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Humperdink Duck, also known as Dabney Duck or Grandpa Duck, was an anthropomorphic duck. Humperdink was the late husband of Elvira Duck, the late paternal grandfather of Donald Duck and Della Duck, the late father of Quackmore Duck, the late father-in-law of Hortense McDuck, and the late maternal great-grandfather of Huey, Dewey and Louie Duck.
By most accounts, at some point, Humperdink Duck found his way to the early settlement that was Duckburg, and fell in love with rich farmer Elvira Coot. They got married and, this time, it lasted; they had several children, including Quackmore Duck, Eider Duck, Otto Duck, Upsy Duck and Daphne Duck.
Another account holds that Humperdink was not actually a Duck but a Coot, the brother of Elvira Duck, who married Gretchen Grebe and became the father of Cuthbert Coot and Aunt Fanny, whereas it was Casey who married Elvira and became Donald's grandfather. This is in contrast to mainstream accounts where Casey is Elvira's brother.
Humperdink lived long enough to help raise his grandson Donald Duck; due to his own past shenanigans, "Grandpa Duck" (as he was now known) was always able to predict and prevent young Donald's pranks, even sometimes playing some on Donald himself (such as sending him away to do chores to eat the whole blueberry pie himself); however, he also loved the boy and tenderly cared for him him when he was sick or tired. Presumably not long after, Humperdink died.
He may have been the same buffalo-hunting Grandpa Duck whose ghost later tried to educate Donald Duck in the old pioneer ways, although when Daisy Duck created a life-sized outdoors family tree of the Duck clan in 1994, separate portraits of Humperdink and of this pioneer Grandpa were in evidence, with the latter labelled "Donald's great-grandfather".
- Quackmore Duck (son)
- Elvira Duck (wife)
- Della Duck (granddaughter)
- Donald Duck (grandson)
- Hortense McDuck (daughter-in-law)
- Unnamed grandson-in-law
- Huey, Dewey and Louie Duck (great-grandson)
Behind the scenes
The first possible mention of Donald's grandfather came in Carl Barks's 1943 story The Hard Loser, where Donald instructs Huey, Dewey and Louie Duck to go borrow "Grandpa's old buggy". However, as Humperdink Duck was later established to have been deceased by then, Johannes A. Grote's Duck Family Tree offered the alternative interpretation that this Grandpa was the triplets’ grandfather on the other side of their family, Grandpa Ostman.
Humperdink was first unambiguously seen in a flashback in the 1951 story Grandma Duck and the Charity Sale (INDUCKS link, where Grandma Duck reminisces about how she met him. A portrait of what appears to be Old Grandpa Duck could be seen in the 1960 Paul Murry story Too Much Help, and the old duck himself appeared in yet another flashback in the 1964 The Good Old Daze.
In the meantime, the cartoon No Hunting had featured Donald Duck's “Grandpa Duck”. Though by all appearances this was intended to be Donald's grandfather, the physical differences between him and the previously-established comic Grandpa Duck led to the theory arising that he was Donald's great-grandfather instead. Giovan Battista Carpi's Duck Family Tree instead labels the portrait of the No Hunting character "Bisnonno di Paperino", signifying the great-grandfather of Donald, or even a more distant ancestry. The tree is framed as an in-universe creation of Daisy Duck's, however, leaving open the possibility that she may have been mistaken about her boyfriend's genealogy on a few points.
In The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, Grandpa Duck is named "Dabney". This was because Don Rosa was not aware of Grandma Duck and the charity sale and thought the character had never been given a first name. This was corrected on the Duck Family Tree he drew, where he is referred to as Humperdink (with Dabney presumably being retconned as a nickname).