Gateway to the Classics: Fairy Tales Too Good To Miss—In the Meadow by Lisa M. Ripperton
Fairy Tales Too Good To Miss—In the Meadow by  Lisa M. Ripperton

The Little Rooster

I N the barnyard where the Ducks and Chickens lived were two little Bantam Chickens, a little Rooster and a little Hen. They loved each other very dearly. The little Hen was so gentle and so patient, while the little Rooster was sometimes very noisy, and he had another very bad habit—he was always in a hurry; he couldn't wait for anything. These little Chickens took a great many nice walks together. One day in the Spring this little Rooster and little Hen started out for a walk. The sun was so bright and the air was so warm, that the flowers were all nodding and smiling to each other, and they nodded their heads to the little Chickens as they passed. The leaves were fresh and green on the trees and there was a beautiful green carpet on the ground.

The little Chickens walked along until they got out into the country, and then they came to a garden with a low fence around it. Looking through the palings, the little Rooster spied a bed of strawberries, some of them just beginning to turn a little yellow and some of them quite green. None of them were ripe, for the sun had not been warm enough. "Now," said the little Rooster in a loud voice, "I shall have just as many strawberries as I can eat."

"Surely," said the little Hen, "you are not going to eat those green strawberries."

"Yes, I am," said the little Rooster.

"Oh! please do not," said the Hen, "they will make you sick; wait a few days and they will be ripe, and we can come again."

"You are so foolish," said the little Rooster, "you always want me to wait," and with that he stretched out his wings and flew over the fence into the strawberry bed. He ate and ate until he was full. The little Hen stayed outside and kept thinking how sick he would be. After a while they walked home, and the night came and all the Chickens were asleep. The little Hen was suddenly startled in the night by a loud groan. "Oh! dear me; I'm so sick! Oh! how my stomach aches!" The poor little Hen was so frightened, because it was the little Rooster who was so sick. She got up and waited on him, but he was a very sick Rooster—he was so sick he could not get up the next morning—however, he recovered.

The Spring passed and Summer came. It was so warm that the little Hen and the little Rooster thought they would like to walk out in the country.

As they started and walked along they became very much heated. After a while they came to a clear, beautiful stream. "Now," said the little Rooster, "I shall have a nice, cool drink of water after this hot walk."  "Now, my dear little Rooster," said the Hen, "won't you please sit down under these shady trees and get cooled off before you drink; because you know when one is overheated it is not good to drink cold water."

"Nonsense!" said the little Rooster, "I am not going to wait," and with this he put his bill down in the water and threw his head back until he could not drink another drop. The little Hen sat down and waited until she was rested.

That night the little Rooster was very sick again; this time the little Hen thought he was going to die. She put his feet in warm water and put a mustard plaster on him. He recovered, but he was very weak for a long time.

Summer passed, Autumn came, and Jack Frost had made only one visit to the little streams, so they had only a very thin sheet of ice over them. One nice day the little Hen and the little Rooster went out for another walk. They came to a stream; the little Rooster stepped on the ice and begged the little Hen to skate with him.

"No," said the little Hen, "the ice is too thin; it will break; we had better wait."

"Wait, indeed," said the little Rooster, "you are always talking about waiting."

With this he skated off nearly to the middle of the stream, came back and begged again.

"No," said the little Hen. Then he went to the middle and came back and begged again.

"No," said the little Hen.

The third time he skated almost across the stream. The Hen was sitting on a stone crying, when she heard a crackling sound—Crack! Pop went the ice under the little Rooster and he fell into the water and was drowned.

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