Once upon a time there were eleven little chickens. They were good little chickens! They loved to peck at their food, and they especially loved it when the farmer brought them treats–slices of watermelon, leftover cornbread, and even, sometimes, dessert! They fluffed their feathers from morning till night and the roosters loved to crow.
But those good little chickens wouldn’t lay eggs.
“Eggs?” the little black hen squawked. “I don’t have time to lay eggs. I have to peck corn and fluff my feathers and prance in the sun all day.”
“I want some more watermelon,” the rooster said. “This egg thing isn’t my problem.”
“It’s not my problem, either,” said Spartacus. “Leave my hens alone or prepare to die.”
Then the farmer said, “That’s enough out of you, Sparty! This egg thing is everyone’s problem, believe you me! What do you think roosters are for? Some eggs are for my kitchen, but other eggs are for making more chickens!”
And she got out a great big book. The book had red and white checks on the outside and inside it were lots of stories.
She flipped to a page and started reading to those chickens.
“This story,” she said, “is called Chicken Fricassee. Combine one-quarter cup flour, one teaspoon paprika, one-quarter teaspoon salt, and one-quarter teaspoon pepper in a plastic bag. Skin and rinse two and a half pounds meaty chicken pieces–breasts, thighs, and drumsticks. Shake pieces two or three at a time in the bag with the flour mixture. In a 12-inch skillet, cook chicken in hot oil–”
Those little chickens ran and ran and ran into the hen house.
“We’re glad we’re not chickens,” said the ducks.
“Hold on,” said the farmer. “I’ve got a story for you!”
“It’s called Duck a l’Orange!!!”
And then all the little chickens and ducks made big plans to lay all the eggs they could, as fast as they could, and nobody mentioned Chicken Fricassee, Duck a l’Orange, or hot oil ever again.