Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Poor, Shining Egg

Once upon a time, in a forest far far away, there lived a farmer and his wife. They had nothing to live upon but their farm, and their one old hen.

Although the farmer and his wife loved their hen dearly, the hen had not laid a single egg for many years. The farmer was beginning to think that she would be better off as soup for the family. After all, what was the use of wasting precious feed on a hen that did not give any returns? What's more, he had not had meat for a long time since his farm raised only vegetables anyway. Instead of dreaming about fried eggs, steamed eggs and 蛋花汤, he figured he might as well have fried chicken, steamed chicken, and 黑鸡汤.

But the next day, the farmer's wife discovered one sole egg when cleaning the hen coop. It was only one egg, but it was huge, and it shone. The farmer's wife excitedly scooped the egg up and brought it back to the farmhouse. They were very hopeful that the egg would hatch to be a rooster, then it could mate with the old hen and produce more chicks.

So they laid the huge, shining egg on the mantel, and polished it faithfully with oils and cloths each day. (Displaying ignorance of chicken biology - the oils seal off the porous shell!) Day by day they waited for the egg to hatch. The old hen, meanwhile, was given a reprieve from the soup pot.

So they waited.

And waited.

And waited.

(Obviously they still had no knowledge of chicken biology, how to have a fertilized egg with only that one old hen and no roosters around? tsk!)

After weeks of waiting, the farmer finally realised that the egg was not going to hatch. By then, it was so covered in oils that both man and wife, being health conscious people who kept close tabs on their triglyceride and cholesterol levels, declined to eat the egg. And so the egg remained on the mantel, the hen succumbed to her chicken-soup fate, and the farmer gave this disappointing egg a name: It would be his Poor, Shining Egg.

Moral of the story: 做穷光蛋是不好的。

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