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THE BIG, WHITE EGG
When Henrietta Hen's callers crowded about her nest in the haymow they expected to see something wonderful. But when they craned their necks and peered into the little hollowed-out snuggery in the hay they couldn't help being disappointed. And when they didn't burst forth with cries of surprise and praise Henrietta Hen looked quite unhappy.
"I thought," she said, "you'd want to see this egg. I'm sure you never beheld a bigger nor a whiter one than this."
They admitted that the egg was big and that it was very, very white. And if their praise was faint, Henrietta never noticed it.
"Are you going to let Farmer Green have that egg?" one of the company inquired.
"No doubt Johnnie Green will grab it as soon as he finds my nest," said Henrietta with something like a sigh. "If I could only keep this one I wouldn't care how many others he took."
Polly Plymouth Rock turned to old Whitey, a hen who had come with her to the haymow.
"What do you think?" Polly asked. "Is Henrietta in danger of losing this egg that she thinks so much of?"
"She needn't be alarmed," old Whitey answered. "If Johnnie Green robs her of this one, I'll miss my guess."
"Oh! I'm glad to hear you say that!" Henrietta Hen cried. "Now I won't need to worry--that is, if you know what you're talking about."
That, of course, was a most impolite way for Henrietta Hen to speak to anybody of old Whitey's age. Whitey was the oldest hen in the flock. And what she didn't know about such things as nests and eggs and roosts wasn't worth knowing.
Polly Plymouth Rock didn't like Henrietta Hen's remark. She opened her mouth.
And no doubt she would have said something quite sharp in reply. But old Whitey stopped her.
"Never mind!" said Whitey. "The day will come when Henrietta Hen will agree that my guess is a good one."
Still Henrietta Hen felt uneasy about that big, white egg.
"I do hope Johnnie Green won't find this new nest of mine," she remarked.
"If he does, I fear he'll take my beautiful egg away from me."
"Lay another!" said old Whitey. "Lay another and he'll take that and leave this one."
"I suppose I may as well try your scheme," Henrietta replied, "since nobody suggests anything better."
"My idea's a good one, or I'll miss my guess," said old Whitey.
There was some snickering among Henrietta Hen's callers as they bade her good afternoon and left her.
"They're laughing at old Whitey," she said to herself. She hadn't the slightest notion that they could be giggling at her. "Old Whitey must be wrong," she thought. "But I may as well take her advice, for I don't know what else to do."
Not long afterward Henrietta Hen came fluttering down from the haymow, squawking at the top of her lungs for old Whitey. And as soon as she found her, Henrietta cried, "Come up to my nest right away! I want to ask your advice."
Although she didn't say "Please!" old Whitey went with her.
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