It was a beautiful spring day, chickens were out for the first time.
One hen hollered to the neighboring hen, “Why, hello, I’ll bet you are glad to get outside after being locked up all winter.”
“Why, no. I think it is cold outside. The wind is awfully strong and sharp. Believe me, I’ll go back to the house,” replied the neighboring hen. “We had a very nice house most all the winter, big windows, plenty of ventilation, all kinds of nice things to eat. My master comes to the house, speaks kind words to us, strokes our backs, looks into the nests and takes our eggs away.
“We always had plenty to eat and drink. Never was hungry or thirsty. Once in a while our master brought us some oats that had sprouted.”
“Oh, stop,” replied the first hen. “You make me so downhearted. We were locked up in that old house all winter with not a single bit of light. Damp, the floor was so cold, nothing to walk on except the cold, bare ground. I have stood on first one foot then the other so long until now I can stand that way almost half a day at a time.”
“Well, you need to have the Stranger explain to your master the proper care of chickens in winter, like he did mine. Our master would often come to our house in the afternoon, look into the nest, utter a few harsh words, kick one of my mormon wife friends out of the way, go out and shut the door with a slam.
“We would wonder what he really meant. One time our master went away, anyway he did not come to our house for sometime. A Stranger came. We were all afraid of this man the first time he came, but he spoke something that sounded awfully kind to us, left some feed and water for us to eat and drink, that night the same man came back, left more feed and water. The next day he brought some clam shells. O, my, how we did like that man, and the good things he brought for us to eat.
“The third time he came he had an arm full of straw. He threw it down on the floor. My, how it did scare us; but he soon had it scattered about six inches deep. What do you think? He threw a lot of feed in that straw. How we did scratch!
“By the time our regular master got back we were just feeling fine – plenty to eat and drink.
“What do you think? I went into the nest and laid my first egg. That night some one came, struck a match, looked into the nest and took my egg away. I couldn’t make out who it was, but they certainly did feel good.
“The following day I went into the nest, laid my second egg. While I was there two men came, both my master and the Stranger. The first place they both looked was the nest. Of course, I was there. The Stranger reached his hand in toward me. I wanted to pick at him, but he had been so kind to us I just ruffled my feathers and he gently stroked me on the back, stooped down and said something kind.
“Both went out, stood by the house, talked for a long while; the Stranger pointing to the house and yard, seemed to be explaining something to my master.
“A few days passed by. My master got busy and put big windows in the south side of our house, covered all the cracks, fixed the roof and now we have a very nice house.
“Since the Stranger took care of us, we always have plenty to eat and drink. Our house is always cleaned out; regular. Drinking water and feed pans always clean. Every one in our family feels fine.
“We are all thankful that the Stranger took care of us for we honestly believe our regular master really didn’t know the care we needed. We are now a contented family of singing hens.”