The Greedy Goose that Laid Golden Eggs: A Fable

greylagIn a kingdom long ago, a Greylag goose, after eating certain flowers and grasses, laid a golden egg in her nest. She lived on an island in the middle of a lake, and built her nest in the reeds.

Every day the goose ate the same flowers and grasses, and every day she laid a golden egg until she had a clutch of five eggs. She sat on them all day long, and when she left her nest to eat, she covered them with sticks.

On the sixth day, a young man rowed his boat to the island. As he walked through the reeds, he saw the goose sitting in her nest.

“Get out of here!” the young man yelled. “I’m taking your eggs.”

The goose stretched out her neck. “No, you’re not!” she cried. “I made them, and they’re mine. I’m not leaving.”

The young man drew his sword. “Then I’ll have eggs and goose for dinner.”

“Oh my!” the goose sighed.

The young man started waving his sword, and the goose, fearing for her life, flew away.

The goose was so upset at being robbed, she flew straight to the king’s castle. But when the guard took her to the throne room, the king was asleep. So she honked until the old man woke up.

“A young thug stole my eggs!” the goose said sadly, bowing before the throne.

The king, whose name was John, shrugged his shoulders. “My people are poor and need to eat.”

“But these aren’t eggs you can eat. They are golden eggs.”

King John’s eyes opened wide, and he ran his fingers through his long grey hair. “Real gold you say?”

“Yes; if I eat certain grasses and flowers, I can lay an egg made of pure gold.”

King John thought for a moment; then he ran his fingers through his long grey beard. “I’ll help you if you help me.”

“You can get my eggs back for me?” the goose asked.

“Probably not,” King John admitted. “But I can protect you from thieves. You can build a nest in the turret of my castle, and my guards will bring you grass and flowers to eat.”

The goose looked at the guard; then she looked at the king. “What do you want in return?”

King John smiled. “Only one out of every ten eggs that you lay.”

The goose looked into the king’s eyes. They were dark, swollen, and half-open, and she didn’t know if she could trust him. She thought long and hard; then finally she said, “Okay. One tenth sounds fair to me.”

And so, King John let the goose live in the turret of his castle where she built the largest nest a goose has ever made. (It was five feet wide and two feet deep.) The guards brought her flowers and grass to eat, and every day she laid a golden egg. She sat on them, stared at them, and sometimes, when no one was looking, kissed them with her beak.

When summer came to an end, the goose had laid one hundred golden eggs, and she gave ten to King John.

The following spring, when the goose started to lay eggs again, she was summoned to see the king. A guard escorted her to the throne room, and when he opened the double doors for her, she bowed her head and walked to the throne.

“My dear goose,” King John said, stroking his long grey beard. “My people are poor, and I need you to give a little bit more to help me provide for them.”

The goose raised her head. “But we agreed to one tenth.”

“That was last year. Times have changed, and I need you to give a little bit more.”

“How much?” the goose asked.

“One fifth.”

The goose looked at the guard; then she looked at King John. “What if I say no?”

“Then you can go back to your island and take your chances with thieves.”

The goose loved her eggs, and didn’t want to lose them, so she agreed to the king’s terms.

The following spring, the goose was summoned again before the king, and he asked her for one fourth. And the year after that, one third.

The fifth year, a guard came to turret and took the goose to see King John. But when she entered the throne room, she did not bow her head.

“Let me guess,” the goose said. “You want to renegotiate with me.”

“Yes, goose,” King John said sternly. “You have much more gold than you need. My people are poor, and I need you to serve the greater good.”

“How much do you want now?” the goose asked.

“Half.”

The goose thought for a moment. “No; that’s too much. I’ve spoken to another king, and he will let me live in his castle for much less.”

“You greedy goose!” King John shouted, his face red with anger.

The goose stretched out her neck. “I made my eggs, not you!” she said defiantly. “And I’ll do whatever I want with them.”

King John turned to the guard. “Seize her and lock her up!”

The guard chased the goose around the throne room, but he couldn’t catch her. Then he drew his sword, but she flew over him, escaped the castle and fled to another kingdom.

With the goose gone, King John took all the eggs that the goose left behind, kept a dozen for himself, and used the rest to provide for his people. However, when the gold ran out, the people were just as poor as they were before.

The Cat that Suffered from Dogphobia: A Short Story

cymric2An old man lived alone in his house, and he didn’t want to live that way anymore. So one morning he climbed out of bed, put in his false teeth, combed his white hair, and after he ate breakfast, he got in his car and drove to the SPCA.

He adopted a cat to keep him company. It had long orange hair and was missing one ear.

After carrying the cat to his car, the old man drove to a pet store to buy cat food, and a leash and harness. When he got home, the cat followed him to the kitchen, and he set the bag of items he bought on the counter.

“Would you like something to eat?” he asked the cat.

“Yes,” the cat purred. “I’m starving.”

The old man opened a can of cat food, put it in a bowl, and the cat ate it.

“Would you like a saucer of milk?”

“Yes,” the cat said. “I’m thirsty.”

The old man went to the fridge, poured milk into a saucer, and the cat lapped it up.

“Would you like to go for a walk?”

“No,” the cat hissed, and he walked to the kitchen table and sat under it.

The old man, not understanding a word the cat said, took the leash and harness out of the bag. “You’re going to love wearing this!”

The cat frowned. “No, I won’t.”

Kneeling by the table, the old man put the harness on the cat and clipped on the leash. Then he tried to walk the cat out the door, but the cat stepped back.

The old man pulled on the leash, but the cat spread his claws and scratched the hardwood floor, so the old man removed the harness and went for a walk by himself.

When the old man came back, the cat was sitting on the kitchen counter. He reached and tried to pet him.

“I’m not touchy-feely,” the cat said, jumping down from the counter.

Every day for a week, it was the same. The cat refused to go for a walk, and he wouldn’t let the old man pet him. So the old man drove to the SPCA and got a dog: a Standard Schnauzer with black hair.

When the old man brought the dog home, he took him to the kitchen, opened a can of beans and put it in a bowl. After the dog ate the beans, he started barking.

“More! More!” the dog said.

The cat came into the kitchen and hissed at the dog. “The dog has to go!”

“What’s wrong with you?” the old man asked.

“The dog will kill me.”

The dog shook his head. “No; no. I’m a good dog.”

The old man and the dog became best friends. Every day, they went for a walk, and the dog let the old man pet him and rub his back and belly.

Every night, after the old man went to bed, the cat slept on top of the fridge, and the dog sat by the stove and growled at the cat.

A month went by, and the old man couldn’t understand why the cat didn’t like the dog, so he made an appointment with a veterinarian. When the day of the appointment arrived, he drove the cat to the animal hospital, and the receptionist took them to a waiting room. The old man sat on a chair, while the cat sat under the table and meowed.

“Are you planning to fix me?” the cat asked. But the old man didn’t answer him.

When the vet came into the waiting room, he asked the old man, “What can I do for you today?”

“My cat hates my dog,” the old man sighed. “He hisses at him all the time.”

The vet got down on one knee and looked at the cat. “He’s missing an ear. What happened to him?”

The old man shrugged. “I don’t know; I got him from the SPCA.”

“A Rottweiler tried to eat me,” the cat said to the vet.

The vet petted the cat. “What kind of dog do you have?”

“He’s a Standard Schnauzer.”

“It’s normal for a cat to be afraid of a dog. And some Schnauzers do attack cats.”

The old man shook his head. “Not my schnauzer. He wouldn’t hurt anyone.”

“He’s planning to kill me,” the cat said to the vet. “He taunts me every night.”

“Is there anything you can do for him?” the old man asked.

“I’ll give you a prescription for diazepam. It will help calm his fear.”

“Let’s try it,” the old man said.

“Let’s not,” the cat frowned.

***

After leaving the animal hospital, the old man drove to a pharmacy and ordered the diazepam. When he got home, he mixed the drug in the cat food and put it in a bowl.

“I don’t do drugs,” the cat said, staring at the bowl. “I’d rather starve.”

The old man tried for two days, but the cat refused to eat the diazepam. So the old man fed the cat normal cat food.

But he warned him: “You need to learn how to get along with the dog.”

“He’s not my friend,” the cat said, hissing at the dog.

“I didn’t do anything to you!” the dog said.

“You will,” the cat replied.

That night, after the old man went to bed, the cat jumped down from the fridge and went to the bathroom to get a drink of water.

The dog followed him and said, “The master is good to you, but you won’t go for a walk with him, or let him pet you. You need to be taught a lesson.”

The cat finished lapping up water from the toilet. “Try it.”

The dog growled, charged at the cat, knocked him into the toilet, bit down hard on his tail and wouldn’t let go.

The cat yowled, broke free of the dog’s bite, and jumping out of the toilet with his claws spread wide, he landed on the dog and scratched him on his back, belly, and face.

The sound of the cat yowling and the dog yelping woke the old man up. He got out of bed and ran to the bathroom.

The cat was still scratching the dog, so the old man kicked the cat to the wall and stood between them.

“Why are you two fighting?” he asked the cat.

“It was self-defense,” the cat said calmly. “He tried to kill me.”

“No; no. I just wanted him to be nice to you,” the dog said. “He doesn’t love you like I do.”

The old man saw how badly the dog was scratched. There was blood all over the bathroom floor.

He picked up the cat, walked to the front door and threw him outside. “You’re a mean and nasty cat!” he yelled.

“I’m the victim here,” the cat said, landing on his feet. “The dog got what he deserved.”

The old man looked at the cat, shook his head with disappointment and shut the door.

And after that, the dog never attacked the cat again.

The Donkey King: A Fable

donkey-with-funny-face-expressions

There was once a farmer who had 50 donkeys. He used them to till his fields, and he sold the fattest and healthiest as pets.

The farmer, known as the Master, worked the donkeys too hard and fed them too little, so they decided to do something about it: They chose one donkey to be their king.

It was the duty of the Donkey King to visit the Master every week and demand better living conditions: more hay and less work. The Master, however, had no patience for a demanding donkey, and often punished the king by kicking him.

The Donkey King was granted special benefits for making demands of the Master. He taxed the other donkeys by taking a small portion of their hay; he slept in the largest stall in the barn; and because he was royalty, he attracted a pretty jenny to be his mate.

One spring day, the Master sold the Donkey King to be someone’s pet, and it was time for a new king to be chosen. Two jacks wanted the crown, and on Saturday night, after a week of hard work, they gave their speeches in the barn.

The first jack, whose name was Grey, said, “If you choose me as your king, I will ask the Master to increase our portion of hay. I will also ask that he reduce our workload in tilling his fields. But I will be honest. The Master is a stubborn man, and is unlikely to change his mind. I will, however, go to him every week no matter how hard he kicks me.”

The donkeys stared at each other. No one was excited by Grey’s speech.

The second jack, whose name was Sunshine, delivered his speech. “If you choose me as your king, I will persuade the Master to double our portion of hay. I will also ensure that only the 10 strongest donkeys work in the fields. The rest of you will no longer have to do hard labour.”

Hearing this, the donkeys got excited, and the sound of “Hee-haw!” filled the barn.

Sunshine continued, “I know that the Master is a stubborn man, but by engaging him in a positive and open dialogue, I will change his mind.”

A vote was then taken, and all the donkeys—except the 10 strongest who would have to labour in the fields—elected Sunshine to be their king.

The next morning, Sunshine went to the Master’s house, and sat on his lawn until the old man came out.

“Good morning,” Sunshine said with a smile. “It’s a lovely day, isn’t it?”

The Master, who did not speak donkey, wondered, “Why is that jackass sitting on my lawn?”

Sunshine began confidently, “I am the new king, and I believe it is in your self-interest to give us twice as much hay to eat. If the donkeys eat more, they will work harder, and it will increase our value as pets because no one wants to buy a skinny, sickly-looking donkey.”

The Master stared at Sunshine, and then he frowned.

Sunshine continued, “I also wish to inform you of a change in our labor agreement. The 10 strongest donkeys have volunteered to till the fields. Starting tomorrow, the other 39 will be given rest from hard labour. This will allow them to grow fatter, and then you can sell more of them as pets.”

The Master had heard enough. He walked up to the braying donkey and gave him a swift kick in the rear end.

Sunshine, realizing that his demands were rejected, returned to the barn and told everyone, “The Master is considering my request for a double portion of hay, and I am hopeful that we will see a workload reduction in the near future.”

The following Sunday, Sunshine went to the Master’s house and made a similar speech. But that day, and every Sunday after, the result was the same: Sunshine got a swift kick in his hindquarters, and sometimes two or three.

By mid-summer, all the donkeys were angry because nothing had changed on the farm.

In late fall, after their last day of labor in the fields, they gathered together in the barn and demanded that Sunshine abdicate his throne.

One donkey yelled, “You lied to us!”

Sunshine, however, refused to give up his crown. “I have been truthful to you from the start,” he said. “I am in negotiations with the Master, and I am hopeful that there will be an increase in our portion of hay and a workload reduction by next spring.”

Grey shouted, “You broke the promises you made!”

Sunshine thought carefully for a moment and said, “No, when I campaigned to be king, I set two major goals, but I didn’t set a deadline for achieving them.”

After this, the donkeys became very quiet. They stared at each other; they stared at Sunshine, and then the sound of “Eeyore!” filled the barn. They evicted Sunshine from his stall, ate his extra stock of hay, and made so much noise that the Master could hear them in his house.

Moments later, he entered the barn with a whip, started cracking it, and the donkeys opened their eyes wide in fear.

The next day, they were still in pain from their wounds, but they were happy when the Master sold Sunshine to be someone’s pet.

All the donkeys (except for Grey) were filled with hope. They would soon elect a new Donkey King, and a new king brought the possibility of positive change.