birds’ livers to ten times their normal size. This painful, debilitating, and often deadly procedure is performed by thrusting a metal tube down a duck’s throat. Matisse and Monet both arrived with sores on their bills from the feeding tube, as well as cuts, scrapes, and broken feathers from rough handling, cramped cages, and the restraint devices used during force-feeding. The birds were also terrified of humans. During their first days with us, they were quiet and subdued, hiding in the corner whenever caregivers approached. Then one day, while being weighed, Monet flapped his wings. Emboldened by his friend, Matisse did the same. Soon, both ducks flapped their wings over and over again, thrilled with their new freedom and eager to embrace their peaceful new lives.