After breakfast, they gathered in the play area. The four chickens all sat on the perching board facing the towel-covered pumpkin, and I sat behind it. They were filled with expectation, and I hoped they would not be disappointed.
“Yesterday, our own Bessie laid her first egg,” I began.
Everyone raised their wings in congratulations.
“And even though the pumpkin seeds were bigger than we had expected…”
Everyone nodded in disappointment.
“…Bessie helped me to roast them to perfection!”
Everyone flapped their wings in anticipation.
“She also had a brilliant idea for an invention. An invention that just may change all of our lives.”
Everyone was silent, wondering what it could be.
“It is a television with no sound so it won’t keep anyone awake, and it is fun for people and chickens to watch. Best of all, chickens can make it work and eat it when the show is over!”
The others all looked at Bessie, and she nodded to show that was really what she had said even though she had no idea what was under the big towel.
Everyone edged forward on their perch. Pearl looked as if she would fall forward at any moment.
“Ladies, I present to you The Pumpkin Puppet Theater!”
I whisked off the towel to reveal Bessie’s invention, and everyone clucked with astonishment.
“There is a little chicken in there,” said Gracie. “And look! She is wearing a ballet crown like a princess!”
“Where are the roasted pumpkin seeds?” asked Blanche.
“It’s not time for that part,” I said. “Now watch.”
Behind the stem was a bead tied to a main cord that went through the top of the pumpkin. It was attached to the puppet’s crown. The puppet’s wings and legs had a set of cords attached to another main cord that went through the pumpkin to another bead on the bottom.
As I pulled on the top bead, the chicken puppet began to move. Its wings flapped up and down, and its legs kicked out and in.
Except for Blanche, everyone was delighted beyond words. “Did that chicken eat all of our roasted pumpkin seeds?” she asked. “I thought there were supposed to be roasted pumpkin seeds.”
“Shh!” said Pearl. “What if she did? She is doing a dance for us.”
“And she is smaller than any of us,” added Gracie. “She may need them to grow some more.”
Even Blanche had to agree with that.