Chicken’s Peck and Disappear:
Once upon a time in a land really close to here…
Cluckie Cluckster pecked around in the yard, looking for the grain farmer Alan scattered that day. He was happy as could be, prancing and preening in front of all the beautiful hens in his coop.
The sun was bright, and a warm breeze blew across the prairie, causing Cluckie’s mood to brighten even more. He strutted to the edge of the yard to gather some grain he’d spotted there, when suddenly; a screech reverberated across the yard. It was Chickiletta!
Cluckie turned around, but she wasn’t there! What happened to her? The other hens had gone back inside the coop, so he rushed across the yard with a flap of his dirty, off-white wings.
“Winglette, where is Chickiletta?”
“I don’t know, Roodaddy. I was eating some grain and heard her scream, so I ran like you always tell us to do if there’s a threat.”
“Okay my little egglette.” He gave her a peck on the head and went in search of one of the older hens.
“Roastoria, do you know what happened?”
“I don’t Cluckie. As soon as I heard that deafening screech, I flapped back to the coop. That’s what you always tell us to do.”
Cluckie’s mood dimmed as he moved on to the next hen. “Thighla, did you see anything?”
“I didn’t. I was busy getting the grain while it was fresh. I heard a big screech and looked up, but whoever did it was already gone.”
“Okay, thank you.” Cluckie said. He went to the next hen, Gandoria.” He dreaded talking to her because she was always hateful, but he needed to find out what was going on. Was the big bad wolf on the prowl in their yard? If he was, he needed to keep a guard to keep the hens safe.
“Gandoria, did you see what happened?”
“Nope, I was busy eating my breakfast.” She stuck her chest out and pecked at some invisible speck on her shoulder.
“Don’t you even care that someone took Chickiletta?”
“I don’t. That just puts me closer to the top.” She shook her head, squawked, and then flapped away in a flurry of feathers.
Wow, she’s all about her, he thought as he continued to the next hen. It was the grandmother of all chickens, Henmother. Cluckie didn’t like talking to her because she was old and couldn’t hear very well. Not only that, once you started talking to her, she’d keep you there all day. He walked slowly toward her, dreading the moment.
“Get on over her boy. I suspect you want to ask me what happened to Chickiletta.”
“I do! Did you see what happened?”
“Farmer Alan came and wrung her neck.”
“He did not! Farmer Alan would never do that, he loves us. Why, he feeds us every day.”
“Why do you suppose he does that? It’s not like we’re the family pets or anything.”
“He’s a nice man. He…”
“That’s horn-swaggle boy! He feeds us so we’ll get fat. Why, I bet that wife of his is in there as we speak, plucking the feathers off Chickiletta so she can throw her in the dumpling pot.”
Cluckie gasped. “Surely you can’t be serious?”
“I am, boy. Where do you think all the hens keep disappearing to?”
“But if that were true; I’m the biggest, fattest chicken on the farm. Why hasn’t he taken me?”
“Use your head, boy.” Henmother said.
Cluckie gasped again. “He’s keeping me around until the very last! Well, I won’t let him get away with this!” His reddish-orange beak worked open and closed several times. “We must devise a plan.”
“We only say we when we think everyone is going to agree with what we want. Leave me out of it. I’m too old to fight this battle.” She turned and strutted away, pecking at the ground in hopes of some grain.
Cluckie pecked his way back to the outer edge of the yard to think. He would miss Chickiletta. She’d been his favorite hen this week. He couldn’t let Farmer Alan get away with his plans of chickiside!
Making a decision, Cluckie flapped back to the middle of the yard. “Pay attention to me, all you hens!”
The hens came from all directions, gathering in the middle of the yard. “What do you need, Cluckie?” Thighla asked.
“I’ve been informed by Henmother that Farmer Alan came and wrung Chickiletta’s neck so his wife could throw her in the dumplin’ pot!”
Several gasps were heard as the news sunk in. “Surely Farmer Alan wouldn’t do that!” Thighla said. She’d obviously volunteered to be the spokeshen for the group.
“That’s what I said, but Henmother says different. She says Farmer Alan only feeds us so we’ll get fat.”
“But why would he do that?” Winglette asked.
“You’re too young to hear the reason,” Cluckie said.
“She is not!” Henmother screeched as she finally joined the group. She didn’t move as quickly as she had in previous years because she was old. “She needs to know so if Farmer Alan comes after her she can flap away.”
Cluckie thought about that for a second. “I guess that makes sense. Humans like Farmer Alan are trying to eradicate our species.”
Gasps were heard all around again. “I don’t think that’s why,” Henmother said.
All the other hens quieted and Thighla asked, “Why do you think he does it then?”
“I think he likes the taste of chicken.” She cackled for a long time, only to end in a fit of coughing.
“Henmother, that’s not funny!” Cluckie said angrily.
“It is if you think about it.”
“You only say that because you think you’re too old for the pot,” Gandoria sneered as she flapped to where Henmother stood.
“That wasn’t very nice, Gandoria,” Cluckie said. But maybe it was true. Henmother was the oldest chicken on the farm.
“What do you plan on doing, Roodaddy?” Winglette asked as a lone tear trailed down her bright white feathers.
“I say we wait until he comes to feed us in the morning and we ambush him!”
“That’s a great idea!”
“I second that motion!”
The hens were more than willing to go along with that plan and Cluckie smiled, some of his previous good mood returning. Yeah, Chickiletta was gone, but he had a whole coop full of hens. He moved around the yard, flapping his wings and pecking at the dirt in a show of leadership.
“It’s a plan then. Let’s all get some rest so we’ll be ready at first light.”
The hens immediately went into the coop and roosted on their nests. Tomorrow would be a big day.
Bright and early the next morning Cluckie made his rounds, rooting everyone from their roosts. “Up and at ‘em my eager coopers, it’s time for action!”
“But it’s too early for action Roodaddy,” Winglette said, trying to bury her head in her chest once more.
Cluckie squawked, his red-orange beak working up and down, “Get up Winglette! Now my tiny cooper!”
Winglette hopped from her roost and followed behind Henmother as they marched in formation out to the yard. “Farmer Alan isn’t even awake yet,” Winglette grumbled as she looked toward the darkened farmhouse.
“Exactly, we’ll be ready for him when he is!” Cluckie said.
An hour later all the chickens were waiting, having planned an ambush.
Farmer Alan came out of the house, whistling Dixie, happy as a lark. The chicken and dumplings his wife had made were still heavy on his mind, and his stomach. Why, he wasn’t even hungry this morning… Farmer Alan ceased whistling when he realized the chickens stood still in perfect rows, watching him as he advanced. Chills rushed through him, “What’s up with this?” He said aloud as he hurried to the barn, trying not to show his fear. He felt unsettled, like they were…mad at him. He shrugged. “Stop being silly, Alan. They’re just waiting for their grain. He continued to whistle as he got the bucket and filled it with grain. He had to gather the eggs as soon the chickens got busy with their breakfast, he thought.
He came out of the barn and stopped, gasping in unease. They hadn’t moved. They were standing in the same lines, watching as he came out. “Okay, you guys, what’s up?” He felt silly talking to him, but he figured it would set him at ease, but he was wrong. The rooster started screeching , flapping his wings and squawking, his beak moving up and down in what could only be anger, and then all the hens joined in. Fear enveloped Farmer Alan and he began to back into the barn, one step at a time, until he ran into one of the younger hens. He looked down, and suddenly all he could see was wings and beaks as the whole group advanced on him, causing him to fall to the ground.
“How dare you kill us to feed your own belly?” Cluckie screeched as he flung an egg with his wing, hitting Farmer Alan square in the face. “Take that you murderer!” He squawked as he threw another, just as Thighla laid it on the ground. And then all the hens joined in, laying eggs and throwing them at Farmer Alan.
A few minutes later, a noise from the yard caught their attention, and they stopped the assault and looked up. It was Farmer Alan’s wife, Betsy. She was screaming, “What is going on?”
The hens screeched, squawked and flapped their wings, hurrying to return to the coop. Only Cluckie stood his ground. “We’re teaching Farmer Alan a lesson!” He flapped his wings and preened, proud of what they’d done.
When Betsy got to where they were, she looked down and…laughed. Farmer Alan was on the ground, his face full of egg and his body covered, too. “What on earth happened?”
“I don’t know, Bets, they attacked me.”
“Don’t be such a silly goose,” She replied in disbelief.
“It wasn’t a goose who started it, it was a chicken.” He pointed accusingly toward Cluckie, who backed slowly away, finally turning and entering the coop.
“I think you were sleep-walking again, Alan.”
“I was not, Betsy, those chickens attacked me and threw their eggs at me.”
Betsy helped her husband up as she laughed again. “Okay Alan, whatever you say.”
“It’s true, why won’t you believe me?”
“Chickens don’t attack people. You probably ate too many dumplings.” She ushered him into the house and back to bed, where farmer Alan had a horrible nightmare that his rooster was whispering into his ear.
“No more chicken,” He mumbled, twisting and turning in his bed.
“No more killing us chickens,” Cluckie said in his ear.
Farmer Alan sat up, looked all around the room, and then to the open window where the warm breeze blew freely, just in time to see the back of Cluckie Cluckster as he jumped from the window to the ground. Farmer Alan rushed over just in time to see Cluckie turn, wink one beady little eye, flap his wings and prance and peck back to his coop.
The moral of the story; never go to bed on a full stomach… (Or don’t mess with the chickens, they fight back.) The End