“Chickencroon was the worst because they weren’t really that loud, they couldn’t fly, and they weren’t very smart — in fact, you know how people say “chickened out?” Well, they say that because of the Chickencroons.”
There were BILLIONS of colonies of birds, but the two most popular were Ravenshine and Gryffinsmelt. At the Bird Olympics, Ravenshine always came in first and Gryffinsmelt came in second. Some of the sports were who can fly the best (Gryffinsmelt won that), who is the smartest (Ravenshine won that), who is the loudest (Ravens really are loud). The worst of all the teams from the bird colonies was Chickencroon.
Chickencroon was the worst because they weren’t really that loud, they couldn’t fly, and they weren’t very smart — in fact, you know how people say “chickened out?” Well, they say that because of the Chickencroons. The Chickencroons have beaks and flapping feathers like the other birds, but they can’t fly. The Chickencroons are also known as the Chickens of Terribleness because they’re so terrible. The Awful Chicken is the leader of all the chickens in the world. The Awful Chicken is in the royal family so he has to be the leader. The other chickens call him “Awful Chicken” behind his back because he’s such a careless ruler. But he doesn’t know they say that.
The chicken coup is where Awful Chicken and his family live is in a barn in Westchester. The royal chicken coup is owned by a farmer named Old McDonald, his god awful brother named Joe, and his crazy daredevil of a wife, Jane.
Maraie was the only daughter of the terrible chicken and instead of living luxuriously like her brothers, her mother, and her father, she was used as a servant. A very poor one, too. She slept on an itchy haystack while the others slept on the softest feathers Maraie could find. She traveled far and wide to get whatever they wanted because they asked her to. She never talked back and was very grateful, unlike her family. She was treated as a servant because they didn’t mean to have her. Her mother laid another egg and she wasn’t supposed to. They didn’t really want her. They only wanted the three sons, who they loved, but they wanted nothing to do with Maraie. Maraie’s life was miserable and sad. They never let her have the toys her brothers got, and the only thing she had was a doll made out of rags. Every Christmas, she would get one toy, but it wasn’t really a toy. She would get a sewing kit, (some string, rags, and needles) for Christmas and for her birthday she didn’t really get anything. All she got was a five-minute break, and that’s the time she had to make the doll.
Later that day, Maraie was running errands when a piece of paper flew into her face. She quickly pulled it off. It was an ad to buy tickets for the Bird Olympics. Maraie had never heard of this Bird Olympics! The poster said it was the most important thing to the chicken colonies, and that they were in last place in all of the bird colonies. Maraie was outraged because nobody ever told her about the Great Bird Olympics. Wouldn’t you be mad if, ya know, your colony or your city or whatever had something super super important and no one ever told you?
She said, “Oh my god, all of these things I can do very, very well. Because in all my years of serving my family, I’ve done all these things and I’ve practiced them so much that they’re very easy for me. Like flying, shouting, and thinking good thoughts.”
She went to her father, the king, and said, “Nobody ever told me about the Great Bird Olympics. I just found out about it on my way here!”
The King muttered to his wife, “How did she find out?”
His wife whispered back, “I don’t know.”
The King spat out, “How did you find out, peasant?”
“Well, I was walking down the street when a flyer hit me right in the beak. It was flyer for the Great Bird Olympics and I didn’t know about it so I came back here to ask you about it.”
Then there was a long pause… then Maraie asked, “May I please compete in the Olympics representing Chickencroon?!”
“NO!” said the King and Queen at once. “Even if you were royal, even then, you wouldn’t be allowed because only men can go!”
Then Maraie left.
As she walked outside she saw morning glory flowers blooming and she said, “Wait a minute, is it Spring? It is the first day of Spring, and the first day of Spring is my birthday!”
Then she rushed back into the castle. She said, “Oh it’s my birthday, that means I get five minutes off, right?”
The King said, “Fine. I can have other servants go fetch the milk. Now go on with yourself and make sure it’s only five minutes!”
Then she rushed back to her tiny little cottage. She got her needles and her rags to sew a costume. She tied back her fluffy feathers and put on the costume. She looked at herself in her dirty cracked mirror. She looked nothing like herself. She looked like a boy. She went back to the castle.
She went on her knees and asked, in front of the King and Queen, “Oh may I please represent Chickencroon in the Great Bird Olympics?”
The Queen and King asked, “Fly for me! Squawk for me! Answer our son’s homework.”
She did these and aced them.
The Queen and King answered, “Yes! Yes! What is your name?”
She hesitated. “Maximus the Great!”
The King and Queen said, “OK Maximus, the Great Bird Olympics are tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow? I thought it was a year from now!” said Maraie (Maximus the Great).
“Oh yeah, the date changed,” said the King and Queen. “So beat it and go train!”
So Maraie rushed out of there as fast as she could. Before she left, the King called, “One more thing. Our peasant Maraie was gone for at least six minutes! Go and get her now!”
She went back to her little cottage, changed into her regular peasant clothes, and then rushed back to the castle as fast as her wings could take her.
She said, “Yes, your highness. What should I do to please you?”
The King said, “Go fly as fast you can to the cows. Then come back.”
Maraie found this a bit odd because usually when she goes to the cows, she milks them, but now she only had to go and come back. And so then, she flew as fast as she could and flew back. Then, the King and Queen thought, “Wow! That’s a lot like Maximus. You know Maximus was awesome. She can’t be like that. She always does that, so maybe that’s how she knew. Let’s ask her to fly to the sheep and yell at them to stop eating grass.”
“You have to yell as loud as you can!” the King and Queen said to Maraie.
Then she went to the sheep and yelled at them, “Stop eating grass!”
Then, she went back to the castle.
“For our final request for today,” the King and Queen said. “Do this sheet of math homework for our son.”
She did it and got every answer correct. The King and Queen were amazed and annoyed because now they suspected that she, Maraie, was Maximus The Great, which she was. They were catching on, which was a bad thing, and Maraie didn’t know it.
They said, “Now go to bed. Make sure you wake up at the crack of dawn. And when you wake up, make breakfast, get our sons ready for school, and do everything you usually do.”
So she went to bed thinking, Maybe they are catching on, what if they are catching on, I’m scared. What do I do? When she went to sleep, she had a dream. She went to the Bird Olympics, as Maximus, of course, and the King and Queen were watching her with mean eyes. Then, as she did her first challenge, they watched her like a hawk. She kept on doing these things right, as she usually did. She had her normal clothes underneath the suit to make it look like she had muscle.
While she was flying, a really stupid pigeon knocked into her and her suit fell off. The King and Queen saw what she looked like. Then she went down and guards surrounded her. That was the end of the dream. She woke up with a start. She checked the time on her clock. She was really late. It was 8 o’clock. She got into her day clothes and rushed out to the King’s castle. The King and Queen weren’t there. Just then she noticed no one was outside, or in their homes. She wandered around until she came to town square and she found the public poster board. She saw that there was a poster for the Great Bird Olympics. And she saw the time and the date. It was right then.
She gasped. Then she looked for the location. It said so at the very bottom. It said it was in Central Feather, the famous park where they hold the Great Bird Olympics. And it’s a great spot for nice picnics. She rushed back to her little cottage as fast as her stumpy little legs could take her. She put on her costume then rushed back out the door. She rushed over to the Olympics as fast as she could. Central Feather was in the middle of all the farms of the world. It was an hour flight. Then eventually when she got there it was almost too late. She got there just on time. It was the match right before Chicken Croon went on. She went up to the top box where the King and Queen were. They saw her.
“Oh! Maximus!” they said. “We thought you weren’t gonna come!”
“Why would I miss the biggest thing to happen to our colony? Anyway, we’re up next, right?”
“Yes,” said the Queen.
Then the announcer said, “For the worst match you’ll see here, Chickencroon is on! With Chickadee Do Da and everybody else.”
“Oh, Maximus, you’re up first,” says the King.
“Okay then.” Every birdie booed at her, but she was used to that so she wasn’t discouraged or anything.
“Eh, whatever, it happens all the time.”
But she thought people would cheer for her eventually, because she was in the Great Bird Olympics. She walked over to the center of the colosseum. She waved to the crowd. They booed even louder. She stopped immediately. She was guessing it was the running race, because the announcer announced, “Take your places at the starting line, contestants!”
She went to the starting line. Then the announcer
Maraie ran as fast as she could. The other racers were ahead of her, but only by three feet. She flapped her wings as hard as she could, but didn’t fly. She got ahead and she ran faster and faster and faster and faster and faster, until she reached the ending line. Then the announcer said, “Oh my god, that’s the first time Chickencroon won anything since, like, ever. That’s amazing!”
She had reached the ending line before any birdie did. She was really surprised. So was every birdie else. The whole crowd was crazy shocked. The crowd gasped. Literally every birdie. Then other birds started to crowd at the finish line. Eventually everyone was there, and in that time Maraie got water and had a nice break. She was thinking, Oh my god, I just beat Ravenshine and Gryffinsmelt and everybody else!
The king and queen were jumping up and down singing, “Weeee woooon, weeee woooon!”
The announcer said, “And the next event iiiiiiiiisssss…ummm……FLYING, I think…”
Maraie made her feathers extra big by fluffing them. Then the announcer said, “Ready! Set! GOOOOOOOO!”
Maraie took off, flying as fast as a jet. Then she heard sizzling. She looked at her wing. It was smoking! She had been flying too fast and her wing caught fire. She started to go down, but she didn’t want to. She tried to flap her wings even harder, but by that time it was too late, and she was already on the ground. Then there was a loud beep.
“And Chickencroon is out! Not surprising. I knew their popularity was going to fade quickly!” said the announcer.
The King and Queen sobbed harder than usual. Then the king opened his eyes and looked at Maraie. Her costume had burned a little bit and he could see the scar that Maraie had when he slashed her when she was a baby. He looked at her in awe. He was amazed that his daughter could go that far and he suddenly realized how hard a life she had. Maraie flew wobbley to the top box where the King and Queen were. Then the queen said, “You betrayed us and all of Chickencroo-”
“SILENCE!!!” said the king. Then he continued. “That is our daughter!”
“Wha-” said the Queen.
“Uh uh uh! You are here to listen not to speak!” said the King. The Queen and Maraie were paralyzed with astonishment.
“Did I just fall on my head?” Maraie muttered.
The King said, “I have just realized how hard a life our daughter has had. We abandoned her when she was just a little baby, and not just that, we slashed her before that. Also, we treated her as the most unpleasant servant of all. Actually, the worst part is that we treated her as a servant at all! I believe that we must…accept her.”
Finally! Maraie thought. “Why…” She was in tears. Of happiness!
The King said, “Just seeing you out there getting hurt pained me.”
The Queen said, “No! Have you gone bonkers?!”
“You dare say that to the king!?”
“What are you gonna do about it?”
He turned to Maraie. “Maraie, pack up your things in your cabin. You’re moving into one of the biggest rooms in the castle.”
He turned to the queen once more and said, “As for you, you my bitter, bitter wifey, you are taking Maraie’s place in the peasant quarters.”
“But I still get all my things, don’t I?”
“Well, you can have half a slice of bread and two cups of water every day. You’re lucky, my queen, because you, first of all, do not get executed, and also what you get to eat every day is double what Maraie had! Oh yeah, one more thing. From this day forth, we’re divorced, and Maraie is princess of Chickencroon.”
The Queen shouted as the guards took her away, “This is not the end of me! I will be back for you! And Maraie, too!”
The King turned to Maraie and held her hand and said, “Let’s go back to the castle…Princess Maraie.” Then they walked back to castle happy, and confused.