CHICKEN LITTLE FOR GROWNUPS
In the children's version of everyones favorite political fable, Chicken Little, struck on the
head by a falling acorn, runs off to tell the king, collecting on the way an entourage of
other animals. In the end they are lured into a fox's den and eaten, victims of their own
In the more realistic adult version it is not themselves alone that the
hysterics destroy. Chicken
Little runs around screeching and squawking that the sky is falling. Other hens, infected
by the hysteria, take up the refrain. Some, under the oak, are themselves hit by falling
acorns. Within minutes the barnyard is filled with Chicken Littles running around in
frantic circles cackling and squawking, "The sky is falling! The sky is
falling!" They knock over their feeding trough and waterer and even break a hole
in the fence through which some flee seeking to escape the threat. The noise
is so overpowering, the hysteria so contagious, that few can hold out against it.
Nevertheless, a few of the hens take the trouble to look upward and find that the sky is not
actually falling in spite of the passionate cries of the true believers. So they go on
pecking and scratching for food. One or two even notice that only those under
the oak tree get hit on the head. So they peck and scratch elsewhere.
But not for long. Soon the Chicken Littles realize that some of their neighbors are going
business as though the sky were not falling. It doesn't take the Chicken Little mind long to
realize that any hen not afraid of the falling sky must be responsible for whatever dark
forces are causing it to fall.
So the Chicken Littles attack their more observant brethren and peck them to death,
leaving the barnyard a gory scene of bloody bits of flesh and bone and
flying feathers. Those who have fled return to take their part in the
purge. The acorns have all fallen from the oak by this time, so nobody now gets hit on the
Chicken Littles heave a collective sigh of relief and go back to clucking and scratching
placidly, secure in the knowledge that they have averted disaster by their prompt
action in identifying those responsible and eliminating them.
So intent are they on their self-congratulatory cackling that none notice the
fox slipping in through the hole they've knocked in the fence.