The Vegetarian Fox and the Chicken

The HENry

It was a great day!

The sun was shining again after a short heavy rain. A rain that gave the air that special smell, you only have in the summer. A smell everybody remembers, but nobody can actually describe.

It also was the day a chick broke through the shell of her egg and had a first look on the outer-egg world. Although it smelled great it wasn’t really what she expected.

Around her, she saw frightened chicken (and one frightened rooster) faces, so instead of saying mama, or “cluck”, she asked what was going on. The answer didn’t affect the great smelling air, but profoundly set the stage for the rest of the life of the chick.

The previous night happened to be a night where a chicken was eaten by the devious fox.

It wasn’t the first time it had happened. The fox knew his way around the yard and (fortunately for the fox) always found a way to snatch a chicken in the end. It definitely was not good for the atmosphere of the coop.

Anyway, the chick grew into a chicken enjoying live as much as she could and learned to live with the occasional loss of a friend or family member. And above all,.. she started laying eggs.

One night, the chicken was about to sleep when she heard a noise. She turned her head and, before she knew it, was looking into the yellow/brownish eyes of The Fox….

The fox was very straightforward and explained the chicken he was going to eat her and that she should not take it personal and all, but before he could bite her neck, she talked back.

This wasn’t something the fox had expected. Actually it was the first time a chicken talked back and wasn’t choking from fear and anxiety, which was odd.

The chicken on the other hand had been thinking about this day, since her birth because she understood this particular day had to come.
Sooner or later.
The day of the confrontation with the fox, that is.

So she was prepared and instead of paralyzing, shaking, trembling, screaming and whatsoever, she made him a proposal.

She said to the fox: I understand that you’re hungry and as a result of that, you feel a strong urge to eat me…

The fox was perplexed and forgot to attack the chicken.
Instead, he turned his head slightly to the left and wanted to listen to what the chicken had to say. He never in his entire foxy live had ever encountered a smart chick like this. So he said: Please continue.

…but imagine how you feel after you’ve eaten me, she continued. You probably will have a full stomach. At least for a few days I think, but then slowly but certainly a new hungry feeling will start to tease your brain.

The fox slightly turned his head to the right. Amazed and curious, he wanted to hear more. The chicken was right. She described exactly what always happened, so he nodded…

And then you have to go hunting for another chicken, hoping to catch one and all that time you’re hungry. And what if the chickens run out. What then? The chicken asked.

The fox couldn’t do anything but nod. She was right.

So, she said, seeing the fox nodding his head, I have been thinking about your situation; instead of eating chicken and be very insecure when you can eat your next one, I offer you a solution: I offer you a daily supply of eggs; mine to be precise, to be collected right outside the coop, every morning at 8.

I know it sounds crazy, but think about it: you’ll never be hungry again. But there’s a catch. You have to promise never to eat a chicken again as long as I give you eggs.

The fox was intrigued by this proposal, but even more intrigued by the chicken. Not only did he start to like this crazy chicken a lot, also the more she talked, the less he felt like eating her.

On top of that, the unimaginable happened: he found the offer tempting.
Not only tempting, but also very acceptable.

Well? Asked the chicken, what do you think?

The Fox thought:
When everything goes wrong, the only thing left, must be right*, and said: Yes chicken, I accept your proposal.

And so the fox went to the coop every day around 8 and the chicken put outside the eggs she’d laid the day before. The fox never felt hungry and never ate a chicken.

Life was good.
The chickens weren’t afraid anymore, were cockling and jumping around and not one chicken died unnecessarily (except for an inescapable Christmas dinner the farmer of the coop threw once a year). And the fox and the chicken became friends, sort of. Anyway as far as a chicken and a fox can be friends.

Sharing thoughts and stories.

Until one day, after 4 years of egg supply, the chicken made a startling discovery. Her egg production stopped. She wasn’t able to lay any eggs anymore. She pushed and puffed, but there was no change in the egg situation. It stayed as it was, like the shape of an egg:

The next day she had to confront the fox with this new situation.
Actually, she was preparing herself to be eaten and she couldn’t blame the fox. She made a promise and now she was breaking it.

Although she wasn’t really excited about the situation, she realized she had to go in order to save the coop. So after a few tears and a few goodbyes and farewells to friends and family, she went to her rendezvous with the fox.

The fox was already there, waiting for his eggs, when she arrived and the chicken, never hesitant, told the fox what was going on and even stretched her neck a bit so the fox could bite more easily.

She closed her eyes and waited for her moment to come, completely in peace, awaiting her fate, when she heard the fox’s voice:

Open your eyes, he said, so she did.
You don’t have to worry; I already knew it would come to this.
You did? Said the chicken.
Yes, I’ve noticed the number of eggs dropping gradually the last few months, and I was anticipating the fact that one day, there wouldn’t be any eggs.

So this is it? Said the chicken.
Yes, this is it, said the fox.
OK, eat me, said the chicken.
I won’t, said the fox.
No? Said the chicken.
No, said the fox.

Since the day we met, I’ve grown rather fond of you. I consider you a friend.  I can’t eat you. In fact, I couldn’t eat any chicken, even if I wanted to. When I noticed the number of eggs decreasing, I realized what was going on and that my egg-diet was going to end one of these days, so I started an alternative menu. I tried eating nuts and mushrooms and vegetables and I actually started liking them.

I guess I am officially a vegetarian fox now.

The chicken looked at him with the biggest eyes you’ve ever seen in a chicken’s head and she had to admit she was rather fond of the fox as well.

Give me a hug, she said.
And he did and they stayed friends forever.


The moral of this story is that even though in the beginning it seems as an impossible thing to do, eventually you’ll get it. Everything is a matter of starting. It is like Lao Tzu said: A journey of a thousand miles, starts with a single step. 

*Quote of Robin Williams, may he rest in peace.

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