Napoleon the rooster was worried.
Selfishia had not mended her ways. Since the day they arrived at the land of Lilliputians, she had been eating not only her own eggs but also the ones laid by other hens.
One day he lectured her:
“Selfisha, you will land in trouble. When you are a hen and people buy you and feed you day after day, it is for a reason. And the reason obviously is not to listen to your cluck, cluck, cluck. It is neither to do research on your eating habits. One reason why humans keep you guys as pets is your eggs. The other, more sinister reason for you, is your flesh. And even your hennish commonsense can tell you that it is much better to give them your eggs than to end up in chicken burgers!”
Selfisha gave a silly vacant look to Napoleon as if instead of scolding her he had been discussing the relative (de) merits of different political parties in Pakistan.
Her silly shifty look irritated him and he crowed loudly to vent his anger, and decided he couldn’t do much about her eating preferences.
And one hot afternoon, the inevitable happened.
Napoleon was standing in the veranda, when he heard Selfishia’s name. The Lilliputians were telling someone about the vanishing eggs.
"It is Selfishia. I have seen her eating eggs," one of the Lilliputians was saying.
Napoleon peeped inside. A fierce looking woman was sitting with the Lilliputians. The women thought for a while and said, “I can teach her a lesson. I know how to fix egg-eating hens.” And she stood up with the confidence of a doctor who had performed complicated operations all her life and now was only being asked to remove a thorn from somebody’s big toe.
Napoleon trotted back to warn Selfishia. But the woman was soon inside the cage to get her. Napoleon tried to protect Selfisha, after all she was part of the family. But a rooster is no match to a woman who has made up her mind to teach some hen a lesson. In fact, nobody is any match to a woman who has decided to teach someone, anyone, a lesson.
The woman grabbed Selfishia, picked a feather lying in the cage and inserted it in the egg-eating hen’s nose. Poor Selfishia! She looked like a hen with a feathery moustache.
After the episode, all the hens gathered around Selfisha.
“You--- look--- funny.” Lazee Bayzee laughed, paused and then laughed again. She was so lazy she couldn’t even laugh or talk in one go. She had to stretch and rest before every word.
Chandni was sad and sat down to lay eggs. Laying eggs calmed her in difficult times.
“If only the woman had inserted a twig instead of a feather! I could have eaten it,” said Goatia.
A crow came and looked at Selfishia with surprise, and laughing maliciously started singing:
Given a moustache because she was mean
A mean hen I have seen...”
Selfishia started crying and hid her face. “Now, even crows are making fun of me. I look like a freak,” she mumbled through her tears.
Napoleon crowed to frighten the crow away, and said:
“Didn’t I tell you? Getting eggs shells instead of eggs is not the Lilliputians’ idea of fun. You were supposed to give them warm eggs, not brittle egg shells.”
Kayseria, who had been quiet till now, said angrily, “But Napoleon, this is not fair.”
Kayeria was the only one who called him Napoleon. Rests of the hens were more respectful. They addressed him as Sir Napo or Napo Gee. But Napoleon ignored his act of disrespect, treating it as yet another quirk of hers. Actually, he was secretly in awe of her un-hen-like brain.
Kayseria continued her diatribe: “These Lilliputians don’t always do what they are supposed to. They don’t talk. They scream and shriek. Has anyone ever put silencers in their throats? There should be some justice.”
Napoleon knew she had a point. The Lilliputians were really loud. In fact, his loudest crowing was merely a whisper when compared to their normal-talking-voice.
“But what can we do,” he lifted his left leg, straightened his comb and bent down his neck to assume his thinking pose.
“Let’s sit together and ponder,” said Kayseria.
And they all huddled together under the tree near their cage, and started thinking.