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READING-LITERATURE: First Reader by  Harriette Taylor Treadwell and Margaret Free
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[Illustration]

Little Half Chick

Once upon a time an old hen had
a large brood of chickens.

They were fine chickens.

But one little chick was very odd.

He had but one leg, and one wing,
and one eye.

So his mother called him "Half Chick."


Half Chick did not mind his mother.

She would call, "Cluck! Cluck!"

But Half Chick would run away and hide.


One day he said,
"Mother, I am tired of this farm yard.
I am going to see the King."


"It is a long way to the King's palace,"
said his mother.

"You are too little to go alone.

Do not go now,
and some day I will take you."


But Half Chick tossed his head and said,
"I shall go to-day."

And hippity-hop, away he went.


Soon Half Chick came to a brook.

The brook was full of weeds.

It said, "Please stop and help me,
Little Half Chick.
These weeds are choking me,
Please help me take them away."


[Illustration]

But Half Chick tossed his head and said,
"I have no time to help you.
I am going to see the King."

And hippity-hop, away he went.


Soon Half Chick came to a fire.

The fire was nearly burned out.

It said, "Please stop and help me,
Little Half Chick.
Give me some sticks, or I shall die."


But Half Chick tossed his head, and said,
"I have no time to help you.
I am going to see the King."

And hippity-hop, away he went.


[Illustration]

Soon Half Chick came to a large oak-tree.

The wind was caught in its branches.

"Stop and help me, Half Chick,"
said the wind.

"I can not get away from these branches.

They are holding me fast.

Please help me to get away."


But Half Chick tossed his head and said,
"I have no time to help you.
I am going to see the King."

And hippity-hop, away he went.


At last Half Chick came
to the King's palace.

"Now I shall see the King," said he.

But just then the King's cook saw him.


"This is just what I need," said the cook.

"The King wants chicken soup for dinner."

And the cook picked Half Chick up
and popped him into a pot of water.


"Water, water, please help me,"
cried Half Chick.

"I do not like to get wet."


But the water said,
"I was once the brook, Half Chick.
The weeds were choking me.

You would not help me then,
so I can not help you now."

Then the fire began to burn.


"Fire, fire, please help me.

Do not burn me," cried Half Chick.

And he hopped from one side of the pot
to the other.


But the fire said,

"I was dying once, Half Chick,
and you would not help me.

So I can not help you now."


Just then the wind came by.

He caught Half Chick up,
and carried him up into the air.


"Thank you, Wind," said Half Chick.

"Please let me down now."


But the wind said,
"Once I was caught in an oak-tree.
The branches held me fast.

I could not get away,
and you would not help me.

So I can not help you now."


[Illustration]

Then the wind blew him up
to the top of a steeple.

There Half Chick stuck fast.

And there you can see him to this day.

He stands on his one leg,

and he looks at the wind
out of his one eye.


-Spanish Folk Tale.