One day, when all the hens were lolling about the chicken coop, nagging the rooster, something fell into the middle of the dirt yard, puffing a poof of dust into the air. Chicken Little started flapping and running back and forth, squawking, “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!”
No one moved. They’d heard that old story before. Everyone remembered how that drama turned out for Henny-Penny and her cronies and didn’t care to go down that fox hole.
The Little Red Hen watched the commotion. She thought she’d seen a chick leap from the brood box above, but she was certain no one would help the chick, so she said nothing.
Finally, sly Foxy Loxy, who had been waiting patiently for another opening like this, goaded, “What is it Chicken Little? A piece of the sky?” Hand it out here to me and I’ll tell you what it is.”
All the hens, along with Sir Clucksalot, huddled in a circle around the interloper. “Peep?” the biddy chirped, causing everyone to quickly shuffle a couple of steps backwards. Then, bravely, each took one step forward, elongating her neck.
“It has feathers,” crowed Sir Clucksalot, observantly.
“It has wings,” bawked Mother Clucker, the old bird.
“It’s a chicken. You’re a chicken. I’m a chicken,” Chicken Little ran and squawked some more.
“Maybe, maybe not,” prodded Foxy Loxy through the chicken wire. “Let me have a closer look.”
Though the chick scratched like a chicken and pecked corn like a chicken and gathered grit for its gizzard like a chicken, it was convinced that it was different. It looked up at the eagles circling in the sky and dreamed of joining them.
“You’ll never fly like that,” Sir Clucksalot said.
“Chickens like us can’t,” Mother Clucker said.
“And you’re a chicken, just like the rest of us,” Chicken Little squawked fanatically.
But the chick didn’t think so. He knew what he felt in his heart. Someday he would soar with the eagles.
One morning, as the farmer opened the henhouse door, the chick scooted out. Foxy Loxy can tell me if I’m a chicken or not, it thought.
“Well,” said Foxy Loxy, circling the growing chick, “let me look at you.” And Foxy Loxy carefully and closely examined every juicy inch. “I can’t quite decide,” said cunning Foxy Loxy. “I’ll have to perform a sniff test,” and Foxy Loxy inhaled deeply through his nostrils in a most satisfied manner. “One more analysis and I will know for sure whether or not you are a chicken,” promised Foxy Loxy, who then opened his mouth very, very wide.
The chick ran and flapped its wings. Foxy Loxy chased. The chickens in the henhouse clucked and clattered, “You’ll never get away! You can’t fly! Didn’t we tell you what happened to Henny Penny!”
The chick called, “Don’t worry about me. I can do it!” It ran and flapped, and flapped and ran, and kept going until it ran right off the side of a cliff. The wind caught its wings and it rose and drifted and glided just like the eagles. “I knew it,” it whooped. “I knew I could fly! I am different!”
But the wind died. The chick plummeted toward the ground. Foxy Loxy leaned over the cliff’s edge and yelled, “What I was going to tell you is that my assessments reveal that you are definitely a chicken!”
I’m still different, smiled the chick before landing in a poof of dust.
In the end, the pessimists are often right, but the optimists have way more fun.