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The Chickens of Fowl Farm   By:

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A Story




Kodak Illustrations by the Authoress

Published by Allen, Lane & Scott Philadelphia 1898

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 well.

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 thought.

"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 sick.



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... Continue reading book >>

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