Jacob and his wife, Harper, lived with many animals on a big farm near a clearing in the woods.
The farm had a wide green meadow where the cows enjoyed eating fresh grass every day. For the cool nights in winter, the farmer had built them a cozy barn filled with hay so they could warm up and protect themselves from rain and snow. The cows were so comfortable on the farm that they gave the farmers plenty of fresh milk each morning.
The sheep also enjoyed the big field. They weren’t afraid of wolves because they all looked out for each other and Jacob counted them each morning. They snuggled together in the evenings and loved to look at the stars in the sky. They were happy to share their warm wool with the farmers each spring.
Three cats made sure that the farmers had no mice in their house. Harper didn’t like mice in the house at all. She stroked the cats and gave them fresh milk for keeping the mice away.
Barry, a farm dog, had a particularly important role. He was the oldest resident on the farm and he knew every animal and every nook and cranny in the area. He made it his business to watch over everyone and make sure no harm came to them.
The chicken coop was an especially cheerful place where twelve hens and a proud rooster lived. The hens chatted and walked around their lovely coop all day. Harper secretly liked the chickens best because they laid fresh eggs for her every morning, which she would then eat for breakfast.
Chloe was a little different than the other chickens. She was a stubborn and usually did her own thing when the other chickens were picking at grains, digging holes in the ground, talking to each other, or running after the rooster. She liked to explore the other animals’ homes and make friends with her neighbors.
All the other chickens regularly laid their eggs in their nests every day for Harper to collect. But Chloe liked to build her own nest in the tall grass or near the fence and lay her egg there. Then she would wrap a string around it and pull it with her beak to give to whoever she was visiting that day.
Eventually, Chloe became bored of the farm. She had met everyone and desperately wanted to make new friends. So she decided she would go see what was happening on the other side of the fence.
That evening, she went back to the chicken coop as usual, took her place on the ladder, and didn’t tell the others about her secret plan. As the sun set, everyone else dozed off, but Chloe was too excited about the next day to sleep.
The next morning, the rooster crowed at sunrise and woke all the residents of the farm. Chloe got ready for her adventure. She tied one end of a string around her egg and held the other end firmly in her beak, planning to give it to the first animal she met.
She looked for an opening in the fence that was big enough to squeeze through and off she went.
Chloe had never seen the clearing up close before. She was standing in the middle of the dark forest. The trees looked huge and the sounds coming from the forest were unfamiliar to her. Chloe was just starting to worry when she met a friendly fox.
The fox said in a pleasant voice, “What’s your name, beautiful chicken, and what are you doing here in the woods?”
“I’m Chloe and I’m looking for new friends. I already know everyone back on the farm,” Chloe explained.
“Well, you’ve come to the right place,” said the fox. “I love chickens and I will be happy to be your new friend.”
Chloe was very trusting. Everyone she had ever met was kind. She thought the fox was very nice and she offered him her egg.
The fox took the egg and said, “Thank you. Why don’t you come back to my den and we can have some lunch?” Chloe happily agreed.
By now, the others on the farm had noticed that Chloe was missing. The rooster ran all over asking all the animals about the missing chicken. But no one had seen her all day.
So the rooster went to the farm dog for help. Barry had a great sense of smell and the rooster hoped he would be able to sniff out Chloe’s path. Together they squeezed through the fence and ran into the forest.
They stopped, out of breath, in front of a foxhole.
“This is where the trail ends. Chloe must be in there,” said Barry.
They approached the den and saw the fox had put a pot of water on the fireplace to make some delicious soup.
Chloe had started to feel uncomfortable with the fox, but she didn’t know where to run.
Suddenly, Barry came into the den and barked so loudly that the fox quickly ran away. Chloe jumped on Barry’s back and they all ran as fast as they could back to the farm.
Finally back on the other side of the fence, the rooster calmly explained to Chloe that the fox had only lured her into his den to eat her. He was not a good friend.
Chloe now understood what danger she had been in. She hugged Barry and thanked him profusely for rescuing her. She was very glad to be safe with her friends again. She imagined she wouldn’t find her life on the farm quite so boring anymore.
It was already dusk and the chickens were gathered in the coop preparing a place to sleep. Everyone wanted to hear about Chloe’s day. Exhausted from her adventure, Chloe couldn’t keep her eyes open. As she fell asleep, she promised to tell them every detail in the next morning.