Chicken Little and the Boy Who Cried Trump

I thought these last two fairy tales might be a fitting end to this crazy election campaign, in which many think the U.S. voters have lost their political minds to an entertaining spectacle that is more like a prize fight than a fight for the Presidential prize. One is the story of Chicken Little, who thinks the end of the world is nigh after an acorn falls on her head, and she gets others to race with her to tell the king, only to be captured and eaten by a fox. The other story is about a shepherd boy who cries wolf several times just for fun. But no one believes him when a real wolf appears, so the wolf eats his sheep.

The Chicken Little story, sometimes called Henny Penny, comes originally from the oral folk tradition in Europe, where it was told in Germany and Denmark in the 19th century. Then, it was published by the Brothers Grimm and later published in English in Scotland in 1842 by Robert Chambers in Popular Rhymes, Fireside Stories, and Amusements of Scotland, which became the basis for various versions that appeared after that.

In the basic story, a chick called Chicken Little, believes the sky is falling, when an acorn falls on her head. So she runs to tell the king, and along the way meets a number of other barnyard fowl, which include Henny Penny, Ducky Lucky, Goosey Loosey, and Turkey Lurkey. They agree it is terrible that the sky is falling, and they run along with Chicken Little, without bothering to check out what Chicken Little has told them. Their race is like the many Republican Party establishment candidates running to save America from the terrible fate of Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. So who's who? Well, maybe they might be Jeb Bush or Ben Carson as Chicken Little, Carly Fiorina as Henny Penny, Marco Rubio as Ducky Lucky, Chris Christie or John Kasich as Goosey Loosey, and Ted Cruz as Turkey Lurkey. Or shift the names around, since they all think they are running for their lives because the sky is falling, though they just take Chicken Little's word for it.

Then they meet Foxy Loxy, who is crafty like Donald Trump, and he asks the question: "How do you know the sky is falling?" When Chicken Little claims she saw and heard it and felt a piece of the sky fall on her head, Foxy Loxy invites everyone to follow him and he'll show them the way to the king. But instead, he takes them to his lair and eats them all -- which seems to be what's happening to all the other Republican candidates and to the Republican party itself. Trump is leading them along in the glare of the media, saying whatever he wants, and getting other candidates to stoop to his own level, whereupon they self-destruct, because no one can beat Foxy Loxy at his own game.

As for the Boy Who Cried Wolf, that's one of Aesop's fables, which dates from classical times in Greece and was translated into Latin in the 15th century, after which it was translated into other languages and spread through Europe. It finally was published in English in 1867 by George Fyler Townsend as "The Shepherd and the Wolf." As a political fairy tale, it might be called "The Boy Who Cried Trump." In the traditional story, a shepherd boy gets bored watching the village sheep and to amuse himself, he calls out: "Wolf! Wolf! The Wolf is chasing the sheep!" In response, the villagers come running up the hill to help the boy but find no wolf. Then, he calls out "Wolf! Wolf!" again, and once more the villagers come running but see no wolf. As a result, when the boy sees a real wolf and calls out "Wolf! Wolf!" the villagers ignore him, and the wolf eats his sheep. And in some versions of the tale, the wolf eats the boy.

Well, in this case, the boy crying wolf the first time is a little like the Republican Party and the media thinking Trump running for President is just a joke or publicity stunt to build his own brand, so they ignore any calls in the beginning to take him seriously. So Trump gets lots of press when he makes outrageous statements, like putting down Megyn Kelly, calling some Mexicans coming to the U.S. rapists, and issuing a call to ban Muslims. In fact, some media categorize his campaign as entertainment and all in fun. Meanwhile, Trump is gathering more and more support, until it's too late, and he is able to swoop in like the wolf, because everyone ignores the early warnings, believing they aren't true.

Thus, now, even if the sky is really falling, it could be too late to do anything about it. Trump, much like the fox and wolf, has eaten up the competition, and now he can eat up the sheep and anyone else who gets in his way.

For anyone following this series, this is the seventh and last in a series of campaign fairy tales I started writing for the Huffington Post. The others include:

They have also been compiled into a book 2016 Election Fairy Tales


Gini Graham Scott, PhD, writes frequently about social trends and everyday life. She is the author of over 50 books with major publishers and has published 30 books through her company Changemakers Publishing and Writing. She writes books and proposals for clients and has written and produced over 50 short videos through Changemakers Productions and is a partner in a service that connects writers to publishers, agents, and the film industry. Her latest books are Scammed, Lies and Liars: How and Why Sociopaths Lie and How to Detect and Deal With Them, and The New Middle Ages: How the Growing Inequalities Between Rich and Poor Threaten Our Way of Life.