There once was an audacious, magical feline man named Hardy. Outspoken was he, with round, inviting features, bold attire, a clever wit, and great instincts – about the inherent nature of people as well as matters of feasting, foresight, and fanciful pursuits. Though living alongside fellows of paw and fur was not always pleasant, it was the birds of a particular feather – gossiping, fowlish women in his village, that particularly drew his ire.
For you see, there was a particular chickenish woman among them – a mother hen named Karen with a loud call, and an entourage of clucking, chickenish women without a single word of dissent for her. But although these hennish ladies had their fuller figured, feminine leader, not all was as it seems where they roosted.
“Her baked goods leave much to be desired” a slender, young, white avian woman named Margaret whispers to her group, “and it’s clear she doesn’t mend and stitch herself – in spite of what she might say to the contrary.”
“That might be so, my dear, but she’s the last person to listen to such critique” an older, grey, avian woman named Ethel replies. “I think it’s best that we give her the benefit of the doubt.” The other hennish ladies nod in unison before Hardy approaches them.
“You do no favors to her, or yourself” Hardy says with a wry grin. “At some point, you’ll see what she is actually like, and regret giving such deference to someone who will never return your kindness.”
“What do you know of it?” Margaret says. “She is so well known in our village, and a perfectly fine lady.”
“Don’t say I didn’t warn you” Hardy retorts and waves his paw as he walks away from the chatting group.
Days passed, and the loyal group of hennish women followed the mother hen Karen wherever she went – whether it was for running errands, crafting, eating, or gossiping amongst themselves.
These activities went on for some time, until one particular day, when Karen did not show up for their midday meal together at the Ethel’s cottage. All the other women gathered together and searched around the village for her. To their dismay, they saw her standing outside the house of a white, duckish lady named Mary having a lively conversation amongst themselves.
“They’ll be waiting for me at the old crone’s cottage” Karen says. “It’s not like they have anything better to do. They would be lost without me.”
The group of avian women watch in shock from afar as Mary replies, “They can’t measure up to your sense of style anyways. I made sure of it with the garments I made for you. It’s not like they can afford these fabrics.”
Completely dejected, the group of hennish women return to the cottage, and after some time, Karen drops by with a few meager food supplies from the market – setting them down on the table inside the dwelling in view of the silent gaze of the other women.
“Is the food ready?” the tawny-colored Karen asks Ethel as she sits at the other side of the table.
“Yes, my dear” Ethel says meekly.
Ethel slowly makes her way to the kitchen with the younger hennish ladies sitting around her. Just as they return to the table with food and drinks, they all hear a firm, deliberate rapping at the front door. Ethel opens the door, and to her surprise, Hardy greets her with a wave of his paw.
“What are you doing here, young sir?” Ethel says.
“I invited him” a short, black, hennish lady at the table named Rosemary replies. “Come inside and sit down with us.”
Finding an empty seat at the table, Hardy glances at Karen with a mischievous smile – much to her chagrin, which makes her move uncomfortably in her seat.
“Is there something you have to say to me?” Karen says defensively.
“You have already said quite a lot on your own” Hardy replies to her.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about” she replies.
“None of the ladies at this table respect you” Hardy says boldly. “They fear you, but rely on you far too much to speak ill of your behavior.”
“I am a pillar of this community” she says defiantly. “I have great renown and influence here, young sir.”
“If you are a pillar, then our community has quite shaky foundations” Hardy replies. “You rely on everyone else to provide resources, but bring nothing of your own, and have no respect for those far more skilled than you. You demand food be served to you in the house of your friend, but only bring a meager portion of stale food in return.”
“We don’t need you anymore.” Rosemary says – with the other ladies nodding in agreement. “This is a house of friendship, and you are clearly only here for yourself. We desire people with the honesty of our new feline friend. Your deceit and arrogance are unwarranted, and you are no longer welcome here.”
Like a spoiled daughter’s tantrum, the tawny, hennish Karen storms out of the cottage – no longer the mother hen of the group. As the afternoon approaches, the avian women enjoy delicious tea and pastries provided by the chubby, candid, cattish Hardy.