Everyone knows that chickens talk a lot. But most people don’t know what they are saying. I happen to be very fluent in Cluckish (the official language of chickens), so I am able to tell you something I heard the other day. It was late at night, and I heard lots of peeping coming from the coop. It was all the little chickies clamoring for their bedtime story.
“Please, can you tell the one about the Lost Egg?” one little voice cried.
And another said, “No, no, no, tell my favorite about the Masked Coon!”
Said a third, “Your favorite was told last time. I want to hear about the Red Light of Mraf!”
Then I heard a squawk from Uffie that really doesn’t have any word in English that its meaning corresponds to exactly, but it is generally agreed to imply “SHUSH!!” (Notice the double exclamation point.) There was absolute silence, for the chicks generally listen to Uffie, and all of them respect her immensely, especially after her recent promotion to Farm Mascot. She told them very clearly that she would tell them a story none of them had heard before, and that she would be grateful for no interruptions, because as no one had heard this particular story before, there was no need for anybody to speak while she was talking.
Here is the story she told:
“ONCE UPON A TIME, there was a royal family of goats. And all these goats lived in the same area. There were brothers and sisters, and cousins, and aunts and uncles, and mothers and fathers, and grandmothers and grandfathers, and all other relations that you could think of. And this family was very happy. They had humans who looked after them, feeding them hay and alfalfa, giving them fresh grass and weeds, and who were very good to them. Eventually though, there were so many relatives living in the same area that all of them couldn’t stay, so they began advertising around, looking for new accommodations.”
There was a shout, and one chick piped up, “Miss Uffie, what’s accommodations?”
Uffie grumbled, and said, “It means a home, a place to live, somewhere nice, like this coop.”
“Oooh,” the chick peeped, and an amazed wonderment went around the coop, with everyone wondering how Uffie could be so smart.
“Let me continue my story,” Uffie stated.
“So there were all these goats looking for a new place to live, because it was decided that only those who held the title of King or Queen could stay. Around this time, a vacancy opened up on a newly purchased farm, because one of the farmers couldn’t be happy with just chickens, and felt that she should branch out into a broader group of beasts. This person, we will call her Rosie, took a look at the goats, because the farmer who owned the land the goats lived on was her friend, and thought that she would like one of them. Then Farmer Rosie was worried that the single goat she had picked out would be lonely, and inquired about a friend for the goat.
“Farmer Rosie’s goat of choice was named Kitty. Kitty’s father, a King, was staying at the castle, and had to keep the kingdom running smoothly. Unfortuantely, Kitty had no brothers or sisters, and the only other goat realtive was her mother. Farmer Rosie, a humane farmer, thought the best thing would be for Kitty and her mother, Princess Maybelle, to stay together. One evening, Kitty and Maybelle said ‘Goodbye’ to all their friends and family, and stepped into Farmer Rosie’s personal carriage, and with much protest left the only home they had known.”
I heard a deep voice then speak, which was definitely Oreo’s, our rooster. He asked, “What model was it?”
Uffie, in her confusion, said, “The model of what? Farms don’t follow any particular formula.”
A sigh of disgust came from Oreo. “No, I didn’t mean that, I was curious what make was the carriage?”
Now, Uffie was no longer uncertain of herself and stated, “The best, it was a big, American-made, shiny, black truck with lots of horsepower.”
At this point I heard a low whistle break out of one of the hens, most likely Snowflake (as though she had never seen one or rode in one herself before, and as though it was a very impressive feat).
“If there will be no more questions, I shall continue,” Uffie remarked with a tone of slight annoyance.
“When they arrived at their new residence, it was night and they were tired, so the two goats slept. But in the morning the complaints began.
‘I liked the old fence, it was prettier.’
‘Our castle was nicer, this blue is hideous.’
‘How dare those humans think they can keep us in here.’
‘These oats taste funny.’
‘This water smells different.’
‘How do they ever expect us to sleep with all these cars going by?’
‘I don’t like these weeds.’
“And the biggest complaint of all, ‘It is not like how our old home was.’ So these goats found their opportunity to run away that very day. It was very fortunate for Farmer Rosie that the local farm dog found them and cornered them before they got too far away. So that night they were dragged, carried and pushed back to their new home, and locked in their ‘hideous blue’ house for the remainder of the night. In the morning, they were as grumpy as ever and began complaining how awful those humans were for locking them up. It seemed that for the first week all they did was complain.
“But something strange happened. The humans were persistent. Farmer Rosie petted them every day, and gave them oats in a magical purple bucket. Their blue cottage collected enough straw so that it began to feel cozy. Of course, the big change came when the grasses started to wither. Because then the humans didn’t just bring them oats, they also brought something better. It was the Mystical Grasses of Nom-Nom (also called Alfalfa by humans). These grasses are very special to goats, so the fact that Farmer Rosie brought some was considered a gift of a great price.
“By the time February rolled around, Kitty had really warmed up to Rosie. She would play with Rosie and follow her, so as you can understand they were really good friends. And one day when Farmer Rosie was heading up to play with the goats, she walked into the pen, and there was Kitty, but something strange had happened. It wasn’t just Kitty, it was Kitty with a little, fluffy, wet, white thing. At least that is what it looked like to an untrained eye, but my dear chicks, your Uffie isn’t an ordinary chicken, because I knew that it was (what is known as) a kid.
“So when Farmer Rosie managed to figure out what yours truly knew already, a huge smile began to spread across her face. I am telling you, if she smiled any wider her head would have fallen off. Then quick as lightning she ran back to the house, and returned with her human mom friend, and a red bag. When she reached the goat pen again, she walked over to the kid and wiped it off with a towel she pulled out of the red bag. And then she dipped the new princess’ (yes, it was a girl) hoofs in a special mixture that turned its feet yellow. Then Rosie petted Kitty and gave her a treat or two, then proceeded to pick up the baby.
“It did not take long for the new kid to have a name. She was given the name Meringue, due to the white color she had and the light hint of brown on her head that added a caramelized color. Meringue is a happy little goat, and is pampered every day. Farmer Rosie is so proud that you would think it was hers. And as far as I can tell, all the goats are going to live happily ever after. THE END.”
Oreo then asked for complete silence, because it was now dark, and thus past their bedtime. As everyone was closing their eyes to get to sleep, one small tired voice asked, “Will I ever see Meringue and Kitty?” Uffie replied, “All you have to do is look out across the field to where the sun sets, and you will see the blue cottage where they live. If you look close enough, you should see Princess Kitty and Meringue.”
As Uffie finished her story, I couldn’t help but smile to myself, because I had just seen Meringue myself, and I agreed on the pampered part. But I was also wondering how long until Maybelle has her baby. And what kind of story Uffie will tell about that. Then I finished up the chores (with my ‘human mom friend’) for the evening, and went inside to eat my dinner.