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Full Online Book HomeShort StoriesThe Tale Of Henrietta Hen - XXIII - GETTING ACQUAINTED
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The Tale Of Henrietta Hen - XXIII - GETTING ACQUAINTED Post by :NinaMiller Category :Short Stories Author :Arthur Scott Bailey Date :April 2012 Read :1616

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The Tale Of Henrietta Hen - XXIII - GETTING ACQUAINTED

XXIII - GETTING ACQUAINTED

Not liking her neighbor on her right, at the fair, Henrietta Hen sidled up to the wire netting on the opposite side of her pen. Peering through it, she examined the person whom she saw just beyond, in a pen of her own.

A very sleek hen was this, who gave Henrietta a slight nod.

"We may as well speak," she said, "since we're to live next to each other for a week."

"A week!" Henrietta groaned. "Shall I have to stay cooped up here as long as that?"

"Yes!" said Neighbor Number 2. "And I don't blame you for feeling as you seem to. A week is a long time for everybody here--except me."

Henrietta Hen didn't understand her.

"I'm going to win the first prize--with my chicks," Neighbor Number 2 announced. "Of course that's worth waiting here a week."

"I don't see how you can win the first prize!" Henrietta exclaimed.

"Why not?" demanded the other. And she pressed against the wire netting of her pen and stuck her head through it as far as she could, as if she would have pecked Henrietta had she been able to.

"Because--" Henrietta explained--"because the lady on the other side of me is going to win it."

"Who said so?"

"She did," Henrietta answered.

"Ha! ha!" cackled Neighbor Number 2. "That's a good joke. She hasn't any more chance of winning than--than you have!"

Now, Henrietta Hen couldn't help being puzzled. But whoever might win the first prize, she was sure it couldn't be she. Hadn't her neighbors on either side of her the same as told her that she couldn't win?

Henrietta would have felt quite glum, except that she couldn't very well mope in the midst of the terrific racket all about her. Soon her neighbors--both Number 1 and Number 2--were having loud disputes with the hens in the pens on the further side of them. It seemed as if every hen at the fair had left her manners at home--if she ever had any.

"Goodness!" Henrietta Hen murmured to herself. "If there's a prize, it must be for the one that can make the most noise."

In a little while throngs of men, women and children crowded into the Poultry Hall. They paused before the pens and looked at the occupants, making remarks that were sometimes full of praise and sometimes slighting.

Henrietta Hen felt terribly uneasy when people began to stop and stare at her. She dreaded to hear what they would say. After the way her next-door neighbors had talked to her she didn't believe anybody would have a word of praise for her.

She soon heard all sorts of remarks about herself. Some said she was too little and some said she was too big; others exclaimed that her legs were too short, while still others declared that they were too long! As these--and many similar--comments fell upon Henrietta's ears she promptly decided that there wasn't anything about her that was as it should be.

Having always called herself (before she left home) a "speckled beauty," she began to feel very low in her mind. And there was only one thing that kept her from being downright sad. All the sightseers agreed that she had some pretty chicks.

Henrietta couldn't help wishing that they had a different mother--one that was worthy of them.

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XXIV - WINNING FIRST PRIZEHenrietta Hen was waiting as patiently as she could for the fair to come to an end. She tried to close her ears to the boasts of her neighbors on either side of her, that they were going to win the first prize. She had heard too many unpleasant remarks about herself to have even the slightest hope of winning any prize at all--let alone the first."Anyhow, we'll be going home tonight," Henrietta said to herself. "And I'll never, never, never come to another fair. I'll go and hide 'way up high in the haymow where they
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XXII - ALMOST HOMESICKNever in all her life had Henrietta Hen seen so many hens and roosters and chicks as she found on every side of her, at the fair. Farmer Green and his son Johnnie had set her pen in the Poultry Hall. And to Henrietta's surprise, none of her new neighbors paid much attention to her and her chicks--at first. She soon decided that there was a reason for this neglect. She made up her mind that she would have to make herself heard amid all that uproar or the others would never know she had arrived.Luckily Henrietta had
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