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Contents > Author > Sara Cone Bryant > The Little Half-Chick 1873- Unknown
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Sara Cone Bryant
The Little Half-Chick
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There was once upon a time a Spanish
Hen, who hatched out some nice little
chickens. She was much pleased with their
looks as they came from the shell. One,
two, three, came out plump and fluffy; but
when the fourth shell broke, out came a little
half-chick! It had only one leg and one
wing and one eye! It was just half a chicken.

The Hen-mother did not know what in
the world to do with the queer little Half-
Chick. She was afraid something would
happen to it, and she tried hard to protect
it and keep it from harm. But as soon as
it could walk the little Half-Chick showed
a most headstrong spirit, worse than any
of its brothers. It would not mind, and it
would go wherever it wanted to; it walked
with a funny little hoppity-kick, hoppity-
kick, and got along pretty fast.

One day the little Half-Chick said,
"Mother, I am off to Madrid, to see the
King! Good-by."

The poor Hen-mother did everything
she could think of, to keep him from doing
so foolish a thing, but the little Half-Chick
laughed at her naughtily. "I'm for seeing
the King," he said; "this life is too quiet
for me." And away he went, hoppity-kick,
hoppity-kick, over the fields.

When he had gone some distance the
little Half-Chick came to a little brook
that was caught in the weeds and in much
trouble.

"Little Half-Chick," whispered the
Water, "I am so choked with these weeds
that I cannot move; I am almost lost,
for want of room; please push the sticks
and weeds away with your bill and help
me."

"The idea!" said the little Half-Chick.
"I cannot be bothered with you; I am off
for Madrid, to see the King!" And in spite
of the brook's begging he went away,
hoppity-kick, hoppity-kick.

A bit farther on, the Half-Chick came
to a Fire, which was smothered in damp
sticks and in great distress.

"Oh, little Half-Chick," said the Fire,
"you are just in time to save me. I am
almost dead for want of air. Fan me a
little with your wing, I beg."

"The idea!" said the little Half-Chick.
"I cannot be bothered with you; I am off
to Madrid, to see the King!" And he
went laughing off, hoppity-kick, hoppity-kick.

When he had hoppity-kicked a good way,
and was near Madrid, he came to a clump
of bushes, where the Wind was caught
fast. The Wind was whimpering, and begging
to be set free.

"Little Half-Chick," said the Wind, "you
are just in time to help me; if you will brush
aside these twigs and leaves, I can get my
breath; help me, quickly!"

"Ho! the idea!" said the little Half-
Chick. "I have no time to bother with you.
I am going to Madrid, to see the King."
And he went off, hoppity-kick, hoppity-
kick, leaving the Wind to smother.

After a while he came to Madrid and
to the palace of the King. Hoppity-kick,
hoppity-kick, the little Half-Chick skipped
past the sentry at the gate, and hoppity-
kick, hoppity-kick, he crossed the court.
But as he was passing the windows of the
kitchen the Cook looked out and saw him.

"The very thing for the King's dinner!"
she said. "I was needing a chicken!" And
she seized the little Half-Chick by his one
wing and threw him into a kettle of water
on the fire.

The Water came over the little Half-
Chick's feathers, over his head, into his
eye; It was terribly uncomfortable. The
little Half-Chick cried out,--

"Water, don't drown me! Stay down,
don't come so high!"

But the Water said, "Little Half-Chick,
little Half-Chick, when I was in trouble
you would not help me," and came higher
than ever.

Now the Water grew warm, hot, hotter,
frightfully hot; the little Half-Chick cried
out, "Do not burn so hot, Fire! You are
burning me to death! Stop!"

But the Fire said, "Little Half-Chick,
little Half-Chick, when I was in trouble
you would not help me," and burned hotter
than ever.

Just as the little Half-Chick thought he
must suffocate, the Cook took the cover
off, to look at the dinner. "Dear me,"
she said, "this chicken is no good; it is
burned to a cinder." And she picked the
little Half-Chick up by one leg and threw
him out of the window.

In the air he was caught by a breeze
and taken up higher than the trees. Round
and round he was twirled till he was so
dizzy he thought he must perish. "Don't
blow me so? Wind," he cried, "let me
down!"

"Little Half-Chick, little Half-Chick,"
said the Wind, "when I was in trouble
you would not help me!" And the Wind
blew him straight up to the top of the
church steeple, and stuck him there, fast!

There he stands to this day, with his one
eye, his one wing, and his one leg. He
cannot hoppity-kick any more, but he turns
slowly round when the wind blows, and
keeps his head toward it, to hear what it
says.



 

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