Coming of Age Drama Friendship

 Once upon a time, there was a very talented little chicken by the name of Gray Feather.

Now I’m sure everyone is familiar with that famous tale about The Little Red Hen. Well this is not that story. This story is about Red’s cousin, Gray Feather, so...let’s stay on track shall we?

As the story goes, Gray Feather had heard all about how Red’s bread experience and how it had evolved. Sure, Red wound up eating all the bread, in the end, but she also wound up doing all the work too! That method, for Gray Feather, simply would not do.

“I will find a way to get my friends to do the work and I’ll get the bread too!”

Gray Feather smiled; as she began to plot and scheme.

Confident her plan would succeed, Gray Feather marched out into the early, spring sun where her fellow farm friends were just finishing up breakfast.

Gray Feather cleared her throat; to get their attention. She spoke loud and clear; her voice bold and strong.

“My fellow farm friends...we have come to the end of a very long, cold winter and our bread stores are depleted. We must therefore, prepare to bake more bread! If everyone is willing to do his part, we can have more bread in just a few short weeks! Who will help me in this great and noble task?”

The animals whispered amongst themselves, then gradually, one by one, each of the animals stepped forward.

Gray Feather turned first to the Oxen, Zeus and Palias.

“I need you boys to plow and prepare the fields for planting right away.”

Eagerly, the two oxen strapped themselves to the plow and went to work. Gray Feather smiled secretly with glee.

Next, Gray Feather Approached the ducks; telling them that they must collect the bags of wheat seed, then fly high over the ground, scattering the seeds across the plowed field. Happily the ducks went.

“Now, you pigs must go roll about across the field, mixing the seeds into the soil.”

The pigs oinked excitedly and hurried off.

The elephants, who had been standing nearby, didn’t even need to be told what they should do but ran off toward the watering hole, ears flapping and trunks held high in the air.

Before the end of the day, the entire field was plowed, planted, and watered. Gray Feather sat quietly, pleased with herself, as the sun set upon that first day.

Every day the sun rose, the barn yard buzzed with excitement and the elephants made their daily pilgrimage to the watering hole. They returned quickly to spray the field, keeping the seedlings moist and every day Gray Feather watched their efforts, watched the seedlings grow and smiled.

Soon it was time to harvest the wheat and so Gray Feather sought out the horses.

“My friends, the wheat has grown tall and now it’s time to harvest it. I need you to strap on the sickles and whack down that wheat.”

The horses hurried to do as they were told and soon the wheat was all cut.

In no time at all, the wheat was separated from the shaft and ready to grind into flour. The elephants, oxen and horses were strapped to a mighty stone grinding wheel and turning the wheel vigilantly, soon the wheat had been ground to a very fine powder.

The ducks and geese were called to the duty of sweeping the fine dust into muslin bags.

The bags were then placed upon the backs of the donkeys; to be carried to the kitchen.....where the flour was then mixed into dough, thumped and kneaded by the rabbits.

Gray Feather could barely contain herself as she watched the work being done from high up in the hay loft. High above the dust and labor of the task at hand; Gray Feather remained.

Clearing her throat once again, Gray Feather called the group of laborers to attention.

“Friends and fellow workers; our task is nearly accomplished and soon all will enjoy the fruits of our labors!!!”

The animals cheered! The ducks quacked, the geese honked, the cows mooed and the elephants reared up and then trumpeting very loudly they beat the ground with their enormous feet.

By midday; on that glorious summer Friday, the bread was baking, the bees were just finishing up collecting a jarful of clear, golden honey; and the frogs were busily treading fresh sweet cream into butter.

This was a good day and everyone was thrilled, filled with the joy of a job well done. The turtles patiently and quietly watched; as the bread baked.

No sooner had the monkeys taken the bread out of the oven, and placed the loaves gently on their sides to cool, than a loud cry sounded from out in the yard!

“FIRE!!! Hurry there’s a fire in the hay loft!!!”                                

All the animals scattered quickly. The owl sent the elephants to the water hole to fetch water. The blue birds flew high into the air; circling the barn in search of flames. The hound had his trusty nose to the ground; sniffing for smoke.

An hour later all the animals stood staring at the barn, confused to find that there was no evidence of fire anywhere.

Shrugging their shoulders; they all headed back to the kitchen and the much anticipated feast of bread, sweet honey, and creamy butter.

Stunned anew, the group stood in the doorway and windows, for there inside was Gray Feather. Her stomach was swollen and her beak was full to bulging with what remained of the hot bread, golden honey and sweet cream butter.

No one spoke.

Shocked and dismayed, the ragtag group of friends slowly turned from the scene leaving Gray Feather to begin digesting what she’d done.

Early the next morning, farmer Timmons headed out his kitchen door; with ax in hand. The animals knew what the ax meant and cowering into any available hiding place; they trembled.

Farmer Timmons spoke gently to the frightened animals.

“Mrs. Timmons wants some nice fresh meat for Sundee supper or I wouldn’t be out here. I don’t like this any more than any of you do.”

Trying to decide what would be most pleasing, farmer Timmons glanced about the yard.

“A goose? Maybe a duck or a rabbit.”

Spying a nice plump little pig, farmer Timmons was heading over to fetch it when a noise caught his attention.

Over on the other side of the yard a fat little chicken waddled heavily through the gravel toward a pigeon.

“You poor little thing, so fat you can hardly move. We’ll take care of that right quickly. You wont suffer a bit little girl.”

Gray Feather hadn’t even noticed farmer Timmons; in her haste to get a note off to her cousin Red. The entire bread event had gone beautifully and Gray was eager to regale Red with tales of her success. So what if the other animals wouldn’t speak to her. They would get over it.

Suddenly a gloved hand was upon Gray Feather.

Sunday afternoon was sunny and bright. A lovely aroma wafted out into the barn yard as life returned to normal on the farm. It is better to give than it is to receive.

It is nicer to share with our friends and be willing to help than it is to be lazy and selfish. We should always remember the golden rule;

“Do unto others that which you would have others do unto you.”

April 11, 2023 03:03

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