How the Chicken Got Her Name

Once upon a time, Alice Buchanan was having a problem with her chickens. They were laying eggs all over the woods instead of in their nests so that even if Alice found any, she had no idea how old they were and whether she could still eat them. She was able to identify two errant birds that she then gave to Hector Flores’s mother to cook up for dinner and got new chickens that hopefully would behave better. I learned this because the other day, I found Hector crouched in my bushes making cooing sounds and reaching out with both hands in supplication. “Excuse me,” he said (to me). “I’m trying to catch my chicken.” “Oh?” “Yes, it has escaped.” He lunged and a great squawking emerged from the bush. Then a beautiful black and white hen scurried out and ran down a narrow path. Hector ran after it. He said he didn’t need any help so I went inside to spend a peaceful evening.

The next day, however, there was more chicken news. During the night, the escaped hen had made it all the way from the river back to Alice’s on Woods Road. Alice called Hector to tell him to come get his chicken. When he appeared, the hen recognized him and made a great fuss. She ran over to her rooster and pointed Hector out to him. Things were now getting serious.

While Alice and Hector were debating what to do, they had to acknowledge the spirit—and may I say it?—intelligence of the defiant hen and her menacing rooster. It became apparent that the only right thing to do was to give her a permanent reprieve, and to call her Homer, in honor of her determination to get home. And that is the story of how the chicken got her name. And the other hen, you ask. What happened to her? We are sorry to report she was unable to make the hard decision at a critical juncture in her life so into the stew pot she went.