Holly Cole — ‘Zat You Santa Claus:
penned by Floerian Silverstring
Biggles the Chicken adjusted the tophat atop his head, wiping his brow with a wing. He always forgot just how long the trek was from the city to his home on the hill.
The farmland outside the city was the worst — it always reminded him of his imprisonment, far away. The woods that came after were little better — they were dark and full of dangerous creatures. He looked forward though to the hills where he lived — they were idyllic and quiet, and attractive to small creatures like him.
He walked now through the woods, and he was beginning to tire. He looked forward to a nice chair by the fire, and a mug of hot ginger tea, perhaps with a dash of nutmeg.
He was still thinking of tea when four forms appeared on the path in front of him. At first he couldn’t see who they were in the gloom of the forest, but then he recognized them — the foxes that lived nearby.
“Hello, little bird,” Mr. Fox said, growling.
“Mr. and Mrs. Fox!” Biggles said, his sweat growing cold. “A pleasure, I’m sure. And these must be your lovely pups.”
“Two of them,” Mrs. Fox said, and she sounded more menacing than her husband. “What are you doing in our woods, chicken?”
“Just heading home, I assure you!” Biggles said, doffing his tophat. “I’m coming in from the city.”
“You weren’t here yesterday?” Mr. Fox said, taking a step closer.
“No,” Biggles said. “I’ve been in the city!”
Mrs. Fox narrowed her eyes, and Biggles swallowed nervously. Then she said, “Better get home fast, chicken. The road is dangerous.” And the foxes stepped aside to let him pass.
“Yes, ma’am!” Biggles said, gave a little bow, and hurried on his way, wondering as he did what had the foxes so wary.
Back at his little home in the hills, Biggles sat in his little chair by the little fire, sipping ginger and nutmeg tea from a rather large mug. It was nice to relax after such a long journey, and he felt his eyelids grow heavy.
He was about to drift off to the Dreamscape when he heard a thump.
Biggles sat bolt upright in his chair, spilling tea across the wooden floor. He heart beat rapidly as he listened hard. What had he heard? Had he imagined it?
Then — thump.
He definitely hadn’t imagined it. He reached for his swordcane, imagining burglars — or some kind of monster. Could this be what the foxes had been so worried about?
He drew the sword and slipped from his chair, creeping towards the door, straining his ears for other sounds.
“Hello?” he called.
He peered into the gloom of the next room, thin sword in hand. Nothing but silence.
Then — a growl.
He raised his sword, and moved into the dark room. It had been soft, but definitely menacing.
Another thump, and a growl. It was coming from the back room.
Biggles felt a chill, and a slight breeze ruffled his feathers. He shivered.
Were those eyes in the darkness?
“H-hello?” he called again, his voice a little shakier.
Then the eyes looked right at him and he let out a bu-CAWK! of terror, almost dropping his sword.
The thing growled again — then let out a piercing wail.
“Leave me alone!” Biggles cried. “Please, I’m just a frightened chicken! Who are you?”
The thing didn’t respond — it grew quiet again, watching Biggles. He couldn’t make out what it was in the darkness.
Holding his sword in front of him, he fumbled for a match with his other wing. He struck the match, but it didn’t light. He struck again — nothing. Then on the third strike, the match flared — and Biggles saw what was watching him.
It was a tiny baby fox, with huge blue eyes, shivering in the back room, cold wind coming through the open door.
Biggles clucked with sudden sympathy. “Oh, you poor thing,” he said, dropping his sword and lighting a candle with the match. “You must be terrified! I bet you’re the Foxes’ youngest. No wonder they were so worried — their child was missing!”
The little baby fox wimpered in reply.
“It’s okay, little one. I won’t hurt you — you gave me quite a scare!”
And Biggles carefully bundled the little guy into his wings.
“Let’s get you home,” he said.
The foxes were very happy to see their little child, after only a brief suspicion that Biggles had taken the pup in the first place. But after he explained what happened, hey took the pup in their arms, thanked Biggles, and apologized for their behaviour earlier.
“That’s okay,” Biggles said. “Sometimes we get scared of the most harmless things — but at least it keeps us safe!”
This is part of a series of posts I’m writing every day of December until Christmas, musing on my 25 favourite Christmas songs. The first one is here.
Biggles the Chicken is the star of a number of fables. Read a Christmas-related one here.