Parable of the Hen and the Early Worm


Each day before I start blogging, I first look out the door of our small porch to survey my neighborhood and often see my neighbor’s hen. It’s a funny looking, slender young hen with kind-of long legs. tiny body.  comic head and wide, wondering eyes. It roams around the street all day, always making a funny-sounding, desperate chirp while searching for food. Sometimes there are two of them.

Sometimes, too, I do my organic gardening and see earthworms crawl out from underneath earthen pots and squirm their way to some dark corners for safety. I discovered how earthworms often do their thing even early in the morning. They’re hard working like ants, though less visible.

So, there was this worm who often woke up late, usually at 8 am which was 4 hours later than he should. He slept late the night before, hanging out in taverns till the late hours, and slept at dawn. No way he could make it at 4 am because he was just beginning sleep at 2 am. So, the early worm often chided him. “Don’t you ever learn from the early bird?” the early worm said. “The early bird gets everything and leaves nothing for the late bird!”

Late Worm simply shook his head and started looking for nutrients and minerals in the soil to eat but found only a handful left. Early Worm got almost all of it. He was probably right. Still, Late Worm didn’t buy the idea of being early for work. He saw a drawback but couldn’t explain it. And anyway, he had nothing to prove his theory. So, no use arguing with Early Worm about it. What was important was that he was enjoying his life the way he wanted it—just enough food, plenty of sleep, and a happy nightlife.

Then one day, at about 5 am, I saw Miss Hen frantically searching for food at Mr. Bean’s front yard (one neighbor looked like Mr. Bean). She found none and hurriedly transferred to my front yard. And there she met Early Worm. “Good morning, Miss Hen!” Early Worm shouted. And that was the last we heard of him.

Thus, Late Worm finally proved his theory. “The early bird gets the early worm.” Not all early undertakings are good, he reasoned. For the bird, it was advantageous. But not for the early worm. There is a right time for everything.

LESSON: A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, [Ecclesiastes 2.24].

Just remember, everything in moderation.

I’d like to conclude with the true story of my Uncle Frank. He was always early for work. But one time, he was late. But it was a fortunate tardiness, a blessing in disguise—if he had been 10 minutes earlier for work, he would have been one of those who died in the collapse of Twin Towers, World Trace Center in New York City during the 9-11, 2001 attack.


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