Mutske The Electric Chicken
Meg said: “I once knew a little red chicken who had been struck by lightning. She survived but as a result was quite loopy and had an hilarious personality. She’d happily stand for ages on peoples heads, so they named her Mutske (‘Silly person’ in Dutch). Unfortunately she recently passed away, so a nice little story about her would be fun!”
So here’s a story about Mutske for Meg… You can listen or read or both!
Mutske The Electric Chicken
Meg was a farmer. She grew corn and had a little red chicken called Mutske. Mutske didn’t lay any eggs but she kept Meg company and that was nice.
“Oh Mutske,” said Meg, “You‘re a silly thing, but I love you.” Mutske cocked her head to one side and clucked.
A storm cloud came one night. Meg was in bed and Mutske was out in the yard pecking at corn kernels. The air grew thick and greasy. The hairs on Meg’s arms stood up as she slept, and a frown pinched her forehead. Mutske continued pecking corn, as the black clouds swirled above her.
A deep rumble loomed in the air, but still Mutske pecked in the middle of the yard.
Everything was quiet.
KAKLAZSSHHH! A thick bolt of lightning shot down from the cloud and smashed into Mutske. Meg awoke with a start and ran downstairs in horror.
The air crackled. On the dusty ground in a frame of scorch marks and feathers, Mutske lay limp.
“Oh no! Mutske!” Meg dropped to her knees by the lifeless chicken and bowed her head. She didn’t clench her fists and yell “Whyyyyy?” at the sky, but she wanted to.
Meg sat quietly for a moment. The farm was calm and sad.
Suddenly, Mutske clucked, then hopped up on one foot. Meg gasped.
Mutske cocked her head, clucked, then hopped to the other foot. Meg grinned.
Mutske hopped from one foot to the other as she cocked her head this way and that, in a silly jogging dance as she clucked. Meg giggled.
Then Mutske hopped, clucked, cocked and jogged onto Meg’s knee, up her arm to her shoulder, and scrambled right on top of her head.
And there she stood!
Hardly daring to move, Meg strained to peep at the bizarre little chicken now perched and balanced perfectly atop her noggin. “What are you doing, Mutske? You silly thing!”
Meg swayed gently from side to side, testing Mutske’s balance, but the chicken didn’t even wobble. So Meg slowly rose to her feet.
Mutske stood firm and clucked.
So Meg walked, then jogged, then ran around the yard, with Mutske jutting from her head like a fancy hat.
“Wow Mutske!” said Meg, “You’re amazing!”
She bent down to pick up a kernel of corn and tossed it up for Mutske to peck. The chicken watched it rise, cocked her head, then sneezed.
A bolt of electricity flew from Mutske’s nostrils and zapped the kernel in mid air. POP! It puffed into a tasty popcorn treat and Mutske plucked it from the air like a little nummy cloud.
Meg was dumbfounded. “What the heck just happened?” she gawped. She bent to pick up another kernel and threw it in the air.
Sneeze-ZKSSHSHKKK-Pop! It happened again!
Meg was giddy with excitement, she plonked Mutske on a post she could observe, grabbed a handful of corn kernels and threw a rapid succession towards Mutske, who sneezed as electric bolts shot from her beak like lasers…
ZAP ZAP ZAP ZAP! POP POP POP POP!
The smell of freshly puffed popcorn filled the air, and fluffy nuggets fell around Meg’s feet. Mutske danced her silly jogging dance.
Over the next year the two of them developed a dance routine involving expressive poses as Meg tossed kernels of corn for Mutske to zap. They toured the country with wild success, each show climaxing with the audience flicking showers of corn for Mutske to zap all at once like a popcorn plasma ball. The children would laugh and run onstage to eat the popcorn and dance with Meg and Mutske.
When they came home at the end of the tour Meg decided to throw a Winter party at the farm for the village to enjoy. A hundred excited people sat around a very long table in the yard and enjoyed a festive feast of corn-on-the-cob with redcurrant jelly and mint sauce.
When everyone had finished their meal Meg shouted, ”Now please give a special welcome to my best friend, artistic collaborator and showbird extraordinaire… Mutske!”
She pressed play on a boombox and jinglebells-infused electro-dance-party music blasted forth. Mutske hopped onto the far end of the long table and started the head-cock jogging dance. The villagers laughed gleefully and clapped in time. Mutske danced all the way along the table, with a particularly crowd-pleasing section in the middle where she span around and did a clunky moonwalk. Every now and again someone would flick a corn kernel which she zapped into popcorn to loud cheers. By the time she reached Meg the crowd were going completely bananas.
Mutske danced onto Meg’s hand, and Meg thrust her aloft for the party to behold and applaud.
Mutske stood and watched, cocked her head at the beaming faces, then stretched her wings out wide.
“What are you doing, Mutske?” said Meg. Her friend had never done this before. Mutske’s wings twitched, then flapped haphazardly and all of a sudden Mutske was in the air, tumbling and somersaulting upwards in a flurry of feathers.
“Where are you going?” shouted Meg, as Mutske jumbled through the air towards the corn barn. The guests gawped in silence as Mutske flapped and flopped through the big barn door and plopped into the huge container within.
“Oh no. That’s the corn container. There are millions of kernels in there!” said Meg.
They heard a cluck. Then another. Then a relentless quick-fire clucking that got louder and louder, echoing from the barn. The ground began to rumble; all the plates and cutlery were jangling.
A massive flash of light engulfed everything. The roof of the barn shot into the sky and the air was filled with the sound of an army tap dancing on bubblewrap. The entire container of corn had violently blossomed into a billion fluffs of popcorn which gushed up to the clouds like a savoury geyser.
And then it snowed. With popcorn!
The party guests ran around with their mouths open, catching the snacky snowflakes on their tongues and throwing great handfuls at each other as they ducked and dodged, and soon the whole yard was covered in a thick bobbly carpet of fresh white popcorn. They tumbled and rolled and rustled on their backs and flapped their arms to make popcorn snow angels. Everyone had the best time ever.
No one saw Mutske again. Meg wasn’t sure if she blew herself up in the popcorn explosion or if she cannonballed miles through the sky, to entertain and delight a new friend on a new farm somewhere exotic and far away.
Weeks later, as she was sweeping up the soggy remains of the popcorn wonderland she found a red feather in the barn. She smiled as she stroked it with her fingers, then tucked it in her headband where she felt it belonged. Meg smiled and softly murmured, “Oh Mutske, you were a silly thing, but I loved you.”
Then she carried on sweeping until all the popcorn was gone.
3rd September 2020