Alice Cary

The Pig and the Hen

The pig and the hen,

They both got in one pen,

And the hen said she wouldn't go out.

"Mistress Hen," says the pig,

"Don't you be quite so big!"

And he gave her a push with his snout.

"You're rough and you're fat,

But who cares for all that;

I will stay if I choose," says the hen,

"No, mistress, no longer!"

Says pig: "I'm the stronger,

And mean to be boss of my pen!"

Then the hen cackled out

Just as close to his snout

As she dare: "You're an ill-natured brute;

And if I had the corn,

Just as sure as I'm born,

I would send you to starve or to root!"

"But you don't own the cribs;

So I think that my ribs

Will never the leaner for you:

This trough is my trough,

And the sooner you're off,"

Says the pig, "Why, the better you'll do!"

"You're not a bit fair,

And you're cross as a bear:

What harm do I do in your pen?

But a pig is a pig,

And I don't care a fig

For the worst you can say," says the hen.

Says the pig, "You will care

If I act like a bear

And tear your two wings from your neck."

"What a nice little pen

You have got!" says the hen,

Beginning to scratch and to peck.

Now the pig stood amazed,

And the bristles, upraised

A moment past, fell down so sleek.

"Neighbor Biddy," says he,

"If you'll just allow me,

I will show you a nice place to pick!"

So she followed him off,

And they ate from one trough—

They had quarrelled for nothing, they saw;

And when they had fed,

"Neighbor Hen," the pig said,

"Won't you stay here and roost in my straw?"

"No, I thank you; you see

That I sleep in a tree,"

Says the hen; "but I must go away;

So a grateful good-bye."

"Make your home in my sty."

Says the pig, "and come in every day."

Now my child will not miss

The true moral of this

Little story of anger and strife;

For a word spoken soft

Will turn enemies oft

Into friends that will stay friends for life.