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A GREAT FLURRY
There was a great flurry among Farmer Green's hens. They all insisted on talking at the same time, because they had heard an astonishing bit of news. It was about Henrietta Hen. Wherever she went her neighbors craned their necks at her, just as if they hadn't seen her every day for as long as they could remember.
Henrietta Hen enjoyed the notice that everybody took of her. She went to some trouble to move about a good deal, so that all might have a chance to stare at her. For if there was one thing she liked, it was attention.
There was a reason why Henrietta had suddenly become the most talked-of member of the flock. She was going to the county fair! Furthermore, she expected to take all her children with her. There wasn't the least doubt that it was all true. The whole flock had heard Johnnie Green and his father talking about it.
Of course everybody asked Henrietta Hen a great number of questions. When was she going to leave? How long did she expect to stay at the fair? What did she intend to do there? Would she wear her best clothes if it rained? There was no end to such inquiries.
Unfortunately, Henrietta Hen could answer very few of them. Never having visited a fair, she had no idea what a fair was like. She only guessed that when the time came, she and her family would be put into a pen, loaded upon a wagon, and jolted over the road that led to the fair, wherever it might be.
But Henrietta didn't intend to let her neighbors find out how little she knew about fairs. She said that before starting she expected to wait for the wagon, that she hoped to stay at the fair as long as it lasted (because she didn't want to miss anything!) and that she intended to come home when the wagon brought her. Furthermore, she planned to wear her best apron, anyhow, because there was sure to be fair weather at a fair! How could it be otherwise?
Old Ebenezer, the horse, told her to be sure to see the races.
"They're the best part of a fair," he said. "In my younger days I used to take part in them." And then he added, "There's nothing else at a fair that's worth looking at."
"What about the poultry show?" Henrietta Hen asked him. She didn't know what poultry shows were; but she had heard Farmer Green mention them.
"I never paid any attention to the poultry exhibit," the horse Ebenezer replied. "I never took part in that. I suppose it might interest you, however."
Henrietta Hen smiled a knowing sort of smile. And she remarked to Polly Plymouth Rock, who stood near her, that she didn't believe the old horse knew a race from a poultry show. "If he ever went to a fair, I dare say he was hitched outside the fence," she sniffed.
Polly Plymouth Rock cackled with amusement. And she said something that displeased Henrietta Hen exceedingly.
"Are you going to take that duckling that you hatched out?" she asked.
"Certainly not!" Henrietta snapped. "Please--Miss Plymouth Rock--never mention him again! I'm going to the fair, among strangers. And I shouldn't care to have them know about that accident that happened to me--not for anything!"
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