A fable by Jan Slomp, illustrated by Cathleen Kneen
Once upon a time there was a beautiful henhouse in the deep woods of Forestville. It was a sizable henhouse built on three sturdy pillars that were beautified and strong to protect the chickens from storms and hostile, mostly foreign, predators. The chickens were known in Forestville for their hard work, dedication and pride — and rightfully so — as they were in charge of providing eggs, milk and honey for all of Forestville. Forestville dwellers had come to pay tribute to the chickens because they realized that no matter how long or cold the winters, they always had enough eggs, milk and honey.
One day chicken chief Wally, President of Eggs, Milk and Honey Providers of Forestville, came home from the Forestville capital, while singing the Blues, with important information about some changes that were going to affect the lives of chickens in Forestville. Wally said not to worry, because the leaders of Forestville also liked the Blues and were also speaking about the importance of protecting the three pillars of the henhouse. Some chickens suggested going to the capital of Forestville and protest the proposed changes, but Wally reassured the whole henhouse to have trust in the Blues.
One day, after spending all day fixing one of the pillars of the henhouse, which had been vandalized by foreign hoodlums that Ratz had invited into Forestville, Wally spoke to the henhouse about the future. “Tomorrow,” he said, “is an exciting day, because we will have an important visit from the Forestland leadership and we want to give them a good time.”
Some chickens were nervous, but all were excited. The next day started early, as the henhouse was swept, the windows were washed and the cutlery polished. Wally told all the chickens to wear the colour blue, as that was the thing to do. So they all put on blue dresses and ribbons. They chose blue make-up. Some chicks even dyed their feathers blue, triggering rolling eyes of disapproval from the old chickens.
Wally was pleased and after nightfall, he confidently opened the door. Stephen Fox and Gerry Ratz entered the henhouse. They whacked their baseball bats left right and center, from one end of the henhouse to the other. They dropped the bats and grabbed four hands full of dead chickens, left the henhouse and demolished two of the three pillars on the way out.
Wally raised himself from the floor, bruised and crippled, but courageously turned to the battered chickens who were still alive, with the comforting words: “It could have been a lot worse. Remember ‘they’ are going to pay for the crutches and stitches.”
And the one percent lived greedily ever after.