One day Chicken Licken felt unusually warm. It was so hot and stuffy it seemed as if the world was closing in on her. She wondered why. She looked all around her but found nothing strange. Then she looked up and saw a terrible thing. The sky was falling down! There was no doubt about it. It really was. Chicken Licken was alarmed. She ran off to tell the President.
On the way she met Ducky Lucky.
‘Where are you going in such a hurry, on this stifling hot day?’ Ducky Lucky asked Chicken Licken.
‘I’m going to tell the President that the sky is falling down!’ She gasped, for she was out of breath from running so fast, and because she was so hot.
Ducky Lucky quacked. ‘The sky is falling down? That is very unlikely. I think you must be imagining it.’
‘I’m not! It really is!’ said Chicken Licken. ‘Look up and see for yourself! That’s why it’s so warm!’
Just to please Chicken Licken, Ducky Lucky looked up. And what she saw gave her a terrible fright. The sky was indeed falling down!
‘Oh!’ she quacked. ‘I’d better come with you to tell the President.’ So they continued along the path together. And it got hotter and hotter.
On their way they met Goosey Loosey. ‘Where are you two going in such a hurry on this stifling hot day?’ she asked.
‘We’re going to tell the President that the sky is falling down!’ Chicken Licken and Ducky Lucky panted.
Goosey Loosey laughed. ‘The sky has stayed up all this time. It’s not going to fall down now,’ she said.
‘But it is!’ said Chicken Licken.
‘Look up and see for yourself!’ said Ducky Lucky.
Goosey Loosey looked up and she saw that the sky was indeed falling down. ‘Oh my! Oh my!’ she honked. ‘I’d better come with you to tell the President.’ So the three birds hurried on together. And it got hotter and hotter.
Further along, they met Turkey Lurkey. ‘Where are you three going in such a hurry on this stifling hot day?’ she gobbled.
‘We’re going to tell the President that the sky is falling down!’ they clucked, quacked and honked together.
Turkey Lurkey frowned at them. ‘Now, calm down,’ she said. ‘It’s not good to get so agitated on such a hot day.’
‘But it really is!’ they replied. ‘Look up and see for yourself!’
Turkey Lurkey looked up. ‘Oh!’ she gobbled. ‘They must be right, after all!’
‘What?’ clucked Chicken Licken.
‘Who?’ quacked Ducky Lucky.
‘How?’ honked Goosey Loosey.
‘I overheard the farmer’s wife telling the farmer that the world was warming up because the sky was turning into an enormous greenhouse and the heat couldn’t escape.’
‘But why?’ asked Chicken Licken.
‘She said it was the fault of humans. Things they did, such as driving big cars and flying around in aeroplanes, were pumping gases into the air that turned it into an enormous greenhouse,’ said Turkey Lurkey. ‘And she said that cows pump much worse greenhouse gases into the air and they should get rid of them all!’
Chicken Licken clucked in alarm. ‘What about us? Did they say we do that, too? Will they get rid of us?’
‘They didn’t mention us,’ said Turkey Lurkey. ‘But they said it would become harder to grow food.
‘We won’t be able to lay eggs if we don’t get enough to eat!’ All four birds honked, quacked, gobbled and clucked in great agitation.
‘We had better all go together to tell the President!’ said Turkey Lurkey. And off they all went. And it got hotter and hotter.
On the way, they met Foxy Loxy.
‘Now, where are you all going in such a hurry on this very hot day?’ he enquired, looking down his nose at the birds.
‘We’ve got to go and tell the President that the sky is falling down!’ they told him. Foxy Loxy snorted. ‘Is it really? You birds do get some very silly ideas.’
‘But it is!’ clucked Chicken Licken.
‘Look up and see for yourself!’ quacked Ducky Lucky.
‘That is why it has become so warm,’ honked Goosey Loosey.
‘The sky is falling down and it’s turning into a greenhouse. It’s because people drive big cars too much,’ gobbled Turkey Lurkey.
‘And fly around in aeroplanes,’ Ducky Lucky added.
‘And it’s the cows fault too. They pump out a gas that’s even worse,’ said Chicken Licken.
Foxy Loxy was pleased to hear it was the fault of cows and humans, but he refused to look up. He wasn’t going to be told anything by a bunch of paltry poultry.
Turkey Lurkey continued, ‘The farmer’s wife said all this, and she said everything that uses a lot of electricity is to blame too, because making electricity burns coal and oil, and they had to find other ways of making electricity. And until then, she said, everyone should turn the heating and air-conditioning right down.’
That made Foxy Loxy angry. He was very proud of the air-conditioning in his den, especially when it was so uncomfortably hot outside.
‘These birds are very silly,’ he told himself. ‘Look at the way they flap and fuss; they are ridiculous.’
‘My fine feathered friends,’ he sneered. ‘The sky is not falling down. It is Not turning into a greenhouse. It is NOT warming up! And even if it is, it has NOTHING TO DO with coal or oil or cars or aeroplanes or heating and ESPECIALLY NOT AIR-CONDITIONING!’
Foxy Loxy stopped to draw breath and wipe the sweat off his forehead. Then he continued. ‘Sometimes it gets warm, and sometimes it gets cold. These are natural changes in the weather. Of course, I don’t suppose your birdbrains can grasp anything as complicated as that!’ He lay down and blocked their path.
It was getting hotter and hotter. Chicken Licken, Ducky Lucky, Goosey Loosey and Turkey Lurkey became very worried. ‘Well, Foxy Loxy, if you won’t come with us, please get out of our way so that we can go and tell the President!’
But Foxy Loxy would not get out of their way. He hated these troublesome poultry now and it pleased him to see them get more and more upset. He decided to have them for lunch.
Perspiration poured off Ducky Lucky’s brow. She whispered to her friends, ‘Look, why don’t we just fly off and find a cooler place?’
Chicken Licken looked alarmed. ‘But – but – that won’t make the sky not fall down.’
‘Thing is,’ said Ducky Lucky, ‘it’s looking a bit hopeless here.’
Turkey Lurkey got stroppy. ‘Running away won’t solve anything! What about a bit of solidarity!’
Ducky Lucky nudged Goosey Loosey. ‘Come on,’ she whispered.
Goosey Loosey wavered. ‘What if there isn’t anywhere cooler?’
Ducky Lucky quacked in exasperation. ‘We’ve got to take our chances. It’s no use just flapping about here.’
Goosey Loosey hopped around indecisively. Then Turkey Lurkey’s beady eye caught hers. ‘No,’ she shook her head. ‘We need to stick together.’
Foxy Loxy, who had fallen asleep in the heat, woke up to the sound of this little quarrel. ‘Dear little birds,’ he said. ‘Why don’t you come and cool off in my air-conditioned den before you continue on your way?’
‘You’re so kind, Foxy Loxy,’ said Chicken Licken, getting up to follow the fox. Goosey Loosey started to follow too.
Ducky Lucky fluttered in fright. There was something very suspect about this. ‘I’m off,’ she said, and before anyone could protest she flew up and disappeared into the heavy, murky sky. Foxy Loxy put out a paw to catch her but he was too late. He withdrew it quickly, lest it betray his intentions.
Ducky Lucky’s departure perturbed Turkey Lurkey and she beckoned the other two not to follow Foxy Loxy. ‘We need to get on our way,’ she reminded them.
But Foxy Loxy had turned the air-conditioning on full-blast and his den was so cool and inviting, Chicken Licken and Goosey Loosey could not resist entering. ‘Why don’t you come in here where it’s even cooler?’ said Foxy Loxy, holding the oven door open.
Turkey Lurkey gobbled and shrieked as the two other birds walked straight into the oven.
Then Foxy Loxy pounced on Turkey Lurkey and after great squabble and squall Foxy Loxy dragged Turkey Lurkey over to the oven and popped her in too. Then he turned it onto maximum heat and watched with glee as the three birds stewed.
When Chicken Licken, Goosey Loosey and Turkey Lurkey had cooked through, Foxy Loxy took them out and laid them on the table. He selected Chicken Licken as a starter. She was tender and succulent and he enjoyed her very much.
He chose Goosey Loosey for his main course. She proved to be quite a mouthful, and he felt very full by the time he had finished her off.
Now he was thirsty. He decided to go to the river for a drink before embarking upon his dessert. Unfortunately for Foxy Loxy the river had dried up in the heat, and he returned to his den with his thirst unquenched.
To make matters worse, the air-conditioning, having to work so hard against the heat of the day, had burnt itself out, and Foxy Loxy’s den was warming up fast. Foxy Loxy wasn’t really in the mood for his dessert any longer. But he needed to show Turkey Lurkey who was boss, and he sank his teeth into the tough old bird. He became thirstier with every bite and it was a real struggle to eat her. He did not enjoy her one bit.
He was also getting very, very hot, but not once did it occur to him that the poultry might have been right about the sky falling down and turning the world into a greenhouse, because he was an obstinate creature. In fact, he felt too uncomfortable to think very much at all.
Soon Foxy Loxy felt sick. He gave up on Turkey Lurkey, lay down on the floor of his sweltering den, and let his tongue roll out.
And the sky kept falling down and down, turning itself into a hotter and hotter greenhouse. Eventually, it became so hot that Foxy Loxy frazzled.
And President Palin never did get to hear that the sky was falling down, and she too frazzled to a cinder.
Meanwhile, Ducky Lucky had flown and flown until she came to a cool place near the northern tip of Greenland, which was indeed green because the ice had all melted. There she found a beautiful pond inhabited by Gloria the hippo, who had escaped from Central Park Zoo, and by the handsome Drakey Rakey, who never did mention the family he had left to fry in Southern California.