Then the old Horses and Oxen talked among themselves. “We are stronger, wiser, and more useful than the Pigs,” they said. “Why does the Master treat us so?”
EE-SZE (Meaning): Why have some more power than others? Only one knows. Why have some longer life than others? Only one knows. Why do some try and not succeed; while others do not try and yet they do succeed? Only one knows.
A Widow named Hong-Mo lived in a little house near the market place. Every year she raised many hundreds of chickens, which she sold to support herself and her two children.
Each day the Chickens went to the fields near by and hunted bugs, rice, and green things to eat.
The largest one was called the King of the Chickens, because of all the hundreds in the flock he was the strongest. And for this reason he was the leader of them all.
He led the flock to new places for food. He could crow the loudest, and as he was the strongest, none dared oppose him in any way.
One day he said to the flock, “Let us go to the other side of the mountain near the wilderness to-day, and hunt rice, wheat, corn, and wild silkworms. There is not enough food here.”
But the other Chickens said, “We are afraid to go so far. There are foxes and eagles in the wilderness, and they will catch us.”
The King of the Chickens said, “It is better that all the old hens and cowards stay at home.”
The King’s secretary said, “I do not know fear. I will go with you.” Then they started away together.
When they had gone a little distance, the Secretary found a beetle, and just as he was going to swallow it, the King flew at him in great anger, saying, “Beetles are for kings, not for common chickens. Why did you not give it to me?” So they fought together, and while they were fighting, the beetle ran away and hid under the grass where he could not be found.
And the Secretary said, “I will not fight for you, neither will I go to the wilderness with you.” And he went home again.
At sunset the King came home. The other Chickens had saved the best roosting place for him; but he was angry because none of them had been willing to go to the wilderness with him, and he fought first with one and then with another.
He was a mighty warrior, and therefore none of them could stand up against him. And he pulled the feathers out of many of the flock.
At last the Chickens said, “We will not serve this king any longer. We will leave this place. If Hong-Mo will not give us another home, we will stay in the vegetable garden. We will do that two or three nights, and see if she will give us another place to live.”
So the next day, when Hong-Mo waited at sunset for the Chickens to come home, the King was the only one who came.
And she asked the King, “Where are all my Chickens?”