Lester found his way to the sanctuary when he was just a young cockerel, more commonly known as a rooster. He was a handsome boy, but he was also very arrogant. He thought he was better than the pigs, and he often taunted them from his perch in the barn, which he referred to as his throne.
“You filthy pigs spend all day wallowing in the mud. Your snouts are big and ugly. Your tails curl up like snakes. All you do is walk around snorting and telling silly stories. You can’t even fly!”
He twirled his feathery head around to show off his bright red comb and muttered to himself, “So unappealing to a beautiful creature like myself.”
The pigs tolerated Lester and his arrogant behavior. Sometimes they made fun of him behind his back, and other times they just felt sorry for him. But their lives were too full of fun adventures to worry about a mean chicken.
One night, Lester was roosting on his usual perch overlooking the pigs, when he heard Miss Stella crying softly to herself. Suddenly, he was overwhelmed with a feeling of compassion. He knew the other pigs often picked on her. He also remembered the farm where he used to live and how the chickens picked on him and made him cry.
Lester flew down into Stella’s stall. Her snout was glistening in the moonlight from her tears, and the straw around her was wet, too.
“Stella, why do you let the pigs pick on you? Why don’t you stand up for yourself?”
Stella looked at Lester with a very confused look on her face. She had never heard him speak kindly before.
Stella replied, “Why do you care, Lester? You only care about yourself. You don’t care about me.”
Lester stood and reflected for a minute. He thought about what it really means to care about someone. He also thought about his own behavior. He wondered if anyone had ever cared about him in his whole life.
Lester moved his wrinkled little foot and placed it on Stella’s hoof. “I care about you, Stella. I don’t really know why, but I think I do care about you.”
Stella stopped crying and turned her focus to Lester. She wanted to know more about him. Where did he come from? Why did he act so arrogant and proud?
Lester spent the rest of the night lying next to Stella, keeping her company and telling stories about his past. He told her about the mean farm where he used to live and how he was treated. He told her about his deep sadness.
Stella listened to every word Lester spoke that night. In fact, she listened so much that she completely forgot about her own problems.
That night, Stella and Lester formed a bond that would never break. They made a pact to protect and love each other for the rest of their lives.
The next morning, before the other pigs woke up, Stella smiled at Lester, and thanked him for his kindness. “I learned something very important last night, Lester. Caring for others is the secret to being happy. If we care for others, then we have a mission in life, and our own problems won't be important anymore.”
Lester twirled his bright comb in the usual way, but this time, he twirled it out of happiness, because he had just learned the most important lesson in his life. He proudly flew up on Stella’s back and proclaimed his new throne.