There once was an audacious, magical feline. 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 fowl in his village, that particularly drew his ire.

For you see, there was a particular chicken among them – a mother hen with a loud call, and an entourage of clucking chickens without a single word of dissent for her. But although these hens 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 hen whispered to the group of chickens, “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 hen replied. “I think it’s best that we give her the benefit of the doubt.” The other hens nodded in unison before the chubby cat approached them.

“You do no favors to her, or yourself” the feline said 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 such kindness.”

“What do you know of it?” the younger white hen says. “She is so well known in our village, and a perfectly fine lady.”

“Don’t say I didn’t warn you” the feline retorts and waves his paw as he walks away from the chatting group.

Days passed, and the loyal group of hens followed the mother hen 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 the mother hen did not show up for their midday meal together at the old hen’s cottage. All the other hens gathered together and searched around the village for her. To their dismay, they saw her standing outside a white lady duck’s house having a lively conversation amongst themselves.

“They’ll be waiting for me at the old crone’s cottage” the mother hen says. “It’s not like they have anything better to do. They would be lost without me.”

The group of hens watches in shock from afar as the duck 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 hens return to the cottage, and after some time, the mother hen 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 hens.

“Is the food ready?” the tawny mother hen asks the older grey hen sitting at the other side of the table.

“Yes, my dear” the old hen says meekly.

The old grey hen slowly makes her way to the kitchen with the younger hens sitting at the table. Just as they return to the table with food and drinks, they all hear a firm, deliberate rapping at the front door. The old grey hen opens the door, and to her surprise, the bold feline greets her with a wave of his paw.

“What are you doing here, young sir?” the old hen says.

“I invited him” a short black hen at the table replies. “Come inside and sit down with us.”

Finding an empty seat at the table, the clever cat glances at the tawny mother hen 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?” the mother hen says defensively.

“You have already said quite a lot on your own” the feline replies to her.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about” she replies.

“None of the hens at this table respect you” the cat 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 cat.”

“If you are a pillar, then our community has quite shaky foundations” the cat 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.” The short black hen says – with the other hens 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 hen storms out of the cottage – no longer the mother of the group. As the afternoon approaches, the hens enjoy delicious tea and pastries provided by the chubby, candid cat.