The Discontented Guinea Hen
ELL," said the Gobbler, "I should like
to know what next! Last spring it was
"I think it is lovely," cackled the
"What would you say about the Peacock?"
asked the Shanghai Cock, who had never
friendly with him, although, to tell the
"Er—er—well," said the Bantam Hen, who tried not to say unpleasant things about people unless she really had to, "he—he is certainly beautiful, although I can't say that I am fond of hearing him sing."
This made all the fowls laugh, even the
Gobbler looking a little smiling around
beak on the side where his hanging
wattle did not hide his face. When the
"I didn't see the Guinea Fowls," said one of the Geese. "We were swimming when they came. How do they look? Are they handsomely dressed? We shall not call upon them unless they are our kind of people." It was some time since their last plucking for the season, and the Geese were growing more airy every day now.
"They are really very peculiar," said
the Black Spanish Hen, "and not at all
"And they are shaped like us?" asked the
Hen Turkeys all together. They were
thinking that perhaps the Black Spanish
Hen would call them
"Very much like you," she replied. "In fact, I think they said something about being related to your family, although I am not sure. Do you remember, dear?" she said, turning to the Black Spanish Cock.
"Certainly," he answered. "The Guinea
Hen with the
"Gobble-gobble-gobble," called the Gobbler to the Hen Turkeys. "You must call upon our relatives as soon as you can. I will go later. I always wait to find out more about strangers before calling. It is my way." He didn't stop to think that if everybody waited as long as he did, the strangers would be very lonely.
After this, they scattered to feed, and
the Hen Turkeys and their children
for the Guinea Fowls. "Listen," said
one, "and we may hear them talking to
other." They stood still, with their
heads well up and turned a little to one
They heard a harsh voice saying,
"Good-morning," said the Hen Turkeys. "Are you the Guinea Fowls?"
"We are," said the one with the bright-colored legs, "and you are the Turkeys, are you not?"
"We are the Hen Turkeys," said they, "and these are our children. The Gobbler didn't feel that he could come with us this morning, but he will come later. He got very tired in Grasshopper season and is hardly over it yet."
"That is too bad," said the Guinea Cock politely. "We hope he will soon be better. It is a hard time for all Turkeys—so much running to and fro, besides the stretching of the neck whenever a Grasshopper comes near."
"Perhaps he overate somewhat," said one of the Hen Turkeys. "We were quite worried about him for a time. He slept so poorly and dreamed that he was being chased. He always had a good appetite, and you know how it is when there is so much food around. One cannot let it alone."
So they chatted on about one thing and
another, and walked as they visited.
"Oh, yes," cried the Guinea Hen with the bright-colored legs, "it is very pleasant, of course, but I wish you could see the farm we left."
"Why! Was it better than this?"
asked the Turkey Chicks, crowding around
her. They were so surprised that they
forgot their mothers' telling them that
they came they must be very quiet, and
making them all repeat together,
"Better? My dears, it was not to be spoken of in the same breath. I understand that when one has always lived here, this may seem very nice, but when one has known better things, it is hard to be contented."
"Still, we shall be very happy here, I
am sure," said the other
"We are glad of that," said the Turkeys
all together. "We really must be going.
fear we have stayed too long already.
The Gobbler will wonder if we are never
As they walked off to look for him, one Hen Turkey said to another, "It must be hard to come here after living on that farm."
"Yes," was the answer, "I suppose that we don't really know what comfort is here."
When the Gobbler asked them about the
Guinea Fowls, and how they were enjoying
new home, the
When the Geese met the Guinea Fowls,
they began to speak of the pleasure of
on such a fine farm. "Ah," said the
The other Guinea Fowls looked
uncomfortable when she spoke in this
way, and stood
first on one foot and then on the other.
Then the Cock said something about the
sunshiny fall weather, and the good
The Gander spoke again of the farm. "It is not all that we could wish," said he; "still there are some good things about it. There are several swimming places which are fine and cold in winter."
"If it were only better cared for," said the Gray Goose. "I had a dreadful time a while ago, when I tried to get through a hole in the fence. I don't remember what was the matter with the hole, and perhaps I never knew, but the farmer should have such things fixed. My neck was lame for days afterward, and he was wholly to blame."
After this, the Geese found fault
with almost everything, and when there
no one thing to grumble about, they
sighed because, "It was so different from
what it might be."
It was not long before
spring Chickens, the Goslings, and the
Ducklings were speaking in the same way,
One day she fluttered toward them in a
most excited manner. "Do I look nearly
crazy?" said she. "I feel so. Ever
since our last storm, the Guinea Fowls
been shut in with us, and I would give
half of my
"What do they do?" asked the Nigh Ox, who always enjoyed hearing the Bantam Hen talk.
"Do?" said she, shaking her dainty little head. "They don't do much of anything. That is what is the matter, and the young fowls are the worst of all. You know how it used to be at feeding time? We all fluttered and squabbled for the first chance at the food. Some Hen got the biggest piece, and then the rest would chase her from one corner to another, and not give her a chance to break and swallow any of it until she would share with them. It was great fun, and we never left a scrap uneaten. Now, what do you think?"
"Can't imagine," exclaimed the Oxen in one breath.
"Well, they all stand around on one foot
for a while, and I am the only one
eating. Then somebody says, 'I wonder
if this is any better than the last we
Another will groan, 'Oh, is it time to
eat again?' or, 'Suppose I must eat
to keep up my strength.' Then I hear
"What nonsense!" exclaimed the Oxen together, and they spoke quite sharply for them.
"I wish," said the Bantam Hen very slowly, and as though she meant every word—"I wish the bright-legged one were back where it was 'so different.' Perhaps then my friends would begin to act like themselves."
"Where did she come from?" asked the Off
Ox. "It seems to me that I saw a
"Wasn't it at the place where we took
that load of stone the other day?"
"It was," cried the Off Ox; "and a very
poor farm it is. It was the same Hen
Talk about its being different! I
should say it was different from this
there are a good many ways of being
Although he would say nothing more, the
Bantam Hen saw from the look in his eyes
that he meant to stop the
When the Off Ox awakened from time to
time during that night and heard the
Hens talking in the dark, he chuckled
again to himself. The
The very next day, the Off Ox had the
chance he wanted. He and his brother
yoked to the
"I am," she answered, coming close to the pickets.
"We are just going over to your old home," said he, "with this load of stone. Have you any messages to send to your friends?"
The Guinea Hen looked rather uncomfortable, and stood first on one foot and then the other. "Tell them I am well," said she.
"I will," said the Off Ox, in his hearty way. "I will try to tell them all. I think I can, too, for there did not seem to be many people in that farmyard. I didn't see Ducks or Geese at all. Are there any living there?"
"No," said the Guinea Hen. She did not seem to think of anything else to say, although nobody spoke for a long time.
"Of course not!" exclaimed the Off Ox. "How stupid of me to ask. There is no brook or river on that farm."
Still the Guinea Hen said nothing.
"We are dragging stone for the new
barn," said the Off Ox. "Or perhaps I
for their barn. One could hardly say
that they have any yet, although I
they use those loosely built sheds for
barns. I wonder people can spend a
where there are such drafts; still, home
is always home, and people love it for
reason. We are glad to have your family
with us, not only to keep away the Crows
(which was part of the
There was not much talking in the
poultry-yard the rest of the afternoon,
most of the fowls looked happier than
they had for many days. When
Perhaps the Guinea Cock and the other
Guinea Hen were the happiest of all, for
had not known what to do or say when the