Once upon a time in a faraway land there lived a flock of chickens. They were the happiest chickens in the whole world. There was always plenty to eat and the chickens were free to range wherever they wanted. Eggs were plentiful and the happy flock was always growing.
One day, however, those happy chickens met with disaster. A group of very mean raccoons attacked, killed, and ate some of the birds.
The chickens went into a panic. They all began running around the yard as if their heads had been cut off.
“The raccoons are coming to get us! They’re coming to get us! Woe is us! We are lost.”
One chicken, however, kept her cool. She said, “Maybe something in the forest just stirred up the raccoons. Why don’t we just fortify our defenses and see how things develop.”
But the other chickens were much too frightened to listen. They just kept running around in circles, peeping, “The raccoons are coming to get us. They’re coming to get us. Woe is us! We are lost!”
Suddenly, one of the chickens got a brainstorm. “Why don’t we ask Mr. Fox to guard us” the chicken asked?
That hit a chord within that group of chickens. “Yeah, that’s the solution! We’ll get Mr. Fox to watch over us and protect us from the raccoons.”’
So, the chickens approached Mr. Fox, explained to him what happened, and asked for his help.
Mr. Fox said: “I am a good creature. Of course, I will help you. I’ve already got a plan for protecting your from the raccoons. It will require all of you to give up a tiny bit of your freedom to roam but this will only be temporary. Once the crisis is over, your freedom will be restored to you.”
The chickens were ecstatic. “We’ll do anything to be kept safe. We certainly don’t mind surrendering our freedom if it means being protected from the raccoons. Anyway, it will only be for a short period of time.”
One chicken — the same one, in fact, who had suggested that the chickens fortify their defenses against the raccoons — said, “Do you think we can trust Mr. Fox?”
The other chickens were outraged. “Mr. Fox is our friend. He’s willing to help us. Of course, we can trust him. Get with the plan. Be a patriot!”
On the day Mr. Fox’s plan was to go in effect, there was a big celebration in the yard. The chickens even dressed Mr. Fox in military garb and took turns passing in front of him, bowing, and peeping, “Thank you, Mr. Fox. Thank you for keeping us safe. We will praise you and glorify you for rest of our lives.”
At the conclusion of the celebration, Mr. Fox announced, “It is now time to implement my plan to keep you safe. Everyone will march into this big chicken coop that I have constructed. I can assure you that it is 100 percent raccoon-proof.”
The chickens, who would still become extremely frightened over the mere mention of the word “raccoon,” dutifully marched into the coop. When the last chicken had filed in, Mr. Fox closed the door, pulled down the latch, and locked it. Mr. Fox was now in charge of guarding the chicken coop.
And that’s the end of this tale, except to say that Mr. Fox, who had stirred up those mean raccoons in the first place, lived happily ever after.
Also, see: A Foreign-Policy Primer for Children: The Fable of the Hornets by Jacob G. Hornberger.