The Chicken and the Egg

There once was a boy who lived in a cottage in the woods with his widowed mother. One day the mother sent the boy to the nearest town with some money to buy some grain.

“Now take this money and buy us some grain my boy,” said the mother, “so that we can feed the chickens who shall keep us in the eggs that we eat so well.”

The boy took the money and off he went in to town to buy the grain to feed the chickens to keep them both in the eggs that they ate so well.

On the road to town the boy saw a gang of robbers. He hid behind a tree so as not to be seen and watched as they went by. As he hid he noticed a traveller, walking along the road as he might have done. He decided to stay and watch what would happen. The traveller was instantly spotted, and he was set upon by the robbers in a rough and brutal manner.  ‘Away I must go’ the young boy thought ‘to buy the grain to feed the chickens who keep us in the eggs that we eat so well.’

Further along the road the boy went past a farm. As he passed the barn he heard strange noises coming from inside. Quietly, he crept up to the barn’s doors and peered inside. There on the hay was the farmer’s wife, who the boy had seen before. The man who lay on top of her however, he was sure he didn’t recognise. Fearing for the poor woman’s safety, he wondered if he should go and run for help. After a few moments though, he heard the farmer’s wife giggling and felt reassured that the man was doing no harm. ‘Off I must go to buy the grain to feed the chickens who keep us in the eggs that we eat so well’ thought the boy, and away indeed he went.

Just outside the town, the boy saw a carnival with many tents and stalls and games to entertain the townsfolk. One of these caught the boy’s eye. It was a big red tent with a man outside, who was loudly trying to coax the townsfolk in. “One gold coin,” the man shouted, “and you shall see a world beyond your own imagination.” Curious about the tent’s contents, the boy was eager to see what lay within. However, so as not to waste the money to buy the grain to feed the chickens who kept them in the eggs that they ate so well, he snuck in secretly with the crowd. Once inside, the boy saw many things; animals, birds and creatures that he had never even heard of before and when he had seen them all he left in a sense of wonder.

When the boy had finally made it to the town, the place was quiet, the market closed and the people all to bed.

Solemnly, the boy trudged home in the dark. As he thought of the day’s events, he couldn’t work out why the walk to town had taken him so long. He knew that his mother would not be pleased, so when the boy had finally returned home and his mother asked him:

“Son, where is the grain to feed the chickens to keep us in eggs that we eat so well?”

The boy replied: “The town had none.”

So they ate the chickens instead.


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