Mixed-Up Old Hen

Daddy John Stories

Hawaiian Chicken Little

Hawaiian Chicken Little

Mixed-Up Old Hen


from Homespun Stories from Uncle John (Fussner)

presented by his daughter Mary Frances (Fussner) Garrett

Photo is my “Hawaiian Chicken Little” square, made with Leslie Blanchard’s help, and a kukui and shell necklace, made on Pride of Hawaii cruise.

One pretty day in May, the sun was warm, the flowers were showin’ their colors and the birds were singin’ fer thar mates, and to warn other males to keep thar distance.  At breakfast Grandma asked Grandpa to kill the old rooster after he finished eatin’.

“Why be you wantin’ to kill Old Red?” asked Grandpa.

“Tomorrow be our weddin’ anniversary, and Ah wants to cook up a pot of chicken an’ dumplin’s,” answered Grandma.

Grandpa grinned and said, “Woman, why be you wantin’ to take hit out on poor Old Red’s hide fer a mistake we’uns made over ten yars ago?”

With that bit of foolish wisdom outen the way, he departed out the door with haste.  Old Red be out in the back yard, and tho’ he be tame an’ easy to ketch, this day Grandpa coundn’t touch him with a ten-foot pole.  That bird jest nivver were whar he jest was.  Didn’t take Grandpa long to git tired playin’ a game of tag with Old Red, sein’ as how Grandpa was always the one that was it.

Havin’ more’n e-nuff, he went an’ fetched his old scatter gun.  Thar be Old Red standin’ in front of the lilac bush, waitin’ fer a tasty breakfast.  Grandpa went up with Old Betsy and let go.  Hearin’ the shot, Old Red left real sudden-like, runnin’ hard, wings flappin’ ’til he be long gone out’n sight, not to be seen by anyone ’til feedin’ time come sundown.

Now, you be thinkin’ that Grandma wouldn’ be fixin’ them chicken and dumplin’s, but you air wrong.  Grandpa be missin’ Old Red, but he sure didn’t miss them six fat young hens that war under the bush takin’ thar daily dust bath.

Grandma had a ˇworried look ’til she got a close-up look-see at them hens.  “Thanks be to the Lord and lucky fer your hide Old Biddy not be one of them,” she says to Grandpa.

Old Biddy, she be Grandma’s pet hen.  Grandma hand-raised her in the wood box back o’ the kitchen stove.  Biddy sorta got mixed up in the head, sometimes thinkin’ she be a people, and sometimes sorta thinkin’ like a chicken.  She fell way short of the mark on both counts.

That old hen could make anything hatch.  Once she sat on an empty thread spool and hatched out a hollow-headed woodpecker.  One day she found an old door knob, and she sat an’ sat an’ sat, ’til at long last she hatched out a brass weather vane.  Grandpa put hit up on top of the barn whar hit could twist and turn with the wind, with jest one little mix-up, tho’.  Hit’s tail pointed into the wind ‘stead of hit’s head.  Grandpa had an answer fer that, too.  He said that, like a lotta folks, that thar bird be so slow at thinkin’ things out that by the time hit figgered out whˇar the wind be comin’ from, hit war already goin’ back.



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