Once upon a time there were five little hens. They lived in a little wooden hut in a wood. A nice family of humans had adopted them, made meals and cleaned for them. Every time the family cleaned the hut, they made sure there was a fresh copy of the Financial Times on the floor for the hens to read while they were resting at home.
Sometimes, the family went on holiday, and then they asked their neighbours Margaret and Malcolm to take over housekeeping duties. Every night at 8 o’clock, these servants-next-door popped round, made sure the hens were in bed, and shut the hut door firmly.
One night one of the hens, Little Bad Hen, decided not to go home. She was having such fun in the woods, grubbing for windfalls and worms: and besides, it was still light. Nobody had told her that Mr. Fox lived nearby, and had hungry cubs to feed. Luckily for her, nobody had told Mr. Fox that Little Bad Hen was out and about. She got away with it, and came scuttling back as soon as one of the servants-next-door appeared to serve breakfast the following morning.
Little Bad Hen kept this up for four whole nights, clucking smugly to herself as she heard the servants-next-door scurrying about the woods, peering under logs and into hidey-holes searching for her. On the fifth evening, it rained. Little Bad Hen looked up at the sky. She considered the secret-but-chilly and damp shelter that she’d found, under little Felix’s toy wheelbarrow. Perhaps that wooden hut, where she could cuddle up to her friends and sisters was a better idea after all. She might even think about laying those servants-next-door an egg.