Gladiolus, the hen, was walking the wide, wide farm with her chicks. There were seven of them that followed her. The chicks were all cheeping and chirping with each other until Lily, who had small patches of gray on her wings and head, suddenly asked a question, “Why do we have to follow you, Mama?”
“You don’t have to follow me,” replied Gladiolus. “You can go wherever you want to.”
“We can?” asked Crocus, the brown-speckled chick, and the only boy.
“Yes,” she said softly.
Pansy, whose feathers were a mix of gray and brown streaks, suddenly spoke up, “We want to go where we don’t have to scratch for food!”
“That sounds like a good place to go,” said Gladiolus in agreement.
“Will you take us there?” asked Pansy.
“No. That is a place that I cannot go.”
“Then we want to go where there are no foxes to bite us,” said Begonia, who was charcoal-colored and normally shy.
“Or hawks to carry us away,” said Marigold.
“Or horses to step on us!” added Daffodil. Marigold and Daffodil were the golden-feathered twins.
“That sounds like a good place to me too,” said Gladiolus.
“Will you take us there?” asked Iris, who was dark gray with splashes of white.
“I cannot go there either.”
Daffodil spoke up again, “Well, how about a place where we can sleep a long, long time?” The twin girls liked to sleep a lot.
Gladiolus sounded very sincere when she said, “That would indeed be a wonderful place.”
“You can’t go there either, can you?” asked Lily.
“No, I cannot,” Mama said gently. “But I can show you a place, my darlings, where you don’t have to worry about food or foxes or hawks or horses--a place where you can sleep a long, long time.”
Crocus spoke loudly, “You said you can’t go to a place like that!”
“That is correct. I cannot go there. But you can.”
All the chicks then pleaded together, “Where is it, Mama? Tell us where it is!”
Gladiolus stretched herself out wide and said, “It’s right here under my wings.”
The seven chicks then all huddled close, surrounded by the warmth and safety of their mama’s long and beautiful, multi-colored feathers.
“Oh, this is a good place,” said Iris.
“A very good place,” added Begonia.
They all quickly fell asleep. Gladiolus appeared twice as big with everyone resting beneath her wings. She waited patiently for them to wake.
When the chicks had finished sleeping, Mama opened her feathers and let them all waddle out into the sunlight.
Lily was already wide awake because she had been thinking hard. When she felt it was a good time to speak she said to her Mama, “Yes, that was a good place. But we can only go there if we are with you.”
“That is correct,” said Mama, as she began walking again across the wide, wide farm.
“Then where are you going?” asked Lily.
“Follow me and see,” Mama answered. “If you want to.”
In the zone