An unsolved problem
The proud cock stood perched high on top of the chicken coop whilst dutifully observing the activities in the yard below. Sometimes he craned his neck and crowed loudly just to remind the hens that it was he, who was the master in this place. The hens meanwhile carried on with their daily business. They scampered here and there, scratched in the dust as they searched for worms, and tugged at blades of grass. Being thirsty they dipped their bills into the water-bowl, then craned their heads high in the air and allowed the drops of water to trickle down their gullets. They repeated this again and again until their thirst was quenched.
From his lookout the cock blinked at the sun. He was feeling bored, for it seemed as if nothing could disturb the peace in the yard. Then, suddenly he heard loud cackling noises coming from a distant corner where a dispute had broken out between some of his flock. A quarrel he thought. He didn’t like this, not at all. If anyone picked a quarrel it was his job and no one else’s. Angrily he descended from his perch to check what all the fuss was about. He strutted majestically to the corner where the noise came from. Each step was reminiscent of a guard to be found marching in front of a king’s castle. He jerked each leg after the other as if he were kicking a football. Each pace he took was made in a deliberate and determined manner and if the spurs at his heels would have been made from metal, like those on the boots of a rider, it would have sounded like jingle-bells. In this way he was demonstrating his authority over those unruly chickens.
When the cock neared the place where the dispute occurred, he stopped with one leg raised and his head inclined to the side so as to better hear what the quarrel was about. It seemed one of the younger hens had raised an old question: “Which came first in this world, the chicken or the egg”? As usual the chickens couldn’t agree amongst themselves about this vexing problem. So the cock seized the opportunity to demonstrate his mental superiority. “The egg was first” , he stated with the true ring of conviction, “each of you hatched as a chick from an egg before growing up to be a hen”. The cock’s wise speech seemed to settle the quarrel for a moment. But the young hen who had started the dispute and who was unaware she should never ever doubt the word of a cock, asked harmlessly: “And which hen laid the first egg”?
All rights belong to its author. It was published on e-Stories.org by demand of Karl Wiener.
Published on e-Stories.org on 10.01.2008.