Little Half-Chick (Medio Pollito)
A Spanish hen had been sitting all morning on a large nest filled with very special eggs. They were special because this was the first time hatching a brood of her own. Her eggs had always been taken from the nest by the farmer before, and she had been disappointed by having no chicks to call her own.
Earlier that day, her first chick had hatched. He was a handsome chick, covered with down. Then more brothers and sisters started hatching, each as good looking as the first. How proud and happy she was!
The mother sat on her last egg. It began to roll around. She heard a tapping sound from inside the egg. Tap, tap, tap - then pop. The little chick's egg tooth (the hard piece on the end of its beak) popped through the shell. Piece after piece of the shell was pushed loose as the chick struggled to get out of the shell and into the world outside. Then, "Peep!" Mother Hen heard the first sound made by the last of her chicks as it broke out of the shell.
Mother Hen's joy turned to worry. This chick was different from all of the other chicks she had wrapped up under her wings. This chick looked like he had been cut in half! He was only a half-chick, or "medio pollito" as it is said in Spanish.
He had only one leg and one wing and one eye. He only had half of a body and half of a head and half of a beak. My son is only a half-chick. (Mi hijo es sobre un medio pollito!) "The poor thing," she thought. "He will never be able to grow up and be like his brothers and sisters. His brothers will someday run barnyards of their own, but he will always have to stay close to home where I can care for him. She called him "Medio Pollito" which is Spanish for Half-Chick.
Though Medio Pollito looked odd and looked helpless, he did not want to stay under his mother's care. He became willful and disobedient. When the Mother Hen called the rest of the chicks, they ran to her side right away. Medio Pollito came when he wanted and ignored his mother most of the time. He turned sideways and pretended he did not hear her because he had only one ear.
When Mother Hen took the family out for a walk, Medio Pollito would hide in the brush or the corn field and cause everyone to worry. Still, Mother never had the heart to punish him. She felt his physical problems were her fault. Because she did not discipline him, his behavior kept getting worse and worse! Medio Pollito was rude and disagreeable to everyone.
Medio Pollito picked fights with other chickens and with other barnyard animals. When Mother Hen took the family on an outing, he always disappeared, worrying his mother. His brothers and sisters began to hope he might disappear for good and not come back, especially when their mother continued to remind them that he was "special" and not to expect much from him. The only thing "special" about him was how he could be especially mean. Other than that, Medio Pollito could keep up with everyone!
One day, Medio Pollito came into the barnyard from the fields and told his mother, "Mother, I am tired of this farm and of everyone here. I am going to Madrid to live at the palace with the King. A special chicken like me ought to live in a special place! Some day, I will be so important that I will look down on everyone around me.
"You cannot go to Madrid," said his mother. You only have one leg and one wing. You would tire too easily. His brothers and sisters did not like the way he acted. Still they begged him to stay and wished him no harm. But, Medio Pollito would not listen. I will invite you all to the palace some time to visit me. Then off he hopped on his one leg. Hop and then flutter his one wing to catch his balance. Hop and flutter, hop and flutter! Away he went.
"Be sure you are polite to everyone," shouted his Mother as Medio Pollito hopped and fluttered down the road. But, he was in a hurry and as usual only thinking of himself and did not even look back to say good-bye.
As Medio Pollito went along, he passed beside a stream. The stream was choked up by weeds growing in it and with water plants. So the water was moving slowly.
"Medio Pollito," called the stream. "Please will you pull out a few of these weeds and plants so I can move more quickly? Won't you please help me? If you help me now, I will be able to help you some day."
"I need no one to help me," stated Medio Pollito. "I can't waste time helping you. I am on my way to Madrid to see the King. Pull out the weeds by yourself!" Then away he went. Hop and flutter, hop and flutter on his way to see the King.
A little later, he came to a fire that had been left burning by campers in the woods. It was burning very slowly and was about to burn out. "Medio Pollito, Medio Pollito," called out the fire. Please help me. Won't you add some sticks to my flames? I am about to burn out unless you do. Then, can help you some day."
"I need no one to help me," stated Medio Pollito. "I can't waste time helping you. I am on my way to Madrid to see the King. Gather sticks by yourself!" Then away he went. Hop and flutter, hop and flutter on his way to see the King.
Still later on his way, He was walking past a huge tree. Medio Pollito heard a moaning sound coming from the tree. When he looked up, he saw the wind was caught up in the branches.
"Medio Pollito," called the wind. "I am caught up here in the branches of the tree. Please hop up here and move the branches around to help me get free. Then, I will help you some day.
"I need no one to help me," stated Medio Pollito. "I can't waste time helping you. I am on my way to Madrid to see the King. Move the branches yourself!" Then away he went. Hop and flutter, hop and flutter on his way to see the King.
Medio Pollito hopped and fluttered, hopped and fluttered and occasionally fluttered and hopped until he stood on a hill overlooking Madrid, the capital city of Spain. "This is where I belong," said Medio Pollito, "I should be standing tall looking over this city every day, not hopping around a silly barnyard. I know the King will be glad to see me." Then he hopped and fluttered down the hill side and through the gates of the city.
Inside the city, he saw many marvelous buildings and beautiful houses. He hopped and fluttered past each one until he came to the most beautiful house of all. It was surrounded by tall walls that had towers with guards overlooking the city below. Two huge wooden doors were closed at the entrance to the inside of the gates, and these were guarded by soldiers.
"This must be the King's palace," thought Medio Pollito. He hopped and fluttered up to the soldiers at the gate. "Move aside," he demanded, "Open the doors to the palace. I am here to meet the King. He will soon have me in a position of importance. I expect to be looking down on all of you soon!"
The guards just laughed at this arrogant little half-chick.
Medio Pollito hopped and fluttered back and forth in front of the gate and kept saying, "The King will be wanting to see me soon. You should let me in. The day will come when I will stand in a position above you, and you will look up to me!"
Just then, a face looked out the palace window to see Medio Pollito hopping and fluttering back and forth in front of the doors to the palace. "Quickly," a shout could be heard from the mouth of that face, "Let the half-chick into the palace. The King is looking for such a chicken and wants him NOW!"
The soldiers bowed down to Medio Pollito as he pulled himself up to his full height and crowed at them. "I told you I was important! Did you hear? The King wants me, and he wants me NOW! So, get those doors open. For I will soon be in a position over all of you."
As Medio Pollito hopped and fluttered through the doorway, he saw a man running towards him with open arms and a huge smile.
"You are very welcome here," said the man. "The King wants you right away." Then the man scooped up Medio Pollito into his arms and carried him into... the KITCHEN. The King is demanding that I serve him CHICKEN BROTH with his dinner. I am the palace cook."
The cook threw Medio Pollito into a pot of water to soften his skin and make it easier to pull out his feathers before cooking him. The water was cold and clammy on his skin and caused his feathers to cling to his sides.
"Water, Water, Please quit wetting me like this. You are making me uncomfortable. Won't you help me please?" cried Medio Pollito.
"You would not help me when I was a little stream. You refused to pull out the weeds that were plugging up my flow, even when I told you that I could help you some day. You said you needed no help. Help yourself, Medio Pollito! What is happening to you now is punishment for being so mean to everyone around you."
The water began to heat up as the fire below it started to burn. The heat began to scald the half-chick. It made him hop and jump from one side of the pot to the other.
"Fire, Fire," cried Medio Pollito. "Please do not hurt me like this. You are so hot. Please don't continue to burn me. Won't you help me?"
"Ah, Medio Pollito," called the fire from below the pot. "Do you not remember when I asked you for help? You told me to help myself when I was dying. You said you NEVER needed help from anyone. I think that this is punishment for being so mean to everyone!"
Then the cook took the lid off the top of the pot to see if the chicken was ready to pull off the wings and cook for the King's dinner. "Oh, this will not do at all," said the cook. For the half-chick had scorched and had turned to look like a cinder. It was totally black all over like soot from the fireplace. Then the cook threw Medio Pollito out of the palace window.
Though he was cooked like a cinder, Medio Pollito was still able to call out to the wind, "Wind, oh wind, please catch me before I hit the ground and die."
The wind scooped up Medio Pollito and began to carry him high above the palace walls. "You refused to help me when I was caught in the trees," reminded the wind. "You told me to help myself and said that you never needed help from anyone else. It seems that your story has changed. I should not help you, but your Mother and brothers and sisters would be hurt if I let you fall."
The wind then carried Medio-Pollito to the top of the highest church in town and sat him down on top of the steeple. "You said that one day you would look down on others and that you would be over everyone else. So your wish will come true! Others will always look up to you and smile, for you will not be able to hurt anyone else's feelings again."
Then the wind left Medio Pollito standing on top of the steeple. When you walk through the streets of Madrid, you can see Medio Pollito perched on his one leg. With his one eye, he looks over the people and animals below. He still may be vane and think highly of himself, but his vanity is always controlled by the wind. For now we call Medio Pollito a "weather vane."
Dr. Mike Lockett is an educator, storyteller and children's author from Normal, IL. Dr. Lockett has given more than 4000 programs across the USA and as far away as eastern Asia. Contact Mike by writing to Mike@mikelockett.com in order to book him for a storytelling program or young authors program or to inquire about purchasing his books and CDs.