Once there where three small chickens and two small cats. They grew up together as happy siblings with an Understanding. Sometimes the Understanding was that the chickens were hot and annoyed and were about to start pecking, and then the cats would nonchalantly remove themselves farther outside of the chickens' personal space. All was peace and fluffy clouds and buttery sunshine. The chickens clucked happily to each other: "Cluck cluckcluck CLUCK cluck cluck!" Which is chicken for "My bug! Mine! I saw it first! Stop trying to steal it!"
And then, yesterday there were only two chickens. Two very, very, VERY unhappy chickens. And the sad, stiff body of a chewed-upon chicken. The chickens were released, the body bagged and removed, and then the coop was moved and fortified. All day long the chickens clucked nervously to each other, mourning their lost companion and avoiding the dreaded word fox. The two chickens roamed free that day, were coaxed back into the coop that night, and left safe and secure for the night.
But this morning, there was only one chicken in the coop. A panicked, terrified, traumatized chicken that knew she was going to be next.
The coop is more stringently fortified now. And while there are still two kittens running around under fluffy clouds and buttery sunshine, happy in their lack of dependence on a flock.... there is one chicken alone in the coop, clucking mournfully to herself. "Cluck.... Cluck... cluck CLUCK.... Cluck...." Which is chicken for "I know I'm going to be next; he said so last night as he chewed her head off. I just know it. Why are you locking me in here again? It's not safe. Nowhere is safe now. I'm doomed. I'll never lay an egg. I'll never eat another grasshopper. I'll never compete with the kittens for scraps again. Oh me! Cruel world, why hast thou treated me so? I'm a good chicken, I am, so let me out of this place...."
There were once three chickens. Now there is one. Tomorrow, depending on how clever foxes really are, there may be none at all.
The Teacher is not a happy chicken farmer.