A long week filled with hard work is coming to an end. Crickets are chirping, the air is warm and the sun is beginning to sink on the horizon. The mouth-watering smell of chicken sizzling on the open fire wafts through the entrance of the doghouse, where «Tommy», the farm’s friendly guard dog is peacefully dozing. Awoken by the whiff of something edible, Tommy slowly stirs and raises his slightly damp nose in the air: «Where is that divine scent coming from?», he marvels. Curious and hungry, he gets to his feet and begins to search for its source.
His trusty nose leads him to the backside of the pig pen, where the farm’s family is gathered in front of a crackling bonfire. The farmer, Tommy’s master, is leisurely rotating a pole on which multiple scrumptious-looking chickens are impaled. The luscious smell is now stronger than ever, Tommy can only just restrain himself from grabbing the delicious-looking meat. Drooling with delight and sweating from the warmth of the flames, he lays down on dirt ground, muttering to himself about unfairness of the situation.
Suddenly, a squeal breaks the silence. A small piglet from the nearby pig pen has escaped and is running towards the fields, where it would disappear in the man-high stalks of corn. The entire family springs up in surprise and starts the pursuit. «Now’s my chance!», Tommy says to himself, and quickly sneaks up to the flaming fire. Luckily, Tommy’s master had let the pole drop in the hassle, and a crispy, light-brown chicken had fallen aside the burning pit. Eyes bulging in delight, Tommy snatches it hastily between his jaws. «I shouldn’t be doing this», he scolds himself, but his hunger overrules his better judgement. His ears pick up the returning family, piglet in arms. Forgetting about his moral dilemma, Tommy frantically escapes – meal in jaw – and returns to his house. Scared of a reprimanding, Tommy quickly licks his lips and devours – amidst noisy slurping, crunching, and smacking – the entire chicken, including the carcass. «What a meal!», Tommy exclaims will a full stomach, and quickly drowses off to sleep.
«BAM». An ear-splitting crack followed by deafening silence startles Tommy awake. «What in the world was that?», Tommy yells, disoriented and confused. He jumps to his feet and runs off to investigate. Lying in the dust in front of the main barn lies the local red-tailed fox, «Henry». Tommy despised him utterly, as he was constantly attempting to kidnap chickens from the pen. They both had a long history behind them, but that didn’t matter now. Tommy was a quick thinker – he suspected what had occurred. A faint «Help me!» escapes poor Henry, lying helpless in a small puddle of blood. It seemed as though the bullet had entered his hind leg, effectively hindering him from escaping.
A little ways away from the barn, the farmer – Tommy’s master and trusted friend – was standing, double-barreled rifle in hand, smoke escaping its butt. The sun was setting in the distance, it was getting dark quickly. «No time to lose», Tommy rapidly concludes, and runs over to assist his longtime nemesis Henry. He needed to stand up for his mistake, no-one else should take the fall for it, although he honestly wouldn’t mind getting rid of Henry.
«Everything will be alright», Tommy soothingly consoles Henry, «why is he shooting at you?». «He … convinced I … a chicken … cooking … fire», Henry faintingly responds, gasping for breath as he does so. «The pain!», he exclaims, gritting his teeth in distress. Tommy crouches in front of Henry, protecting him from his master’s rifle’s range. «Let him be, Master!», Tommy yells, «It was I who consumed your chicken. I apologize! Punish me, not him!». A surprised look replaces the fear and hurt in Henry’s eyes. A tear of happiness drops to the ground, moistening a small speck of dust and turning it to mud.
The farmer, only fluent in English, doesn’t understand Tommy’s words. He however sees Tommy’s protectiveness in regards to Henry, and slowly but surely lowers his deadly weapon. Relieved, Tommy starts coughing abruptly. He retches once, twice, and spits out – amidst a coughing fit – the entire carcass of the chicken he ate earlier. At once the farmer comprehends and drops his rifle. He sprints inside the farmhouse, and quickly returns with a first-aid kit. Henry starts to quiver as he approaches, but with a slight nod Tommy gives him to understand he need not worry. With firm hands, the farmer proficiently dresses Henry’s wounds whilst comfortingly caressing his light-red fur. «I’ll leave you two to work it out», he says, thinking they don’t understand him, and walks away in the dark, back to the bonfire, all the while shaking his head in wonder at the peculiar events he had just witnessed.
«I’m truly sorry, Henry», Tommy apologizes with stern visage. «You shouldn’t have been punished for my bad deed. I hope you can forgive me.» «I do, Tommy, I’m delighted and frankly quite astounded that you stood up for me, considering our history», Henry answers with a sincere look. «It was stupid of me to take that chicken, I should’ve known better. But I was extremely hungry», Tommy tries to justify his actions with a sheepish smile. «It’s alright Tommy, no hard feelings. Now I must be off to feed my family, they’re just as hungry as you were!». Tommy asks him to wait, and dashes off. Moments later he returns with another fried chicken in his jaws – this time with the farmer’s permission – and gives it to Henry. «Here you go mate, ‘En Guete!’». Henry thanks him silently, and limps off into the dark fields, chicken in mouth. Tommy chuckles to himself, and strolls back to his house, pondering the evening’s events and anticipating a long night’s sleep.
Moral: Stand Up For Your Mistakes
Inspired by Kevin, who bravely stood up for his mistake.