Recent evidence helps posit a theory for the rise of bird flu: Some scientists now believe the virus is being spread by migrating birds as they fly over - and defecate upon - poultry farms. The specter of millions of birds dropping tons of dangerous feces upon their captive and domesticated fowl brethren is disturbing enough, yet one mythic figure is feeling some measure of vindication.
Chicken Little, reached at his home in Beverly Hills, was blunt. "Look," he said, "I'm feeling as bad as the next chick about the whole bird flu pandemic, but do I have to say, 'I told you so'? Apparently I do."
After a brief, suspense-producing pause, Mr. Little said "I told you so."
Mr. Little, now over 200 years old, gained a resurgence of fame with the release of last year's animated Hollywood treatment of his life and times, but he has often been eyed with derision if not downright ridicule by those who believe his cry of "The sky is falling" to be the ranting of a paranoid bird.
"It's been very painful," Mr. Little admitted. "That's why I've been holed up in this mansion with my similarly disdained companion, The Boy Who Cried Wolf."
Mr. Boy could not be reached for comment, but was heard weeping in the background. Mr. Little, for his part, could no longer hide his delight.
"Maybe, just maybe I can go outside again," he said, adding, "but not without an umbrella, of course."