One day the old turkey hen went out to
find a place to make her nest. She went a
long way, and she took a long time to find
it, but, when at last she had suited herself,
"They may go to the East and go to the West,
But they'll never be able to find my nest";
and she felt so proud of herself that she walked all the way home with her head in the air.
When she got home to the barnyard her friends were talking about her. There was the Gray Goose and the White Duck and the Brown Hen, and when they saw her coming, they called, "Where in the world did you make your nest?"
"Guess," said the turkey hen, and then they were puzzled.
"Well," said the Gray Goose at last, "when I go to make my nest I always try to get near the water, for there's nothing so good for my health—so I'll guess the goose pond."
"Right," cried the Duck, "I'll quite agree. The pond is just the place for a family."
"The idea," said the Brown Hen, chuckling to herself, "why what could be healthier than hay, or straw! I'll guess the hay-stack."
But though they did their very best
They never could guess where she'd made her nest.
The turkey hen grew prouder and prouder, and she walked about the barn-yard like a queen. One day the cook saw her, and said to the children, "Certain and sure that old turkey hen has made herself a nest somewhere."
"Then I'll find it," said Cousin Pen, who had come to pay a visit on the farm.
"Then I'll find it," cried Brother Fred. "She can't hide a nest from me."
"Then I'll find it," said little Ben. And they all started out to look for it.
Cousin Pen went down in the hollow and looked in the grasses, and leaves, and looked in the stumps and hollow trees.
But though she did her very best
She couldn't find the turkey's nest.
Brother Fred went up on the hill to the gin-house, and down in the cotton field, and round by the goose pond where he found the Gray Goose and the White Duck taking a swim.
But though he did his very best
He couldn't find the turkey's nest.
Little Ben began at home to look. He looked under the house and behind the wood-pile, and in the barn, and out by the haystack; and while he was tipping about out there he frightened the Brown Hen from her nest, and she quarreled half the day about it.
But though he did his very best,
He couldn't find the turkey's nest.
Then Mama said she must go and look, so she put on her bonnet and went to the wood-lot, and sat down under a tree just as quiet as she could be. By and by the turkey hen came along. She saw Mama and Mama saw her, but neither of them said a word. The turkey hen walked round and round in the wood-lot just as if she wasn't thinking about anything, but at last she went through the big gate into the road.
Then Mama got up and followed her, just as still as a mouse, and the turkey hen
Went up the hill and down the hill,
And through the fields and by the mill,
And down across the meadow brook,
By many a turn and many a crook.
She went to the East and she went to the West,
But she never went near her hidden nest.
Went up the hill and down the hill, and through the fields and by the mill.
"I'll give up," said Mama, and the old turkey hen was prouder than ever.
Then Papa said that he must try; and early one morning before the children were awake he got up and started out to find the turkey's nest.
"He'll find it if anybody can," said Brother Fred, when he was told, and the children could scarcely wait for him to come home again.
He stayed so long that they went down
the lane to meet him, and when he saw them
coming he called
"I declare I've done my very best,
But I can't find that turkey's nest."
And the turkey hen grew prouder and prouder. She stayed at her nest, wherever it was, nearly all the time then, and only came to the barnyard when she wanted something to eat.
The Gray Goose and the White Duck and the Brown Hen said they wouldn't be surprised at anything she did.
But they were surprised, and so were the children, when one morning she walked into the yard with twelve little turkeys, as fine as you please, walking behind her.
"Just look here," she said, "at my children. I hatched them all out in my nest down in the corner of the old rail fence."
And she added, as they gathered around
"I tell you what, I did my best,
When I found that place to make my nest!"