Peeper and Hawkins

Peeper and Hawkins

“Why is everyone still huddled in the chicken coop this morning?” asked Peeper as he stretched his scrawny wings and legs.

“Haven’t you seen him?” quavered his brother. “He’s the biggest crow I’ve ever seen!”

“I don’t think he is a crow,” exclaimed another. “He looks more like a vulture to me!.”

A loud ruckus of caws and squawks drew Peeper to the door. A menacing flock of crows lined the pasture fence, with a huge black bird claiming the center post. His wing feathers shimmered in the morning sun, his hooked beak opened and closed, and his sharp talons scratched deep scars in the wood.

Just as Peeper stepped back into the safety of the coop, the large bird’s voice screeched through the air. “Who will fight me, the Great Hawkins of the High Hills? If you win, you may have your freedom; but if I win, we will claim these yards and fields for ourselves. You’re all afraid of me. You are nothing but chickens!”

Peeper looked at his brothers and the other cocks cowering in the shadows. “Isn’t anyone going to fight for our farm?”

“He’ll slaughter us! Didn’t you see that beak and those talons and those big wings?”

“I’m not afraid! This is Farmer Goodly’s farm. He will not fail us.” Peeper turned to face the enemy.

“You can’t go; you’re just a chick! You still have downy feathers beneath your chin!”

“I’ve scared away a squirrel and a rat. I’m not afraid!”

The young bird puffed up his chest and held his neck high, and began marching across the barnyard toward the Great Hawkins of the High Hills.

The crows laughed and chuckled among themselves at the ridiculous sight, and Hawkins scowled with an angry gleam. He opened his yellow beak and bellowed, “Am I a mouse that you send this nestling to me? I’ll tear him from gizzard to tail feathers!”

“I come to you without fear, for I belong to Farmer Goodly.”

With that, the brave young cock lowered his head and spread his wings and ran toward the big, black bully. He cheeped with all his might and kicked up dust with his tiny claws. Just as he was within a few feet of the giant bird, a great explosion shattered the air. KABOOM! The crows scattered away in fear, and nothing was left of the Great Hawkins but a pile of shredded feathers.

Peeper looked about him in amazement to see a pair of boots on either side of him. He looked up and up and up, until he looked into the kind face of his wonderful Farmer Goodly.

– Yvonne Blake

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