a fable by Cheryl Anne Merrick written about 1978
Once there was a small chicken. This chicken had lived alone in the field all her life. One day she saw a whole flock of chickens near a building. Though she was scared, she flew over near them. She was so happy! Now she wouldn’t be lonely ever again! All the other chickens would be her friends, and they would have so much fun together, or so she thought.
But by evening the small hen was not a joyful bird. In a lone corner of the barnyard she sat, a small huddle of dejected feathers. “What went wrong?” she asked herself over and over again. She remembered how she had raced down among the other chickens. How excited she had been about all the seeds to eat. Oh! how she had raced around dashing and grabbing seeds. What fun it had been to beat the big older chickens, and baby chicks to each grain of wheat! When the pan was filled with water, she pushed and shoved and was the first to drink. How proud she was of herself! All the chickens must be impressed with her. She was so strong and fast! Much, much faster than all those older hens and little chicks.
When it just started to get dark, she raced to the nests. She looked at each one of them, then picking the very best one for herself, she settled herself down for a good nights sleep. What a wonderful day this had been! She had just dozed off into contented dreams when she heard a piercing screech, saw a flutter of feathers, then felt pain. A big red hen was upon her, pecking and clawing. In just one bolt the small chicken was out of the nest and across the barnyard. There she huddled, confused and hurt. The few pecks hardly hurt at all compared to the loneliness and sadness she felt inside.
It was getting colder and dark. She had just decided to return to the field when she heard a noise behind her. There stood a very large hen. “Don’t be afraid. I’ve watched you today and come to give you some advice.” And this is what the wise old hen said:
“You will be happy if you think of others too, not just yourself.”