She knew that in the way only a mother knows. Deep in her heart. Her yet to be hatched little one was safely nested inside the strangest looking egg she had ever laid. It was a speckled egg of green and blue and grey. Some called it ugly. Some of the know-it-all busy cluckers in the hen run even dared to call it evil. It must be destroyed before it hatched into a lethal, fearsome creature – a basilisk or a cockatrice, each as deadly as the other. It was well known that any hatchlings from such an egg wreak havoc. Why, their very eyes are known to kill with a single glance.
Some were heard to whisper that it was spawned in the dark of night by the very Devil Rooster of Basle himself. It has been said that dim in the mists of chicken-lore a rooster had laid an egg. For this heinous crime, he was condemned to be burnt alive as a warning to all cocks not to lay eggs.
It was not long before these whispered cluckings reached the ears of Sunshine. She was outraged. Fluffing her feathers, she strutted in her most imperious manner across the hen run to where a group of chickens were clustered, quietly clucking. They stopped as soon as they saw her. None would so much as look at her. Pretending not to notice their discomfort, Sunshine started clucking.
In the friendliest cluck she could muster she said, I have heard some very ugly rumours doing the rounds of late. In fact, they are SO ugly I don’t believe for a minute that anyone in this flock would have so much as dared think of them. Can you believe that some are saying that my beautiful yet-to-be born hatchling is thought to have been spawned by the devil of Basle ? Jealousy, that’s what it is. Just because my egg is different, doesn’t make it evil. It’s beautiful. And my baby chick will be too. Just you wait and see.
Ashamed, and feeling guilty, the other hens began to busily scratch dust baths for themselves. For some reason they suddenly felt dirty.
Sunshine strutted her way back to the nest where her beautiful but different egg lay. Settling herself protectively over the egg she tucked her head under her wing and went to sleep for it was growing dark. That very night, her chick began to stir and gently peck at the egg that surrounded it. By morning it had managed to crack it. Sunshine clucked and ran around her nest in excitement when she woke at the dawning of the new day.
The other hens in the flock woke to the sounds of Sunshine’s glee and ran over to have a look. There, newly hatched, was the fluffiest, chirpiest, happiest little chicken they had ever seen. And yes, it WAS different. But it was not a basilisk or a cockatrice.
© Raili Tanska