A funny story about three animals' adventure in a hot air balloon.

Source : http://www.highlightskids.com/Stories/Fiction/F0597_bonvoyage.asp...

A chance to make history.

“I don’t remember volunteering for anything,” said Duck.

Duck, Sheep, and Rooster had just finished their midmorning snack when Joseph and Étienne Montgolfier strolled into the barnyard asking for volunteers to ride in their hot-air balloon.

“Let’s get them into the cart and take them to market,” said Étienne as he hustled the three animals into the horse-drawn cart.

“Oh, my giblets and liver! This is it. We’re going to market. I’m going to be chicken and dumplings,” yelled Rooster.

“Nonsense,” Sheep said. “The brothers adore us. We’re family.”

“OK, Lamb Chops, we’ll just see who’s right and who’s Sunday dinner,” said Rooster.

“I’m not happy. I most certainly am not happy about this,” whined Duck.

When they arrived at the marketplace in the center of the village, Étienne opened the cart and yelled “Voila!” (which is French for “There it is!”).

“You are going to be the first passengers in the Montgolfier balloon,” he explained.

Rooster and Duck and Sheep were pleased that they were not going to be plucked and sheared and boiled, but they were still leery. The balloon was the size of a barn, and attached to it was a tiny straw basket. The brothers hoisted the animals into the basket.

“What did I tell you?” said Sheep. “Nothing to worry about. We’re just going on a little ride.”

“Well, I’d rather not go,” said Rooster. “Thank you very much.”

“I’m not happy,” moaned Duck.

The brothers waved and yelled “Bon voyage!” (which is French for “Have a good trip!”), and the balloon began to rise.

“Oh my,” Sheep said.

“What’s happening?” asked Duck.

“Don’t look. It’s too awful,” warned Rooster.

"Our entire world is shrinking."“I think I’m going to throw up,” said Duck.

“Don’t you dare,” Sheep told her. “It’s really not so bad once you get used to the swinging and swaying.”

“Not so bad?” asked Rooster. “How can you say that? Our entire world is shrinking.”

“Shrinking?” cried Duck as she pushed her way to the edge of the basket. “Let me see.”

“There’s your pond, Duck. It’s just a puddle now,” Rooster said. “And Sheep, there’s your pasture. It’s nothing more than a patch of green. And there’s my little red barn. I’ll never cock-a-doodle-do there again.”

“Uh-oh,” Sheep said.

“Uh-oh what?” Duck asked.

“We’re not going up anymore,” Sheep said. “We’re going down.”

“I’m going to faint,” said Duck.

“There’s not enough room in this basket for you to faint,” Sheep said. “Get a grip.”

“This is it. This is the end,” said Rooster. “Au revoir” (which is French for “Good-bye”).

“Would you two settle down?” Sheep shouted. “We’re getting ready to land. Everything is going to be OK.”

And it would have been OK, but when the balloon hit the ground it bounced and turned over. Sheep accidentally stepped on Rooster’s wing.

“Oh, help! I’m broken,” yelled Rooster. “Somebody call the vet.”

“Oh dear,” Sheep said. “I am so sorry.”

Joseph and Étienne packed up their balloon and gently put Sheep and Duck and Rooster in the cart for the trip home. But as they drove away, Sheep stuck her head out.

“All those people in the marketplace are cheering,” she said. “They’re cheering for us. We’re heroes!”

"They're cheering for us!"“I don’t like being a hero,” whimpered Duck. “I want to go home. I have a headache.”

“Headache? Headache!” roared Rooster. “How can you complain about a headache? My wing’s broken. I’ll never fly again.”

“I said I was sorry,” said Sheep. “Besides, you never flew much anyway.”

Sheep was truly sorry about Rooster’s wing, but she was never sorry that she had had such a grand adventure. From that day on, whenever Sheep saw a big, gaily colored hot-air balloon floating in the sky, she would yell, “Vive la France!” (which means “Hooray for France!”).

* Montgolfier is pronounced moan goal fee AY.

The Montgolfier Brothers

Joseph and Étienne Montgolfier lived more than two hundred years ago in France.

Their fascination with hot-air balloons began with small toy balloons made of paper. Inside the balloons were little candles, and when they lit the candles the balloons would float into the air.

The brothers loved the toy balloons, and since they owned a paper factory they thought it would be wonderful to make a paper balloon that was big enough to carry people.

For years the brothers’ efforts were unsuccessful, but they didn’t give up. One day they made a balloon of paper and cloth. Oh, it was magnifique (which is the French word for “wonderful” or “magnificent”).

All they needed were volunteers to go up in the balloon. No one volunteered. So they went home to their farm and chose a duck and a rooster and a sheep to be the world’s first hot-air balloon travelers.

Duck, Sheep, and Rooster were the first passengers to ride in a hot-air balloon. They made their historic ten-minute trip in 1783 and returned safely to Earth. Well, almost safely. Rooster’s wing really was broken during the landing when Sheep stepped on it. It eventually healed, but it was always a little crooked.