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Open Features: The Door Slammed Shut

Tresor Kabeya brings us a story from South Africa about a wicked which is determined to have a chicken dinner.

Once upon a time, there was a wicked dog who kept chasing the chickens.

One of the hens said, ‘I have been running away from this wicked dog ever since my children were born. He’s after my children, trying to decrease the number. In my lifetime, I have increased them one by one, and now he wants to eat all of them. Who knows how many of them he’s willing to snatch away from this earth? I only have three children, but because he’s so big he wants to eat all my tiny chickens. They will never fill him up! I have no shield to protect us, nor do I have a shell to hide my family in for safety. Please Mrs Duck can I enter your house, to hide from this wicked dog?’

And then Mrs Chicken said, ‘And Please Mrs Duck, shut your door tight. I don’t want him to see us hiding in here.’

But Mrs Duck said, ‘I don’t think what you are asking is possible. As you can see, from the east to the west, it’s all just mountains. There’s no river or lakes or ponds. There’s no water for me to wash myself and to allow me to play in when I feel like. That’s why I can’t shut this door. I have to leave it open to allow the rain to come inside so I can wash myself. You are a woman Mrs Chicken, and every woman knows how to protect her children from trouble. Why don’t you hide them under your wings?’

And the chicken answered, ‘Mrs Duck, there’s a different kind of trouble here now. Let me explain. I’ve tried everything. My wings are strong enough to protect them from the rain or the heavy winds that try to blow them away, but they are not strong enough to stand against the sharp swift teeth of that wicked dog. I have tried to cover my babies and stand up and fight him. As a mother, I love my children, but I’m afraid of him. I’m just a little chicken and he’s so big and strong and his teeth are so large and white!’

The wicked dog then said: ‘These chickens are making me run all over the place, they’re in every corner. No matter where I push them I can’t catch them. They are making me very angry. If I catch them I will make sure that none of them see daylight again. I’ll eat the mother first because she’s the one giving her children the courage to run. Then if she’s dead I can start enjoying the children one by one. Yeah! And how do you like that?’

‘Oh yeah! I’m going to have a good time; a very good time...’

‘Right, well I’ll have to keep close to them, otherwise they’ll get away,’ said the wicked dog. Run dog, run quickly! Go get ‘em!’
And Mrs Duck says: ‘I’m sorry Mrs Chicken. I can’t help you. I can’t shut my door. Only God can help you now.’
Then a huge wind blew, and the thunder roared and the lightning flashed, and the wicked dog arrived with his tail between his legs.

And Mrs Chicken’s children were screaming, ‘Mommy, Mommy, He’s coming, He’s coming!...’ and the heavy wind blew, and the thunder roared and the lightning struck and it sounded as if the sky was going to fall down.

‘Oh Lord Jesus!’ wailed Mrs Chicken. ‘I’m so frightened!’
But Mrs Duck wasn’t listening.
‘Out, out, you have to go out. I can’t have you in here. You’ll put me in trouble too with that wicked dog, and then he’ll eat us all!’

And the wicked dog heard her and he said, ‘Yes, she knows what’s going to happen. I’ll catch you all and eat you,’ and he ran faster and faster and was coming closer to Mrs Duck’s house all the time.
Mrs Chicken screamed, ‘Run children, run! Come, come to me at once!’
And the little chicks ran for their lives and went to their mother, while the wicked dog tried to get to the door before they all ran inside the house.
But he wasn’t fast enough, and the huge wind blew and blew, harder and harder and slammed the door shut with Mrs Chicken and her children and Mrs Duck safely inside, away from the wicked dog.

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