There once was a man named Fred. He was an old man who lived alone in a small house on the top of a large mountain in North Carolina. Fred had no friends or family so he was very lonely. To make time go by faster, he started to grow vegetables, which included cucumbers, carrots, and tomatoes. He also grew grain to make bread for himself.
One day in the middle of July, while Fred was weeding his garden, he heard a strange sound. He looked around but did not see anything. He heard it again, but this time behind him. He swung around to find a nice sized chicken eating his grain.
“Hey! Stop eating my grain you stupid chicken!” he yelled chasing it. He chased it all around his garden until he finally caught it.
“Ha! I caught you! You’ll be sorry you ate my grain because I am going to eat you tomorrow for breakfast!” he yelled. He picked the chicken up and carried her to a small, ugly pen next to his house. By this time, it was getting dark, so Fred decided to go to sleep.
Early the next morning, Fred awoke to a strange noise. He leaped out of bed and looked out the window. Much to his surprise he saw a brand new egg next to the chicken.
“Wow!” he exclaimed picking it up and admiring it, “This is great!” He started to think to himself. What if he fed the chicken more grain? Would it produce more eggs? He decided to give it a try. He fed the chicken one cup of grain and began to walk back inside when he heard a voice saying, “Why thank you, Sir!”
Fred turned around, “Excuse me?”
“I thanked you for this wonderful grain,” the chicken answered.
Fred was shocked to learn that the chicken could speak, for he had never heard of such a thing. He began talking with the chicken and she told him her name was Suzie. They quickly became friends and he decided to feed her a cup every night. Sure enough, Suzie would lay an egg for him every day.
One day while Fred was eating his egg, he came up with another idea. He thought on it and concluded that he was brilliant. He fed the chicken a cup of grain after breakfast and went on with his daily activities. He could not wait until the day ended. Slowly but surely, nightfall arrived. For the second time that day, he fed her a cup of grain. All night long, he dreamt of his idea. Since he fed her two cups of grain that day, she would produce two eggs for him. What a breakfast that would be!
Bright and early the next morning, he jumped out of bed and ran to the window. Where he would usually find Suzie and a wonderful egg, this time hoping for two, he found a piece of paper that read, “On strike!”
“On strike?” he asked out loud. Fred was completely confused. He could not possibly think of why she would do this. He looked around and saw the chicken heading for the dirt road. He ran up to her, and she looked noticeably larger than before. “Suzie, why are you leaving?”
She stopped and turned to him, “Look at me sir! I am as big as a cow! I simply cannot stay here and get any bigger!”
“So, you will not make any more eggs for me?
“No, I will not,” she replied.
“Fine!” Fred said, “I shall kill you then!” After saying that, he grabbed the chicken by the neck and killed her. Later that evening, he prepared and ate every last bit of the chicken for dinner. After eating Suzie, he was satisfied. That would teach chickens to mess with him.
The next morning, Fred woke up and looked out the window for his daily egg. When he looked in the pen, all he found was the ugly vacancy of hay. A single tear slipped down his cheek. He had no eggs, no chicken, no Suzie, and most of all no friend.
Fred realized how lonely he was without Suzie. From that day on, he rescued chickens in distress, kept them until they became healthy again, and found safe homes where he knew they would not be eaten. He then became known as “The Chicken Man.”