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Punky Chicken and The Son Who Came Home

"Hello everyone" said Punky Chicken. "Shame about the weather. It's the sort of weather Frankie Drake likes. This old umbrella I found in the hut will keep the worst off me." Punky walked towards the school vegetable patch which was quite close to the chicken hut.

"The school children's vegetables are growing very well; they won't need watering today. All the children have been on holiday so we haven't seen many people recently. The caretaker's daughter, Apple, comes over sometimes, and if she doesn't feed us her dad does. Sometimes Mr. O'Sullivan comes and sits on the wall and draws us. Mr. O'Sullivan is getting married soon, so we may not see him after the first few weeks of next term. I did hear that he may have a party at the school. I suppose that will mean a lot of people all over the place. And they will think we eat the same food as them so they will chuck bits of cake and chicken legs and things for us. They just don't think! Mr. O'Sullivan's girlfriend came to see us a little while ago. She's very nice. She jawed with us while Mr. O'Sullivan drew us. He must have lots of pictures of all sorts of things. We've seen some of them, haven't we? Have you been colouring them?"

Suddenly there was a bright flash. "Cool! Did you see that lightning?" Punky asked excitedly. But then he turned serious and thought for a minute. "I don't think it's good to be out here near that tree and with an umbrella when there's lightning around. And the rain's getting worse. It's time to find shelter" and with that he started walking away from the tree and towards the chicken hut which they had named Pete's A Hut as a bit of a joke.

"Hey! There's Gunky - he's my little brother. It's just like him to be out in this weather. He loves getting messy. Hunky is always moaning about the way Gunky leaves his bed in a mess and his things fall on to Hunky's bunk below." Punky stopped walking and called, "Hey! Gunky! What are you doing out here in the rain?" "Hello Punky!" Gunky called back. "I like the rain. I can get all mucky while I'm messing about in the mud and then the rain washes it off so I can go in the hut without Mum and Hunky shouting at me." That was just like Gunky. Punky started walking again - he wanted to get out of the rain. As he got close to the hut, he remembered it had been painted in the school holidays. "Do you like the Pete's A Hut?" He asked. "Some men came to paint over the graffiti and then they put up the side bit to shade us from the sun. It's rained every day since! I don't fancy sheltering under it because of that puddle of rainwater." He pointed to the big puddle of rain that was collecting on top of the material, which was clearly sagging under the weight of the water. "Can you remember what the graffiti was? Yes, that's right; it was "I hate KFC". You are good." Gunky was still pecking around on the ground and gradually came closer to Punky by the Pete's A Hut. "Hey, Gunky!" called Punky, over the noise of the heavy rain, "as you like being in the rain, how would you like to talk to the Razzmatazz children while I go and dry off?" Gunky continued pecking and seemed to ignore Punky. "I don't think he's listening: he's too busy eating."

"Sorry Punky," said Gunky eventually, "did you say something?"

"I just asked if you wanted to talk to the children while I go inside and get dried. My feather dye is going to run if I get any wetter," Punky said as he looked closely at his stripey pink and blue feathers.

"Yes, that's fine by me," agreed Gunky. "You go in and I'll chat to the children. I'll tell them all your secrets! Only joking!" Punky was not amused.

"I'm going to have to trust you Gunky: I'm just too wet to care. I'll see you when it stops raining."

"Bye Punky. See you later!"

"I think it's raining a bit less now Punky has gone inside!" said Gunky, "Can you remember the story Chunky told us a while ago about the Good Samaritan? Do you remember how many people walked past the injured man? That's right, two walked past and it was the third one who stopped and helped. I think that was very kind because they were strangers. Dad was talking to us again about our family tree but I didn't understand. I think I'm too young. I asked Punky if it was like the tree by the vegetable patch and he laughed." It had almost stopped raining and Gunky was walking towards the tree as he spoke. "Hey, I wonder what's happening by the scarecrow." The scarecrow, which was standing in the vegetable patch, was on the other side of the wall to the tree, and under the tree, two men were standing, looking up at the branches.

"Right Daniel," said the older of the two men, "now it's stopped raining we can get on with our job inspecting this fruit. We need to take a closer look because they are near to those vegetables and they might be affected by the caterpillars and other pests."

"But Boss," replied Daniel, the younger man, "how can you tell? How can the caterpillars crawl over the wall and up the tree?" Daniel was learning to be a Fruit Inspector and he was being trained by the older man who had told Daniel to call him Boss. It made him feel important.

"Well Daniel, caterpillars may be small but they are very fit and will walk and climb for hours so this little wall is nothing to them. These apples look quite good," explained the Boss.

Daniel liked to chat while he was working. "When I was in France last year I saw apples that were twice as big as these, and in Israel the oranges were massive."

"This one feels really juicy," said the Boss, not wanting to stop work in case it started raining again. "It won't be long before it ripens. I don't think the caterpillars have got over the wall. You've been travelling a lot in the last few years, haven't you Daniel. I expect your Mum and Dad missed you." One of the apples decided it was time to fall and landed right on Daniel's head. "Ow!" he cried, "that apple was hard." Daniel rubbed the top of his head. "I was away for a year and a half. My Mum and Dad threw a party for me when I got back. The whole street were invited."

Gunky had been listening to the two men, who seemed not to know he was there. "It's funny that, because Dad was telling us last night about one of the stories Jesus told. It was about a man who had two sons and they both knew that when he died he would leave his money, his house, land and servants to them. The younger son wanted his share straight away, while he was young enough to enjoy it. He did not want to wait. Shortly after, the younger son packed his stuff and left home and travelled to other countries where he spent his money on living in expensive hotels, big boats, gambling and things. It wasn't long before he had no money left. To make matters worse, it hadn't rained for a very long time and food got expensive and hard to find. He found a job with a farmer who used him to look after his pigs, but he was still starving. Finally, he realised how stupid he had been. He thought about the men who worked for his Dad and how well fed they were. "I'll go home and tell Dad I was wrong. I'll tell him I am not worthy to be called his son and ask him for a job", he thought. And so he left the pigs and started his journey home. His Dad was missing his younger son and spent every day watching the long road up to his house. When he saw his son, he rushed out of the house and ran to meet his son. The son told his Dad he was sorry and asked for a job, just as he had thought, but his Dad would not listen. He was so pleased to have his son back he told his servants to prepare for a party to celebrate his son's return. The man's elder son was busy, as usual, working on his Dad's farm and when he got home that evening he heard all the noise from the party. "What's all that noise?" he asked one of the servants. The servant told him that his younger brother is back and his Dad has organised a party to celebrate. The older brother got angry and would not join in the party. His Dad went out to persuade him to join the celebrations but he still refused. "All these years I've worked hard for you, Dad, and always did what you told me, but you have never given me a party. As soon as my younger brother comes home after wasting your money you throw a massive party!" "Son, you are always with me," replied his Dad, "and everything I have is yours, but we had to celebrate because it was as if your brother was dead and is alive again - he was lost and is now found." Our Dad said the story Jesus told about the man and his two sons was meant to show how God welcomes us back when we are sorry for the wrong things we do. We may not do like the younger son did but we still don't do what God wants us to do, so we upset Him. When we go to God and say "Sorry", He is so happy. Jesus has tried to tell us through his stories that God, his Father, loves us and wants us to stay close to Him. We are very fortunate to have God to look after us like that. He sounds like a really good Father. Even better than my Dad."

Gunky headed towards the Pete's A Hut to see if Punky had dried himself. He stopped suddenly, "Hey look! Mr. O'Sullivan must have sneaked in here while I wasn't looking and put up some more pictures." Mr O'Sullivan had arranged eight pictures showing the story Jesus told about the son who came home. You can see them at the bottom of this page. If you click on them you will see a bigger picture. They will take a moment to open and you will need Acrobat Reader on your computer. If you haven't got it already, ask your Mum or Dad if you can go back to the Razzmatazz viewers page to download it from the Acrobat website. Don't forget, when you have coloured them, write your name and age in a corner and send them or take them to the Webmaster at the church and he will put them on the website for you."

Gunky was getting tired and wanted his bed. As it got dark a light in Pete's A Hut was switched on for a short while, as all the chickens got into their beds. "Good Night. God bless," they said. And Dad switched off the light.

 

A man had two sons.
The younger son went off with his share of his Dad's money
He wasted the money on expensive things.
Having spent all his money he ended up feeding pigs.
He finally went home to ask his Dad's forgiveness.
His Dad welcomed him back with a party.
His older brother was not happy.
We had to celebrate. It was as if your brother was dead and is now alive again.
 
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Pictures drawn by David O'Sullivan.