The barnyard was not safe. People were disappearing, being snatched. Someone had to keep the place under surveillance at night. They would elect a watchman.
At first, it seemed the obvious choice was Mother Goose. She had been around a long time, was familiar with the barnyard, was wise and experienced. And she had always especially loved the children, who were most at risk.
But some thought she had been around too long. Factions sprang up.
“We need someone with a loud voice to sound an alarm,” said her supporters. “Geese are famous for their loud voices.”
“True enough,” said others, “but she’s old. She sleeps a lot. She isn’t as alert as we need.”
There were alternatives.
“I’m so big,” Hog said, “that I can crush any intruder.”
“You’re too fat,” someone said. “They’d run away from you.”
“I’m fast,” said Horse.
“Yes,” said a skeptic, “but you’re too easily crippled.”
“I’m bigger and stronger than Horse,” said Bull.
“Yes, but you doze when you chew your cud. We need someone wide awake at all times.”
“I can do the job,” Ram said. “I’ll make any intruder butt out.”
“Well and good,” said a Mother Goose supporter, “but those horns impair your view. We need someone with good peripheral vision.”
Then Fox volunteered.
You can perhaps imagine the rest. It’s been accepted by Chronicle, a new online literary magazine. I’ll be delighted to post a link as soon as it’s published – by mid-April, they promise. Come back then!