This week I heard a story that I just have to share.
It’s the story of a little red hen and a man named Chris.
Chris was the keeper of chickens in his backyard, including one little red hen, who, along with the others, was let out of the coop every morning to scratch in the yard, before returning to roost at night. Despite having her wings clipped, this little red hen had learnt how to flutter up to a wooden post and then over the three-foot wire fence into the vegetable garden.
The same little red hen had been having a hard time. Only a few months earlier, Chris had rescued her after the other chickens ate her comb. After about six weeks, when she was completely healed, he brought her back to the flock and could distinguish her by the missing three points of her comb.
Upon closer observance, Chris came to understand that she was no ordinary hen.
“She would cock her head, make eye contact, and hold my gaze as if to say - I am not what you think,” he said.
Chris sensed that she needed to be able to escape the other chickens, so did not want to disallow her from jumping the fence, but was worried about the damage she would do to the vegie patch.
Chris had recently returned from a workshop on animal communication with animal whisperer AnnaBreytenbach, where he had learnt how to send an animal images of desired behaviour.
The test case was a wild African elephant that had repeatedly escaped from the game park he had been moved to. The workshop participants sent the young male elephant an image of staying 20 feet away from the electric fence he had bolted through numerous times. Another escape would have cost him his life. A few weeks after the class, Anna informed the students that the elephant was much calmer and even engaging with female elephants for the first time.
Despite his doubts, Chris decided to try it out on the chicken, and sent her a mental picture of eating and scratching only in the walkways between the raised beds, and telling her that he understood her need to be free.
Chris watched carefully as the young sprouts came out of the ground, and grew, and grew, and grew.
“I always saw her doing the same thing - walking down the rows, taking her time eating insects, and digging up weeds,” he said.
Rather than a menace, Chris came to understand that the little red hen was adding her own “special magic” to the garden.
“I sensed her presence nurtured the young plants.”
“Perhaps like the children’s story of the Little Red Hen, she taught me an important lesson; that we could work together to grow a garden.”