As a child I enjoy a lot of children story. From traditional fable like Si Kancil, to fairy tales Sleeping Beauty. From Lebai Malang to Aladin. All are fascinating, but stories by HCA is definitly my favorite.
It's not always about princess waiting for prince charming to the rescue, or all you need is good deed, and it's surely not always end with "they live happily ever after!" It teach me about making a sacrifice to the loves one (Little Mermaid), hypocrite people (Emperor's New Clothes), surviving (Ugly Duckling), or even vainly death (Little Match Girl), among other things.
This year, we celebrate 200 years of Hans Christian Andersen.
So if you have spare time, I would like to share one of my fav tales... it's about gossiping..... :)
It’s Quite True
That was a hen house on the side of a town. The sun went down and the hens flew up. One of them preened herself with her beak, and then a tiny feather fell out.
“There it went,” she said. “Indeed, the more I preen myself, the more beautiful I become!” It was said in a jest, because she was quite respectable hen and all, and then she went to sleep.
It was dark all around. Hen sat beside hen, and the one who sat next to her did not sleep. She heard and she didn’t hear, as indeed you should in this world if you are to have peace of mind. But still she had to tell it to her other neighbor. “Did you hear what was said here? I’m not naming any names, but there’s a hen who wants to pluck out all her feathers just to look good. If I were a cock I’d despise her!”
And right above the hens sat the owl, with owl-husband and owl-children. They had sharp ears and heard every word the neighbor hen said. And they rolled their eyes, and Mama Owl fanned herself with her wings.
“I daresay you heard what was said? I heard it with my own ears, and it’ll take a lot before they fall off. One of the hens has forgotten what is proper for a hen, to such an extent that she’s sitting there plucking out all her feathers and letting the cock look on! I should tell owl across the way. It’s such a worthy owl to associate with.” And away Mama flew.
“Whooo! Hoooo! Whooo! Hoooo!” they both hooted right down to the doves in the neighbor dovecote.
“Have you heard? Have you heard? Whooo! Hoooo! There’s a hen who’s plucked out all her feathers for the cook’s sake. She’s freezing to death, if she hasn’t already! Whooo! Hoooo!”
“Where? Where?” cooed the doves.
“In the hen yard across the way! I’ve as good as seen it myself! It’s almost an improper story to tell, but it’s quite true!”
“Believe! Believe every last word!” said the doves. Then they cooed down to their own hen yard, “There’s a hen – yes, some say there are two – who have plucked out all their feathers so as no to look like others, and thus attract the attention of the cook. It’s a risky game. You can catch a cold and die of a fever, and they’re both dead!”
“Wake up! Wake up!” crowed the cock, and flew up on the fence. Sleep was still in his eyes, but he crowed all the same, “Three hens have died of unrequited love for a cock! They have plucked out all their feathers. It’s a dreadful affair! I don’t want to keep it! Let it go on!”
“Let it go on!” squeaked the bats. And the hens clucked and the cock crowed, “Let it go on! Let it go on!”
And so the story flew from hen house to hen house, and at last it came back to the spot from which it originally gone out.
“There are five hens,” so it went “who have all plucked out their feathers to show which of them had grown the shinniest because of an unhappy love affair with the cock! And then they hacked at one another until the blood flowed, and fell down dead, to the shame and disgrace of their families, and a great loss to the owner!”
And the hen who had lost the tiny loose feather naturally did not recognize her own story again. And as she was a respectable hen, she said, “I despise those hens! Such a thing should not be hushed up, and I will do my best to see to it that the story appears in the newspaper!”
And the story did appear in the newspaper; it was printed. And it’s quite true; one tiny feather can indeed turn into five dead hens!