Once upon a time there was a farm where turkeys lived. All of them were young and plump, big and strong and proud. All of them except one. He was smaller than all the other turkeys. He was called the Littlest Turkey.
The Littlest Turkey wanted to run and play with the other turkeys, but they didn't want to play with him. "Go away, Littlest Turkey," they would say. "Come back when you've gotten bigger."
But the Littlest Turkey was sure he was as big as he was going to get. He tried to eat as much as he could, but he never seemed to get as big and plump as the other turkeys. And he knew that unless he got big and plump like the other turkeys, he would never get to go to the Laughter House.
The Laughter House was a wonderful place. The Littlest Turkey had never been in there. He knew that only the big and plump turkeys would get to go inside the Laughter House. He had seen them go in once, and had heard their squawks and gobbles of laughter for a little while. It must be wonderful in there, the Littlest Turkey thought. All those turkeys go in to laugh, and none of them had ever come out again. How much fun they must be having!
The Littlest Turkey decided that, big and plump or not, he would get into the Laughter House the next time they let the turkeys in.
THE LITTLEST TURKEY
The weather started getting cooler, and the leaves on the trees started to change colors. All the turkeys knew that soon it would be time for the biggest holiday of the year, Turkey Day.
"Just before Turkey Day is when they take the big and plump turkeys into the Laughter House," thought the Littlest Turkey. "But this time I'm going to get in there, too!"
It wasn't long before the big day came. All of the big and plump turkeys lined up to go into the Laughter House. The Littlest Turkey waited near the entrance of the Laughter House, then squeezed in between two very big and plump turkeys. No one noticed him because he was so little.
The Laughter House was dark inside, and there was a sort of moving sidewalk there that was taking turkeys into another room, where he could hear gobbles and squawks of laughter. One by one the turkeys hopped up to ride the sidewalk. The Littlest Turkey hopped up, too.
The turkey in front of him, whose name was Tom, turned around. "Go away, Littlest Turkey," he said. "Come back when you are bigger."
"Yes, go away," said the turkey behind him, whose name was also Tom. "They do not want little turkeys at the Market. Only big and plump ones."
"No," said the Littlest Turkey. "I want to go to the Market with you." He had never heard of the Market, but he realized that it must be even better than the Laughter House.
A Man spotted the Littlest Turkey. "Go away, Littlest Turkey," he said. "Come back when you are bigger."
"Oh, please, Mr. Man," said the Littlest Turkey. "I do so want to go to the Market with the other turkeys."
"Very well," said the Man. "We've got a quota to meet, anyway."
The Littlest Turkey rode the sidewalk into the other room. He wondered what things would be like at the Market.
The Littlest Turkey was cold. He was colder than he ever remembered being before. But then again, it was hard to remember much since they had chopped his head off.
He was in a case with the other turkeys, the big and plump turkeys. Turkey Day was coming soon, and people were coming to the Market to pick turkeys to take home.
They always seemed to want the big and plump turkeys. One time a little girl had seen him in the case. "Mommy, mommy, look at the little turkey," she said. "I want to take home the littlest turkey."
"No, dear," her mother said. "We are having many people over for Thanksgiving. We need a big, plump turkey."
One by one the other turkeys left the Market to go home with people. Turkey Day was coming soon, and people were taking away more and more of the big and plump turkeys. But no one wanted the Littlest Turkey.
Finally, the day before Turkey Day came, and the Littlest Turkey found himself all alone in the case.
"How sad," he thought. "No one wants to take me home."
It was late in the day, and the Manager was about to close down the Market for the night. Suddenly a Man came into the store.
"I have a coupon," he said, "for a free turkey. Do you have any left?"
"You're in luck," said the Manager. "I have one left." He showed the Man the Littlest Turkey, all alone in the case.
"It's a little small," the Man said. "But I guess beggars can't be choosers. Besides, it's just me and my wife this year. A little turkey might be just what we need."
The Manager took the Littlest Turkey out of the case and traded him to the Man for the coupon he was holding. "Happy Thanksgiving!", he said to the Man.
"I'm not going to be left behind for Turkey Day," thought the Littlest Turkey happily as the Man put him in the trunk of his car. "I'm so happy. But I'm so cold." He rolled around a little as the car pulled out of the parking lot. "I sure hope I'm going someplace warm."