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IT's QUITE TRUE!”

 

THAT is a terrible affair!”said a Henand she said it in a quarter of the town where the occurrence had not happened.“That is a terrible affair in the poultryhouseI cannot sleep alone tonightIt is quite fortunate that there are many of us on the roost together!”And she told a tale at which the feathers of the other birds stood on endand the cock's comb fell down flatIt's quite true

But we will begin at the beginningand that was in a poultry-house in another part of the townThe sun went downand the fowls jumped up on their perch to roostThere was a Henwith white feathers and short legswho laid her right number of eggsand was a respectable hen in every wayas she flew up on to the roost she pecked herself with her beakand a little feather fell out

There it goes!”said she;“the more I peck myself the handsomer I grow!”And she said it quite merrilyfor she was a joker among the hensthoughas I have saidshe was very respectableand then she went to sleep

It was dark all aroundhen sat by henbut the one that sat next to the merry Hen did not sleepshe heard and she didn't hearas one should do in this world if one wishes to live in quietbut she could not refrain from telling it to her next neighbour

Did you hear what was said here just nowI name no namesbut here is a hen who wants to peck her feathers out to look wellIf I were a cock I should despise her.”

And just above the Hens sat the Owlwith her husband and her little owletsthe family had sharp earsand they all heard every word that the neighbouring Hen had spokenand they rolled their eyesand the MotherOwl clapped her wings and said

Don't listen to itBut I suppose you heard what was said thereI heard it with my own earsand one must hear much before one's ears fall offThere is one among the fowls who has so completely forgotten what is becoming conduct in a hen that she pulls out all her feathersand then lets the cock see her.”

Prenez garde aux enfants,” said the FatherOwl.“That's not fit for the children to hear.”

I'll tell it to the neighbour owlShe's a very proper owl to associate with.”And she flew away

Hoohootowhoo!”they both hooted in front of the neighbour's dovecot to the doves within.“Have you heard itHave you heard itHoohoothere's a hen who has pulld out all her feathers for the sake of the cockShe'll die with coldif she's not dead already.”

CoocooWherewhere?”cried the Pigeons

In the neighbour's poultry-yardI've as good as seen it myselfIt's hardly proper to repeat the storybut it's quite true!”

Believe itbelieve every single word of it!”cooed the Pigeonsand they cooed down into their own poultry-yard.“There's a henand some say that there are two of themthat have plucked out all their feathersthat they may not look like the restand that they may attract the cock's attentionThat's a bold gamefor one may catch cold and die of a feverand they are both dead.”

Wake upwake up!”crowed the Cockand he flew up on to the fencehis eyes were still very heavy with sleepbut yet he crowed.“Three hens have died of an unfortunate attachment to a cockThey have plucked out all their feathersThat's a terrible storyI won't keep it to myselflet it travel farther.”

Let it travel farther!”piped the Batsand the fowls clucked and the cocks crowed,“Let it go fartherlet it go farther!”And so the story travelled from poultryyard to poultry-yardand at last came back to the place from which it had gone forth.“Five fowls,”it was told,“have plucked out all their feathers to show which of them had become thinnest out of love to the cockand then they have pecked each other and fallen down deadto the shame and disgrace of their familiesand to the great loss of the proprietor.”

And the Hen who had lost the little loose featherof course did not know her own story againand as she was a very respectable Henshe said

I despise those fowlsbut there are many of that sortOne ought not to hush up such a thingand I shall do what I can that the story may get into the papersand then it will be spread over all the countryand that will serve those fowls rightand their families too.”

It was put into the newspaperit was printedand it's quite true——that one little feather may swell till it be-comes five fowls

  


 

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