Dottie – the little red hen

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Written by guest writer Dottie Bantam

‘What do we want? Worms! When do we want them? Now!’

I’m leading the other two girls in one of our many informal protests on the picket line. I tell them this is what Jeremy Corbyn would want. For the masses to rise up against our capitalist masters and mistresses. For us to demand our rights, our freedom and our worms.

 

Waiting for fellow unionists… And meetings in progress
Successful results from protests…

Jemima is a member of the elite, she tells us.

I scoff, she is just as much a worker as me and Flo. All three of us. True, we do have better, much better conditions (thanks to being union members, I tell Jemima) than those poor slave girls we hear about, kept in tiny prisons. But we still do our fair share. We are labourers (sorry Jemima), we manufacture and produce beautiful, delicious (so I’ve been told, no less than by Jemima who had a sneaky taste) petite eggs. Our accommodation and food is supplied, true, but we should always demand more. What would our boss eat if not our perfect eggs?

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An important union meeting in the boss’ office

We have our own private gravel garden, with some herb pots for us to jump onto, dig into and nibble. But we are sometimes allowed access to the communal gardens where there is a pond and apple tree. Our boss who looks after our accommodation for us and supplies our food, nicknames it the hens’ garden.

I ask the other union members for a ballot on demanding access every day.

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On our way to a union meeting. Florence takes the lead

‘She doesn’t like us going in when it’s wet’, says Florence. In my view, Flo can be a bit wet behind the ears herself at times.

Florence continues, ‘Our human says our feet get muddy and wet and then they’ll have to get washed.’

We have fashionable feathers on our feet, top trend-setters we are. Even we reds need to look the part. Think flares in the 70s, that’s us, but up to date. Jemima thinks our feathers are more akin to Victorian pantaloons but that’s Jemima for you. Stuck in some upper class fantasy from the 1800s. She thinks Jacob Rees-Mogg is marvellous and that she ought to be living the life of luxury. Poor Jemima. At least she has the union to look after her.

And Flo. I’ve tried to boost her assertiveness, she’s appeared rather weedy to me in the past. But now, sometimes I wonder if Florence is going too far in the other direction.

‘****’ She screams at times. I’m not sure swearing at odd moments for no apparent reason will work. The boss just smiles at her fondly as if she’s eccentric.

No, it won’t do.

Reasoning has to be behind all our demands.

In our latest union meeting, held behind our house, I go through our list of demands for future protests. Access to communal garden, extra mealworms, extra corn, cabbage and lettuce, bread (as a now-and-again treat, Jemima says it’s not good for us and is fattening) …

Flo pipes up. ‘No more baths for muddy feet’.

Good point, I agree.

And if we don’t get what we want, we can always go on strike. See how the boss lives without our beautiful eggs! I cackle loudly to myself. My comrades look at me suddenly. For leadership I reckon.

Okay, I say, here our boss arrives with the red bucket. (She’s also our personal cleaner). We’re ready for action.

‘What do we want? Worms. When do we want them? Now.’

Intimidation is the key. And sticking together, backing each other up.

We follow her to the door of the shed, home of treats galore.

Our union protest is in full swing. And as I see her hand go towards the packet of worms, I know it can’t fail…

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