Archive for June 13th, 2011

Once upon a time Chicken Little was walking along the village lane and saw a gaggle of geese going in a file. He crossed the lane in order to see them better. One goose stepped smartly and stepped on his little toe and it hurt. He flapped his tiny wings and was all astir. ‘This must be war!’ Chicken Little was certain. He ran to tell his Mama. But Mother Hen said geese were not on warpath. Chicken Little didn’t like to be proved wrong. So he asked, ‘How can you be sure of what I have seen, Mama?’ Mother Hen knew that she had to come up with a better answer to silence him. ‘It is common knowledge, Chicken Little,’ Mother Hen giving him an indulgent look said, ‘Had you laid as many eggs as I have, you will know you have been shooting your mouth.’ Chicken Little stood his ground and said, ‘But I felt its brutal thrust, yes I did.’ Chicken Little still staring at the scratch said,’ The goose-stepping marauders are on the war path.’ Mother Hen shooed him to attend to his supper and sleep off. Chicken Little did as he was told.
Later in the evening when the rooster came home Mother Hen lost no time in telling the news. ‘Order for mobilization has gone out. Geese have been given their marching orders.’
The Rooster said, ‘Is my comb all in order, Dearie?’
‘You are not getting mixed up in any of this?’
‘Sure I am,’ The Rooster crowed, ‘A war comes and I cannot let it go by.’
The rooster already saw himself as a Field Marshall. Mother Hen cackled in frustration. But Mr. Cock-a-lock said firmly, ‘I do not ask why I was given such colors when I cut a figure in a fight.’ Without so much as a good bye he preened himself and made a right about turn to face his imaginary enemies. Mother Hen ran a little behind him telling, ‘Go There shall be drumbeats and trumpets blaring as you march off. But when you return there shall be none.’
The rooster stopped dead in his tracks and looking at Mother Hen he said, ‘Lay your eggs if that cheer you up but leave the war to me.’ Without waiting to hear reason the Rooster merely marched on promising not to come back without covering himself in glory. On the way he met Porky who just had wallowed in mud and was feeling frisky. Porky saw Rooster and hollered, ‘What is the tearing hurry, Mr. Cock-a-lock? The Rooster mentioned a war had been declared. ‘How do you know that?’ Porky was not taking things at their face value. He countered it by asking, ‘ Tell me in a way I can understand: why would geese march in formation, goose-stepping across the country if not for war?’
Porky took time to digest this and the Rooster made a turn as though he had his baton already, ‘It is time to cover myself in glory.’ Porky didn’t buy this talk about glory. He grunted to admit,’ I covered myself in mud and let me tell you, and I feel great.’ The Rooster went off all spruced up. On the way he saw a Turkey who said war never appealed to him. The Rooster suggested he could prove his mettle. ‘Only war can take us to the top.’
The Rooster was sure war always ended in great rejoicing. ‘Don’t you wish when the President reads out recipients for Medal for Valor and you are among them?’
Mr. Turkey excused his lack of enthusiasm and said, ‘A war always ends badly for us. There will be thanksgiving and invariably we end on the occasion stuffed with sage. ’
The rooster thought the trouble with the world was they had no stomach for war. ‘There is a war and Mr. Turkey is already reaching wrong conclusions.’ He was certain he would not like to spend company with such fearful fowls.
On the way the rooster saw a fox and asked where the recruiting office was. The Red Fox saw the plump cockerel and said, ‘What a magnificent get up!’ Mr. Cock-a lock felt pleased. He returned the compliment, ‘You look no bad yourself‘
Yes Mr. Fox had his whiskers neatly drawn to a point and his thick tail fluttered, ‘’But are you dressed for the occasion?’
‘I hope I am,’ the rooster said somewhat shaken by the commanding presence of the fox.
‘Mr. Fox,’ the rooster stuttered,’ I ho-ho-hope you don’t think I will shy away when war has been declared?’
‘No, no’ the fox was certain, ‘ but you could do with more medals.’
The rooster crowed, ‘Cock-a doodle doo! That is why I am here to enlist.’
The rooster reminded again the fox where he was to enlist. The fox led him to his den where he asked the rooster to be bound over. ‘Why?’
‘Discipline, discipline. Think of it when your comrade’s life is in your hand. If you don’t have it you put your comrade’s life in danger. Think where this lack of discipline will lead to?’
Mr. Fox was very convincing and the cockerel was sure that the nation’s life was safe in his hands. Thus the cock let himself tied and taken to deeper recesses where he saw heaps of bones chewed clean. Shrugging at the mess the fox observed they were recruits who had no stomach for discipline.
Brightening up Mr. Fox looked at the trussed up cock and said, ‘Have no fear. But I have discipline that is far greater than all they had.’
(reprinted from Elves Bells of Nov.9-’10)

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