Mr. Fox was strolling through the woods when he noticed a plump hen sitting on the branch of a tree.
“Ah,” he said to himself. “Lunch.” But he did not say that aloud. No, he was far too cunning to show what he was really thinking. Instead, he said, “Good day to you, my lovely lady. May the angel of peace be upon you. May your spirit be uplifted with joy.”
“Good day to you,” clucked back the hen.
“Have you strayed from the farmyard?” inquired the fox.
“I have,” replied the hen. “I had to leave, you see. Cluck! I’m afraid that the farmer’s wife is no honest woman. She kept on stealing my eggs. Cl-uuuck! One day, I noticed a hole in the fence. I decided to pop through it, and make my own way in the world. Cluck! ”
“A hole in the fence, you say?” asked Mr. Fox.
“Cluck, indeed,” said the hen.
And Mr. Fox made a quiet note of that piece of information. However, right then, he had more pressing business to attend to.
“And how do you like living on your own?” he inquired. “Do you not miss the warm bosom of friendship?”
“Cluck! On the whole, I enjoy my own company,” she replied, “but of course one has to be on the lookout for tricky animals, who would like to have me for their lunch. Cluck! Cluck!”
“Have you for their lunch, you say?” laughed Mr. Fox. “Darling, that’s so last year! Haven’t you heard the news? We animals have seen the light. We have surrendered to the Power of Love, and we have signed an online Manifesto of Peace. It’s gone viral, don’t you know? Yes, the days of eating one another are absolutely over. Meat is totally off the menu. And nobody misses it, not one tiny, tender, tasty bit. The new in-diet is vegetarianism. Why, even the owl has quit a life-long habit of eating mice, and now lives on sunflower seeds. She feels so much better for it. And ever since the wolf found inner-tranquility through mindfulness and meditation, he has realised that he just LOVES turnips for dinner. As for myself, I’m rather partial to a slither of red, succulent, raw beetroot. Indeed, we animals are on a spiritual journey. We have learned that the only true things in this universe are – Love, Peace and Friendship. Share the memes. Make Love not War! Practice the Power of Now! Eat up your Veggies!”
“Cluck,” said the hen. “A Manifesto of Peace, you say. That’s news to me.”
“Well, cluck on down, and I’ll clue you in,” said Mr. Fox, trying not to lick his lips. “You can’t roast, I mean roost, up in that tree until you are past your sell-by-date. What a waste! And what a girth! Join me. We shall be best mates. Let us walk in the woods, you and I, and talk to the most spiritual and fascinating animals. They all know me, and have a deep respect for my soul. I’m so full of love. It just gushes out of me.”
But the hen said nothing. She uttered not one cluck. Instead, she stared silently into the distance.
“Come, come,” said Mr Fox. “The time to meditate is before breakfast. Right now, well, it’s practically lunchtime.”
“I’m not meditating,” said the hen. “I’m looking out from my vantage point. And what do you know? Cl-uuck? I see a pack of hunting dogs, and they’re heading this way.”
“A pack of hunting dogs, you say,” said Mr. Fox. “Right-oh, thanks for the tip-off. I shall make myself scarce.”
“Cluck cluck. What’s there to be frightened of? Didn’t you just say that Love and Peace have broken out amongst the animals?”
“I’ll tell you more about that later,” said Mr. Fox scampering off. “The dogs haven’t heard about it, yet. They’re not on Facebook.”
And with that, he was gone. And so it seems that the hen wasn’t so dim after all. She was right to be wary of a sudden offer of friendship – and of people who are full of slick slogans about love and peace, at least until they have shown that they practice what they preach.