All About Animals: STORY 3. Adapted from A Chicken Gave it To Me, by Anne Fine.

 

Suitable for Key Stage 1 & 2

The story so far: Aliens have landed and swapped chickens in cages for people.

Revenge! Oh, ho, ho, ho. The very idea was ridiculous. Chickens arent built for revenge. We dont have it in us. Were not the sort to slink about for years, feeling bitter, and then, when the moment comes, plunge in the sharpened claw.

Were a bit bird-witted really. We mess about scratching through each day as it comes. By daylight the only thing on my mind was breakfast, and I was out there peck-peck-pecking. I wouldnt even have noticed I was back near the sheds, except for the horrible wailing . . .

Let me ooooouuuuut!

Heeeee-eeeelp! Heeeee-eeeelp!

Oh, it was ghastly. Some creatures make your flesh creep when they cry. Rabbits, for example. And baby hares. But people!

Saaaaave us, pleeeeaaaaase!

Quick workers, these little green men. While I was roosting overnight, they must have built these cages just for the people.

You couldnt help feeling sorry for them. There they sat; squashed in so tight they couldnt stand. They couldnt stretch. They couldnt turn around. Their pale faces pressed up against the cage bars.

Whats going to happen to us?

Let me out!

Ooooh!

Help us, please!

Oh, it was pitiful. But they were one up on us poor chickens. They could at least argue with their jailors.

Why are you keeping us in here? Are you planning to eat us?

Fraid so.

But thats outrageous.

The little green man busy filling their water troughs was clearly a bit put out to hear this.

Whats so outrageous about it? You taste good.

You cant just eat us because we taste good!

Why not?

Because were people, thats why.

The little green man shrugged.

Pigs. Chickens. People. Whats the difference?

Pigs and chickens are only animals.

So? Youre only people.

But were superior.

Not to me, buster, said the little green man. And scowling horribly, he left the shed. When he came back, he brought a mate with him, to give him a hand with the water troughs.

These people here, he said, pointing to the inmates of the cage. They say theyre superior.

Not to me, theyre not, his friend scoffed.

Thats what I told em! laughed the first little green man.

The people were rattling their cage bars in a fury.

We are! We are!

Superior? Come off it! The little green man lifted his hand and ticked his points off, one by one, on some of his willowy green fingers.

Horses are stronger. Swans are more loyal. Chimps live more peaceably. Sea horses have more babies. Dogs follow a scent better. Giraffes are taller. Squids have better eyesight. Camels go longer without water. Jaguars run faster. And little green men know more languages.

He had plenty of fingers left, but hed got bored.

I could go on and on, he said, picking up the last bucket and tipping the water smoothly into the last trough. In fact, I could be quite rude, and say that the only things you lot really had going for you was that you ran the whole planet.

Just before he slammed the shed door behind him, he added as an afterthought: Oh yes. And you taste better than chicken!

Lets Talk! Issues for your class to discuss
1. Why would it be wrong for aliens to keep humans in cages and eat them?
2. Do you think chickens like being in cages any more than we would?
3. What is the author trying to say about keeping animals in cages?
4. Do you agree?