Three chickens trembled outside the monster’s cave. Their bravado, exhibited back in town when they declared they’d face the beast, had faded with each step away from the safety of the village. Now, they quivered together in terror.
The largest chicken recovered first.
“I’ll confront the monster. I’m not scared.” He marched to the cave entrance, shoulders back.
The other two chickens watched with wide eyes as their friend disappeared into the darkness of the cave.
The first chicken’s scream rang out. He streaked out of the cave, past the other two chickens, and down the road to town.
The second chicken stood up tall. “I’m not frightened. I’ll brave the fiend.” He, too, marched to the cave and entered the darkness.
The second chicken’s scream faded, as if getting further and further away. He must have run through the cave to the other entrance far from town.
The third chicken looked around. He was all alone.
He crept to the edge of the cave and peered in.
Dim light cast dancing shadows on the walls. Beyond the flickering forms, a short tunnel led to daylight on the other side. A large rock halfway through the cave obscured one whole side. Was the monster behind the rock?
He leaned further around the corner and gasped. What was that? One of the shadows moved.
Undeterred, he slunk around the corner and into the cave, keeping his eyes glued to where he had seen movement.
A hideous shadow moved again. Sharp pointy spikes stuck out of a misshapen head. Heavy sounds of breathing filled the air.
His heart thudded in his chest, yet he continued to advance into the cave. With each step, the breathing intensified and the spiky headed beast loomed larger on the wall.
He felt as if his heart would explode, but deeper into the cave he went.
His eyes flitted between the growing shadow and the rock which hid the rest of the cave from his sight. The beast had to be close, but how close?
He held his breath and stepped beyond the rock.
Nothing greeted him but a single candle, flickering in the wind.
No monster? He looked around. Only his own shadow moved against the wall.
I heard that story immediately before I climbed thirty feet into the air for a confidence course. The story teller held little rubber chickens, enough for each of us to have one.
The story teller prompted us to decide which chicken we were going to be:
- Were we the first chicken, who ran away at the first sight of something scary?
- Were we the second chicken, who got through it, but screamed the whole time?
- Or were we the third chicken, the one who acted in the face of his fear? The one who discovered the source of his fear was his own shadow, it had all been in his mind?
The story teller also prompted us to name our chicken. Mine is named Nike. She reminds me to “Just Do It.” She sits on my desk to this day.
What kind of a chicken are you? Share in the comments below.
*Photo Credit: Anne Hornyak, anneh632 on Flickr (Creative Commons License)