Everybody pretended not to hear her. The people in the
When she found that people were not listening to her,
she cackled louder than ever.
"Is there any particular reason why we should look at
the egg—the egg—the egg—the
egg that you have laid?" asked the
Now, usually if the Dorking Hen had been spoken to
in this way, she would have
ruffled up her head feathers and walked away, but this
time she had news to tell and
so she kept her temper. "Reason?" she cackled. "Yes
indeed! It is the finest egg
that was ever laid in this
"Hear her talk!" said a Bantam Hen. "I think it is in very poor taste to lay such large eggs as most of the Hens do here. Small ones are much more genteel."
"She must forget an egg that I laid a while ago with
two yolks," said a
"Well," said the Dorking Hen, who could not keep still
any longer, "small eggs may
be genteel and large ones may be interesting, but my
last one is
"Perhaps you'd just as soon tell us about it as to
brag without telling?"
"No," answered the Dorking Hen, "it is white, but it is shiny."
"Shiny!" they exclaimed. "Who ever heard of a shiny egg?"
"Nobody," she replied, "and that is why it is so wonderful."
"Don't believe it," said the Shanghai Cock, as he turned away and began scratching the ground.
Now the Dorking Hen did get angry. "Come to see it, if
you don't believe me," she
said, as she led the others into the
She flew up to the row of boxes where the Hens had their nests, and picked her way along daintily until she reached the farthest one. "Now look," said she.
One by one the fowls peeped into the
box, and sure
enough, there it lay, a
fine, shiny, white egg. The little Bantam, who was
really a jolly,
"It is whiter than I fancy," said the
"I shall hatch it," said the
"Perhaps," said one of her friends, "somebody else may have laid it after all, and not noticed. You know it is not the only one in the nest."
"Pooh!" said the Dorking Hen. "I guess I know! I am sure it was not there when I went to the nest and it was there when I left. I must have laid it."
The fowls went away, and she tried to roll the shiny one away from the other eggs, but it was slippery and very light and would not stay where she put it. Then she got out of patience and rolled all the others out of the nest. Two of them fell to the floor and broke, but she did not care. "They are nothing but common ones, anyway," she said.
When the farmer's wife came to gather the eggs she
pecked at her and was very cross.
Every day she did this, and at last the woman let her
alone. Every day
the other fowls what a wonderful Chicken she expected
to have. "Of course he will
be of my color," said she, "but his feathers will shine
brightly. He will be a
great flyer, too. I am sure that is what it means when
the egg is light." She came
off the nest each day just long enough to stroll around
and chat with her friends,
telling them what wonderful things she expected, and
never letting them forget that
it was she who
had laid the shiny egg. She pecked
airily at the food, and
seemed to think that a Hen who was hatching such a
wonderful Chicken should have the
best of everything. Each day she told some new beauty
that was to belong to her
child, until the
Day after day passed, and the garden beyond the barn
showed rows of sturdy green
plants, where before there had been only straight
ridges of fine brown earth. The
Swallows who were building under the eaves of the great
barn, twittered and
chattered of the wild flowers in the forest, and four
other Hens came off their
nests with fine broods of downy Chickens. And still
At last a downy Chicken peeped out of
one of the
common eggs, and wriggled and
twisted to free himself from the shell. His mother did
not hurry him or help him.
She knew that he must not slip out of it until all the
blood from the
The Dorking Cock walked into the
The truth was that he had been rather
the other Cocks, and only a
few minutes later he spoke with pride of the time when
"our" shiny egg should hatch.
"For," he said,
"Yes," said the Black Spanish Cock afterward, "a Dorking certainly is a Dorking, although I never could see the sense of making such a fuss about it. They are fat and they have an extra toe on each foot. Why should a fowl want extra toes? I have four on each foot, and I can scratch up all the food I want with them."
"Well," said the grumpy old Shanghai Cock. "I am sick
and tired of this fuss.
Common eggs are good enough for Shanghais and Black
Spanish and Bantams, and I
Just at this minute they heard a loud fluttering and squawking in the Hen-house and the Dorking Hen crying, "Weasel! Weasel!" The Cocks ran to drive the Weasel away, and the Hens followed to see it done. All was noise and hurry, and they saw nothing of the Weasel except the tip of his bushy tail as he drew his slender body through an opening in the fence.
The Dorking Hen was on one of the long perches where
the fowls roost at night, the
newly hatched Chicken lay shivering in the nest, and on
the floor were the pieces of
the wonderful shiny egg. The
The Dorking Cock looked very cross. He was not afraid of a Weasel, and he did not see why she should be. "Just like a Hen!" he said.
The Black Spanish Hen turned to him before he
could say another word. "Just
like a Cock!" she exclaimed. "I never raise Chickens
myself. It is not the custom
among the Black Spanish Hens. We lay the eggs and
somebody else hatches them. But
if I had been on the nest as long as
A motherly old Shanghai Hen flew up beside
The Bantam Hen picked her way to the nest. "What a dear little Chicken!" she cried, in her most comforting tone. "He is so plump and so bright for his age. But, my dear, he is chilly, and I think you should cuddle him under your wings until his down is dry."
The Dorking Hen flew down. "He is a dear," she said, "and yet when he was hatched I didn't care much for him, because I had thought so long about the shiny egg. It serves me right to lose that one, because I have been so foolish. Still, I do not know how I could stand it if it were not for my good neighbors."
While Mrs. Dorking was talking with the Bantam by her
nest, the Black Spanish Hen
scratched a hole in the earth under the perches, poked
the pieces of the shiny egg
into it, and covered them up. "I never raise Chickens
myself," she said, "but if I
The Shanghai Cock walked away with the Dorking Cock.
"I'm sorry for you," he said,
"and I am more sorry for
From that day to this, nobody in the poultry yard has
ever spoken of the shiny egg,
and the Dorkings are much liked by the other fowls.
Yet if it had not been for her