Monday, April 15, 2013

Justly Story Ch 7: The Nasties

Ch. 7: The Nasties

By Kristen S. Sandoz

Some time ago I began to tell you about Justly's quest to find a new place to sleep for himself and his new pup.  They had been outcast from the Royal City on account of the pups imperfect eye color.  The pup had one flame orange eye and one ice blue eye and this was entirely unacceptable for a hound of the King.  Justly had saved the pup from an untimely death on account of this imperfection.  As a result Justly had to leave the city and his warm comfortable bed under the Baker's oven.  Last time Justly had just fallen asleep under an ancient walnut tree to a lullaby from a lovely voice and finally drifting of into a splendid dreaming about his mother. 

Now, on with our story.

The voice that sang Justly to sleep belonged to our beloved Pearl and in the morning Justly heard Pearl’s voice again, along with a robust and craggy alto, and knew instantly that he was in the presence of royalty.  He knew also that this tree would be his new home.  He resolved to dig out some of the rotten interior of the old walnut tree as well as some of the soft dirt around its base in order to give himself better protection from the elements.  Soon after these thoughts Pearl and Hazel’s song ended, the old heavy cottage door creaked open and Pearl stepped out of the door to draw water from the well.  Justly, wanting to make friends in his new neighborhood, hoisted the little pup onto his shoulders and approached Pearl.

She was carrying a wooden pail.  She used this pail daily to draw water from the well to fill up the cistern in the cottage kitchen and to water the cottage’s small family of hard working farm animals.  These animals included 25 hens who looked lovely from a distance, but have a story all their own.  Actually, this story is a worthy one to tell so I will indulge my own love of chickens and tell it now. 

You see these ladies and their ancestors before them were rare breeds of chickens.  Hazel and her mother before her had collected them from all over the known world during their healing journeys.  It had turned into quite a hobby or even an obsession for Hazel.  It was a way she could stay connected to her late mother.  Oh, what a sight these ladies were!  Any traveler passing by the cottage would immediately notice these exotic ladies from the well-worn path that went passed Hazel’s home.  They were intriguing looking birds, some with puffballs for heads and others with puffballs for feet.  Still others had necked necks or feathers that made them look like a mop.  There were some ladies that were as black as the night with shimmery green iridescence.  There were huge hens that stood almost to your hip and with them were little tiny hens who laid little tiny pink eggs. 

This flock of chickens was so lively looking that often strangers passing by, who did not know better, would have a great desire to get better acquainted with the birds.  They would go to all kings of lengths to call them over to the edge of the road with corn, or bread, or barley berries that they happen to be carrying with them.  The extraordinary flock of hens would waste no time hustling and bustling over to this free fare.  They were like an entourage of fine maidens hurrying to be the first to try on Cinderella’s lost glass slipper.

At first the travelers would get all excited to see these exotics running their way.  But as the hens came closer to the offered goodies the more it became apparent to the travelers that there was something quite wrong with these ladies.  Indeed one could not call them ladies at all!  For as they looked like a lovely picture from a distance up close they were a freak show!  Every single one of those ladies was pecked and bloodied.  Not one lady remained with all of her once lovely feathers in tacked.  The fact was these chickens looked nasty.   Not only did they look nasty they acted nasty too, which is why their feathers were in such an awful state.  Many travels stood in shock and horror as these nasty creatures scrambled and fought for the bits of food thrown out for them.  Some travels, mostly of the female kind, would squeal in fear and hurry off down the path as fast as their mode of transport could carry them.  Almost all the travels who looked upon these wretched creatures would be plagued with dreams of these Nasties, as they came to be known,  for weeks to come. 

Why did they look so terrifying?  What had happened to them?  And why did Hazel keep such fowl creatures about her lovely cottage?  Well the last question is perhaps the easiest to answer.  Hazel not only loved these birds and hoped her love would reform them but she also knew that the lesson these birds had to teach the strangers who passed by was a necessary one.  It all started with one cranky hen pecking on all the others soon those birds got big enough and brave enough to peck on others.  Then after sometime the only way those ladies could treat each other was with a peck.  All the hens started pecking on all the other hens until every single one of them looked bloodied and nasty and horrifying.  Sometimes they’d get into such a nasty pecking mess that they’d simply peck one hen to death and they wouldn’t stop till her bones were pecked clean of feathers, skin and meat.  Horrid absolutely horrid! 

As for the Witch Hazel she would warn,  "nastiness begets nastiness, meanness begets meanness, selfishness begets selfishness". 

1…Now my story is done.
2…I love you!
3…Please kiss me.

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