THE RAINBOW EGG
Very early one morning, birds began singing their merry good morning songs. The rising sun spread its glow over a little farm, nestled in the valley below. Farmer Frank was busy doing his round of chores. Every morning he milked the cows, fed the pigs and let out the horses to graze in the pasture. He loved all his animals especially his favorite duck and chicken.
That afternoon as he gathered the eggs from the nests in the hen house, he felt two pair of eyes watching him from below. His favorite duck and chicken made a nest of straw together in the corner and they were inseparable.
"Hey Dolly," Farmer Frank greeted his favorite duck. He bent down to reach under her. "What a big, wonderful egg you laid for me. Thank you." He gently put the egg in his basket.
He looked down at the little hen he called Ester, short for an Easter egg chicken. Every day she laid a different colored egg. He bent down to collect the egg under her.
"Hey Ester, a blue egg this time!" Farmer Frank exclaimed. "This is very pretty. Thank you." He gently put her egg in the basket too.
Dolly Duck and Ester Hen were the best of friends. Their days were lazy and happy, until one morning...
Farmer Frank came into the hen house to gather the eggs as usual. He first gathered the eggs from the nests above. When he looked down, he couldn't believe his eyes, Ester's egg was alive with color. Picking it up, he spied her standing proudly by the feeder.
"Ester, this egg is beautiful!" He exclaimed, as he turned the egg over and over again, admiring its green, gray, pink, yellow, blue, brown and white colors. "I will call this my rainbow egg. You outdid yourself this time!" He reached under Dolly to collect her egg.
"Cluck, Cluck," Ester answered him, proudly strutting around the hen house.
Farmer Frank chuckled as he picked up the egg basket and hurried over to his office. He put the basket down on his desk and picked up the phone to call his sister. He told her the great news.
She was very excited, saying, "I'll tell everyone about Ester's rainbow egg."
People from far and near came to the farm. "What a magical looking egg!" they cried out, all excited about what happened in their neighborhood.
As the days went by, Dolly Duck felt more and more unhappy and maybe a little bit jealous. She wanted to, but couldn't lay a colored egg. She watched the people come and go. All of them wanted to see the famous hen that laid the rainbow egg. Her friend preened and pranced about in front of the many admiring people.
"I guess she's attractive in her own way. She did lay that very pretty rainbow egg," thought Dolly Duck, as she listened to Ester Hen sing, "I laid a rainbow egg. I laid a rainbow egg." Of course Ester had to brag to all the other animals too, Dolly Duck felt as if everyone had forgotten about her. She even made herself a different nest so she didn't have to listen to Ester Hen brag.
That night, Dolly Duck hatched a plan…
The next afternoon, Dolly Duck sneaked out of the hen house. She chose some bright colors that were very pretty and splashed them on some paper. Plopping her backside down onto the colors, Dolly Duck promptly went to her nest and sat down. She laid her egg, then wiggled and fluffed upon it. Getting up to turn it over, she wiggled and fluffed some more.
Looking down at her colored egg, she thought, "It isn't as pretty as Ester's, but it will have to do." She quickly hid her painted egg in the straw so no one could see it.
"I wonder if Farmer Frank will like my egg," Dolly Duck worried, as she waddled over to the pond to wash off the paint. All afternoon she splashed about lazily, thinking about the surprise she had to show Farmer Frank.
When Farmer Frank came to gather the eggs, he saw Dolly's egg. Stepping back in surprise, he asked, "Wow, what have we here, Dolly?" He picked up the egg and turned it over and over. "You are very talented and smart to think of such a wonderful gift for me."
He knew why Dolly Duck did this. Everyone fussed over Ester, and Dolly Duck felt left out. He put the egg in his basket and reached down to pick up Dolly Duck. Smoothing her beautiful white feathers, he said. "It's okay Dolly, you painted me a very pretty colored egg."
"Quack! Quack!" Dolly answered perking up. Farmer Frank liked her egg, that's all that mattered.
He set Dolly down beside Ester, "I am very proud of you both," Farmer Jack said, petting Ester's head. He picked up her pink egg from the nest.
"Quack! Quack! Cluck! Cluck!" Dolly and Ester said together. Looking at each other, they followed Farmer Frank out of the hen house.
Smiling at them, Farmer Frank quickly walked over to his office. Looking at Dolly's egg, he sat down at his desk wondering what he'd tell everyone this time. "I shall tell everyone my duck is a very talented painter." He put the other eggs in the washer and put Dolly’s egg on his desk.
The phone rang as he entered his house. "Hello" It was his sister. He told her the good news. "Maybe you could get word out to everyone about another wonderful surprise for them to see?"
“Wow, Dolly and Ester really are something! I’ll pass along the good news once more,” his sister said and hung up.
Back at the hen house, Ester Hen looked at Dolly Duck. "Why did you paint your egg?"
Dolly Duck looked shamefully down at the straw floor. "I guess I wanted a pretty rainbow egg too," she said quietly. "I became jealous of your egg and couldn't stop myself from thinking bad things about you."
"I guess I acted quite awful about it all," Ester Hen said, as she looked apologetically at Dolly Duck. "I did brag quite a bit, didn't I?"
"I didn't act any better," Dolly Duck admitted. "Every morning you laid a different colored egg. I was always a little jealous of that! When I saw that rainbow egg, that was waaay too much for me to handle."
"That’s funny! I was very jealous of those large eggs you lay," laughed Ester Hen. It felt so good to confide in her friend again. "Farmer Frank always seemed happier with your big eggs! Mine were colorful, but they were so much smaller."
"I guess we were both secretly jealous of each other all along," said Dolly Duck, hugging her friend. They strolled out together into the sunlight.
"You know," said Ester Hen, "You are quite talented! That large egg of yours looked almost like a painting." She sat down next to Dolly Duck on the soft grass by the pond. "This calls for a party! Let's celebrate our two rainbow eggs."
"No more showing off and bragging, right?" Dolly Duck said as she looked over at her friend.
"I promise to never brag or show off again," agreed Ester Hen as she held her wing in the air.
Dolly Duck lifted up her wing, "I promise to never get jealous over your different colored eggs."
That night, as the sun set behind the hills, all the farm animal gathered by the barn. They watched the sunset with its vivid reds, pinks, purples, oranges, yellows and browns. Someone commented that it looked like Ester's egg which made everyone laugh. They sang and danced the night away until they were too tired to move.
Farmer Frank wondered what all the mooing, oinking, clucking, quacking, whinnying was about and went outside to check on his animals. He opened the barn door and saw all his animals laying together. They all looked tired out, but happy. Smiling to himself, he quietly closed the door and went back to the house.
The animals all gave their happy, contented sounds as they fell asleep on a huge bed of straw.