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´╗┐Title: The Chickens of Fowl Farm
Author: Barksdale, Lena E.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Chickens of Fowl Farm" ***

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A Story




Kodak Illustrations by the Authoress

Published by
Allen, Lane & Scott

Copyright, 1898.
by Lena E. Barksdale.


I have written this little chicken book in the past few months, and
now on my eleventh birthday the story is finished.

The "other critters" have talked to the world through "Uncle Remus."
The horses through "Black Beauty"; now I wish to give the chickens
a chance.

Most of them I write of are members of my own family, so I know them

L. E. B.

August 22d, 1898.




"Why is it, I would like to know," said young Scratchfoot, throwing the
sand over himself, "that every one is talking and carrying on of a hot
Summer day the very time you ought to go to sleep?"

"Hush up, Scratchfoot," said Topknot, "we are having a very lively
conversation. Uncle Red Nose Mike has just asked a riddle, which none
of us can guess. But you can, so get up and try."

Scratchfoot yawned and then said, "Mr. Mike, what is your riddle? I will
try my hand at it. What is it?"

"What kind of a cravat would our friend Mr. Hog be most likely to
choose?" said Red Nose Mike, then added: "I have offered a prize of
those six worms I found just now to the one that tells me what it is."

[Illustration: HEN CASTLE.]

"That is very easy. Have these people, sensible too they call
themselves, been trying so long to guess that riddle? Hand over your
worms, Mr. Mike, for I know it," said Scratchfoot after a little

"The worms come after the riddle," said Mike.

"The answer is a pig's tie."

"Right, and here are the worms!"

Then after receiving many congratulations Scratchfoot ate the worms.


"Mrs. Henny Penny, why do you insist on sitting on your nest forever?
It is so pleasant outdoors; you might be fattening on worms instead of
up here on your nest as if you were glued to it," said Scratchfoot.

"My dear, I see you do not understand."

"No, I don't understand, and only silly people say there is anything to
understand in it," said Scratchfoot, interrupting Henny Penny.

"Dear, you said awhile ago that no one ought to stay in this fine
weather, so I wish you would please go out."

After giving her a peck Scratchfoot left the house.



"O! Mr. Mike, what is that noise? O! O! Mr. Mike, it is Scratchfoot; he
has fallen. See, Mr. Mike," said Brownie, one of the hens at Fowl Farm.

Red Nose Mike flew down on the floor of the henhouse. Then he gave a cry
that waked all the chickens. He said, "Ladies and gentlemen, please all
get together and listen to this sad news I have to tell you."

All the people assembled, and Red Nose Mike said--

"Knowing as I do that young Scratchfoot, of our beloved Fowl Farm, has
gotten up such a reputation, not only for finding the nicest, fattest
worms, not only for guessing riddles or telling the best stories, but
for fighting off any rooster that does harm to the people, I wish to
break the dreadful news as best I can that Scratchfoot is dead!"

Every hen and every rooster drew out their kerchiefs and freely the
tears fell. It was dawn before any of them stopped crying. Then
preparations were made to bury Scratchfoot. Every chicken went; even
Henny Penny left her eggs long enough to go.

That night every one was weak with crying and Topknot had cried herself



Fowl Farm was once owned by a farmer named Gray, but when Mr. Gray died
he left his farm to a friend who cared nothing at all about it, and
never took the trouble to go to it or to sell it or to send any one else
to it. So once, nearly five years after Mr. Gray's death, some half
dozen travelling hens and roosters found it, and after coming to the
conclusion that it was as much theirs as any one's, they took possession
of it and have kept it ever since.

Here are the names of the hens:--

Lady Gray, Henny Penny, Fluffie, Speckle, Mrs. Bluehen, Topknot,
Brownie, Eatwell, Stuffie, Cockletop, Swellhead, Tiptoe, Highhead,
Julia, Charcoal, Glover, Bluie, Longlegs, and Bigfoot.

Here are the names of the roosters:--

Red Nose Mike, Lazybones, Long Nose Bill.



"Mr. Long Nose, have you been for the mail?" asked Cockletop, as Long
Nose was returning from a walk.

"Yes," answered Bill, "I called. Only a letter for Lady Gray, though.
Here, Lazybones, take this to the lady."

Lazybones never objected to taking mail to Lady Gray, because she always
gave him something.

That night Lady Gray's maid came to the second henhouse and handed a
folded paper to Red Nose Mike. He opened it and read:--

    "_Mr. Mike_:

    "DEAR SIR:--I wish all of you to come to Hen Castle at eight
    o'clock to-night.

    "LADY GRAY."

Red Nose called all the people together and read aloud the note. They
all, except Henny Penny, said they would go. Then Mike seated himself
at the table and wrote:--

    "_Lady Gray_:

    "DEAR MADAM:--We will all be very glad to come to the Castle
    to-night at the appointed hour. Mrs. H. Penny says you really
    must excuse her though, as she is setting.


    "R. N. MIKE."

[Illustration: RED NOSE MIKE.]

This answer met with great approval in the henhouse, and at seven
o'clock every hen was getting out her silk dresses and saying what they
looked best in.

Promptly at eight every one was at the Castle. Lady Gray met them in the
garden and said:--

"I received by to-day's mail a very kind invitation to go to a party
over at Chicken Place. You were all invited. It is to be to-morrow, from
seven in the evening until one in the morning. All who wish to go will
oblige me by saying 'I.'"

Every one said "I." Then the chickens left to get ready for the party.



"After the thing was all over and the company leaving, Lady Featherly
gave each of us an orange or an apple," said Speckle to Henny Penny
the day after the party. "Don't you wish you had been there?"

"Yes, my dear, and I could have gone for half an hour, if I had not to
go out buying that house to-day. I may have to be gone some time, but
the only thing I mind is about my eggs. I am afraid they will get cold."
Henny sighed as she spoke.


"Could I take your place?"

"I would be very much obliged, my dear."

"Then I will," said Speckle. "What time do you go?"

"Red Nose Mike will be ready at half-past four this afternoon," Henny

Speckle was ready at the time set by Henny, who soon found a house and
was back in an hour's time.

We must now hear something of Henny Penny. She is one of the oldest and
sweetest hens at Fowl Farm. She was a small chicken when the travelling
hens and roosters settled at the farm. She is respected by every decent
chicken that ever saw her. The remark is everywhere, "What a nice lady
that Mrs. Henny Penny is!"



"Topknot, the doctor says go away for a month or so, and as old Miss
Guinea has asked you often to come to see her you may as well go now,"
said Long Nose Bill as he came in. He had been to see the doctor about
Topknot, who was sick. "I know, Mr. Bill, I am very much obliged to you
for having called on Doctor Fixit for me. I suppose I will have to go
at once if Miss Guinea wants me now."


Topknot wrote and heard in a day or so, saying Miss Guinea would be very
glad to see her any time she would come. So Monday morning found Top, as
the people called her, at the Guinea Place.

She stayed a month and came back as well as ever.



"Well, I hope he will get it done by Spring," said Red Nose Mike. He had
been giving Lazybones some instructions about digging sweet potatoes,
which he had offered to pay him for.

"I hope he will too," said Henny Penny.

"You all ought not to be so hard on Lazybones. You know the

"O hush, Speckle. You are always taking up for Lazybones."

"What did you say about circumstances, Speckle?" asked Stuffie.

"We were talking about Lazybones, Stuff," said Mrs. Bluehen. "We were
rather too hard on him, and Speck said we knew the circumstances."

"What sort of circumstances, Speck?"

"Stuff," said Speck, "I did not know you were here, and you raised
Lazybones. I was going to explain the circumstances, but I had rather
not as you are here."

"Do you mean that I raised Lazybones to be lazy?"

"I do, Stuff."

"Am I lazy?"

"I think so."

"Why dare you say that, miss?"

"Why did you ask me?"

"Because I wanted to know."

"I said what I thought, Stuff."

"O, hush up, Stuffie; don't talk so to Speckle. Ask a reasonable
question and answer reasonably," said Mike.

"Very well, Mr. Mike," said Stuffie, who, truth to tell, was afraid of
Red Nose.

The end of it was that Stuffie, being so mad, got the worst of it. She
went to her nest to mope the rest of the day.

Lady Gray heard how nicely Speckle behaved. She sent and asked her to
dine at the Castle. You may be sure Speck went.



"High! high! for the first cold day. It makes me feel good," said Long
Nose Bill on the tenth of December.

"What shall we do to-day?" asked Fluffie.

"Suppose we get the sleds and go to the hill!"

"What for?"

"To slide, of course, Fluff."

"Are we all going?"

"That is just what I want to find out."

Long Nose Bill got up and made this speech:

"LADIES AND GENTLEMEN OF FOWL FARM: Please, your attention for a second.

"We ought not to let such a fine snowstorm go by without going over
to the hill. The sleds are all in order, and I move we lose no time in
going over to the hill. We could spend an hour or so very pleasantly
in sliding. All who are of my opinion will oblige me by saying 'I.'"

With this fine speech, as Fluffie called it, Bill sat down.

All the people said "I," so at once they started. What a good time they
had! Once Speckle disappeared, but soon Red Nose Mike saw her head
sticking up out of a snowbank.

After awhile they went home. The close of a short December afternoon was
upon them before they reached the house.

"Mr. Mike," said Brownie, as they walked home together, "let's tell some
stories to-night!"

"Very well; I am willing if the others are."

The others were not only willing but glad, so after supper they began.



All and every one of Fowl Farm on a cold Winter afternoon were seated in
the sitting room at the second hen house. Lady Gray and Lady Featherly
had come in to spend a sociable afternoon, as they said. Lady Featherly
had her embroidery, Lady Gray her knitting. The others were sewing.

"Mrs. Penny, may I ask what article of dress you are making?" asked Lady

"Only hemstitching an apron, lady."

"May I see it?"


Henny unfolded, as she spoke, a beautiful apron. It was embroidered in
forget-me-nots, which were sprinkled over it. Fluffie laughed and told
Speckle afterwards that Lady Featherly nearly had a fit when she saw it.
For she said:--

"O, Mrs. Penny, how beautiful. Thought you did not embroider." Then
turning to Lady Gray, "Look here, Cousin Gray, see how lovely this is."

[Illustration: A GROUP IN THE YARD.]

Soon every one was admiring Henny's work.

"May I ask who you are making it for, Mrs. Penny?"

"For sale."

"How much do you ask?"

"Five dollars!"

"I will buy it then. I will pay you now."

Looking in her purse she drew forth an eight dollar bill, handed it to
Henny, and said:--

"Mrs. Penny, here is a bill for your apron. When you finish it please
send it to my home at Chicken Place. I hope it is right. Is it?"

"Why, my dear lady, it is too right. I only asked five dollars for the
apron. You have given me eight."

"Five dollars is not enough for such exquisite work. So please accept

"Why, thank you very much, my dear lady," said Henny.

"Fluffie, dear, you look badly. What is the matter?" asked Lady Gray
about an hour later.

"I feel rather badly, too, Lady Gray. I think we have been having too
much fuss down here. I will try to stay in my nest more."

"Fluffie, I want to ask you and Henny and Speck up to the Castle if you
will come," said Lady Gray.

"If we will come! We certainly will. We will be delighted to come to the
Castle on a visit."

"Fluffie, I don't want you on a visit. I want you there to live. How
would you like that?" asked Lady Gray.

"O, my dearest lady. Do you mean it?"

"Yes, I certainly mean it."



"Squark! squark! squark!" went Stuffie, Highhead, Longlegs, and Bigfoot.
It was just after the clock had struck for midnight. Red Nose Mike woke
up to find the door open and some one, he could not tell who, standing
there with the people in his hand. He was reaching for Charcoal. Mike at
once woke Charcoal and the rest of them escaped. Soon the person, whom
Red Nose Mike could see was not a chicken, disappeared.

"O! O! where are they? Who was it? O! Cousin Red Nose!" said Eatwell.

"No time for this, Eatwell," said Mrs. Bluehen. "Mr. Bill, Mr. Bill,
where are you?"

"Right here, putting on my overcoat. I must go up to the Castle and warn
the people of the danger," answered Bill.

"Yes, I was just going to say you ought to go."

Bill was gone. Did he ever reach the Castle? We will see.

[Illustration: THE TRAMP.]

As soon as he got outside the door the first thing Bill did was to put
his ear down to the ground. But he heard nothing. Then on he went.
But no, his legs would not carry him fast enough. He flew. At last the
Castle came in sight. How was he to get in? He knew. There was a porch,
a top porch, and Lady Gray's bay window opened into it. Bill flew on
the porch and commenced pecking on the window.

Lady Gray was easy to wake. She was soon at the window. She raised it
and said:--

"Mr. Bill, what do you mean? This is rather late to pay calls."

"O, lady, it is not a call. I came to tell you that serious trouble has
come to dear Fowl Farm," said Bill.

Lady Gray was a person not easily frightened, so she said:--

"I hope it is not as serious as you think; but what is it?"

"My dear madam, a tramp came to our house and stole Stuffie, Highhead,
Longlegs, and Bigfoot. Dear lady, he may come here, so please send out
to see if he has left the farm."

This was too much for Lady Gray. She fainted.



"How is the lady this morning?" asked Red Nose Mike the next day.

"Worse!" said Brownie, who was a trained nurse.

Mike sighed. "Is there anything I can do?" he asked.

"Yes, go for Doctor Fixit. She won't hear of a doctor coming, but----"

Red Nose Mike was gone before she could say more. An hour and a half
later Brownie, Henny, and the doctor were on the Castle porch.

"What do you think, doctor?" asked Henny.

"My dear madam, she has been worked up and is very badly off. She must
be kept very quiet. Those powders I left on the table must be taken the
last thing before going to bed and the first thing in the morning. She
must eat nothing. Make her some beef tea."

"How often must she take that?" asked Brownie.

"Every four hours. If she wants it break up a cracker in it. Good
morning; I will see you in the afternoon." The doctor left.

"Fluffie," said Brownie, "go lay down; see if you can catch a minute's
sleep. You will be sick next."

Fluffie went to her room and laid down. Lady Gray had been sick a week
now, and though she was a little better to-day she was far from being

While she lay there the doctor came up to the door.

Up she jumped and went to open the door.

"How is she, Miss Fluffie?"

"About the same." As Fluffie spoke she and the doctor went across the
hall to Lady Gray's room. The doctor went in.

In a few minutes Speckle came in Fluffie's room and said:--

"Fluff, the doctor says Lady Gray will soon be well. She is now very
much better than we thought."

"Yes, Speck, I heard him say so before I came in here."

Two weeks later Lady Gray was down on the porch. She still looked thin
and pale, but now would soon be well.



"Fluffie, come here; I have some news," said Lady Gray three years after
the stealing of Stuffie, Highhead, Longlegs, and Bigfoot. Lady Featherly
had long ago returned to Chicken Place. Everything had gone on quietly
at Fowl Farm.

"What is your news, lady?" asked Fluffie.

"You remember, Fluff," said the lady, "that visit we made over at Beauty


"You remember Tanglelegs?"


"Well, she wants to come up for the Winter."

"My dear lady, we don't want her up here," said Fluff.

"So I think, but we can't tell her not to come. Mrs. Bluehen has a house
full. She can't take her."

"I have an idea, lady. You know Blackie and Tiptoe are in the old house.
Why couldn't she go with them?"

"Just it. I will write to Tangle now."

"Cousin Mike," said Tanglelegs, a day after her arrival at Fowl Farm,
"it is a very hot afternoon. We can't sleep. Won't you please tell a

"Well, yes. What do you want to hear?" asked Red Nose.


"Well, one morning about nine years ago, when we were young, we belonged
to a family who lived about fifteen miles from here. They had all kinds
of fowls, turkeys, ducks, and everything. One night our mistress came
with her maid and examined us closely. She decided she had too many
chickens, so half a dozen of us were stopped up ready to be sold in the
morning. After awhile other chickens came to talk to us and we found out
a way to get out.

"We sent for our friend the dog, or as we called him, Sir Dixie. He
came. We asked him to stand up on his hind legs and push the door of the
box we were in with his nose and then we could fly out. Sir Dixie was
very glad to help us, so we soon got out, but we could not stay there
any longer, for of course it was not safe. So we started out, and after
awhile reached Fowl Farm. And we have, as you see, been here ever

[Illustration: SIR DIXIE TO THE RESCUE.]



Lady Gray had a great many visitors that Winter. One, Mr. Long Neck
Cock, who she had known for years, was spending the Winter with her.
Cock and Speckle got to be great friends.

The Winter was almost over, but March winds did not, as expected,
blow Cock away.

In April, Julia married Red Nose Mike, who died in a week after the

April was gone, and the first day of the lovely month of May came. Cock
still remained at the Castle.

On the fifth of May cards were sent out to all their friends announcing
the marriage of Miss Speckle and Mr. L. N. Cock. The wedding took place
on the fifteenth.

Lady Gray made them the present of a house very near the Castle.

In honor of the occasion Julia and Glover got up a picnic. Every one
went. They had a very good time. As the day was drawing to a close and
every one had assembled to go home Long Nose Bill commenced singing this
song in honor of Julia and Glover:--

  "Miss Julie was a chicken of the old blue hen:
   The way she 'fit' it was a sin.
   She boxed my ears and sot 'em a ringing,
   She never said a word, but she went along a singing.
   O, Miss Julie Glover, my true lover,
   Stuck in the mud and can't turn over.
   O, Miss Julie G-l-o-v-e-r!"

Eight years have now passed. All is as usual at Fowl Farm. Lady Gray is
dead. But Lady Fluffie almost equals her in everything.

Dear old Henny Penny is just the same Henny Penny we left some years
ago. She, of course, is much older.

Speckle and her rooster, as Lady Fluff says, have a large and constantly
increasing family, which now numbers fifteen. But in spite of all these
changes we can say with Mrs. Bluehen, Fowl Farm is just the same old
Fowl Farm and never can be anything else.

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