Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics
MAKING THE BEST OF IT
Frances M. Fox. Copyright by "The Outlook."
"WHAT a dreary day this is!" said the old gray goose to
the brown hen, as they stood at the
hen-  house window and watched the falling snow which covered every
nook and corner of the farmyard.
"Yes, indeed," said the brown hen; "I would be almost
willing to be made into chicken pie on such a day."
She had scarcely stopped talking, when the Pekin duck
said, fretfully: "I am dreadfully hungry," and a
little flock of speckled chickens all huddled together
wailed in sad chorus: "And we're so thirsty!"
In fact, the feathered folks in the hen-house were very
much inclined to be cross and discontented. Since the
farmer's boy fed them, early in the morning, they had
been given nothing to eat or drink, and, as hour after
hour went by, and the cold winter wind howled around
their house, it is no wonder they felt deserted.
The handsome white rooster, however, appeared quite as
happy as usual, and that is saying a great deal, for a
jollier, better-natured old fellow than he never graced
a farmyard. Sunshine, rain, or snow were all the same
to him, and he crowed quite as lustily in stormy, as
"Well," he said, laughing heartily, as his bright eyes
glanced about the hen-house, "you all seem to be having
a fit of the dumps."
Nobody answered the white rooster, but a faint cluck or
two came from some hens who immediately put their heads
back under their wings, as if ashamed of having spoken
This was quite too much for the white rooster, who,
standing first on one yellow foot and then on the
other, turning his head from side to side, said:
"Well, we are a lively set! Any one would think, to
look in here, that we were surrounded by a band of
 Just then a daring little white bantam rooster
hopped down from his perch, and, strutting pompously
over to the big rooster, created quite a stir among the
feathered folk by saying:
"We're all lively enough when our crops are full, but
when we're starving the wonder is that we can hold our
heads up at all. If I ever see that farmer's boy
again, I'll—I'll peck his foot!"
"You won't see him until he feeds us," said the white
rooster, "and then I guess you will peck his corn."
"Oh, oh!" moaned the brown hen, "don't mention a peck
"Madam," remarked the white rooster, bowing politely,
"your trouble is my own—that is, I'm hungry, too. But
we might be worse off; we might be on our way to market
in a box. Then, too, suppose we haven't had enough to
eat to-day, at least we have room enough to stretch our
"Why, that is a fact," answered the brown hen; and all
the feathered family—the smallest chickens
included—stretched their wings, preened their feathers
and looked a trifle more animated.
"Now, then," went on the rooster, "suppose we have a
little music to cheer us and help pass the hours until
roosting time. We will all crow—there, I beg your
pardon, ladies; I am sorry you can't crow—we will sing
a merry song. Will you be kind enough to start a
lively tune, Mrs. Brown Hen?"
The brown hen shook herself proudly, tossed her head
back, and began: "Cut-cut-cut-ca-dak-cut," and in less
than two minutes every one in the hen-house had joined
Now the horses, cows, and sheep were not far away,
 and, hearing the happy voices in the hen-house, they,
too, joined in the grand chorus, while the pigs did
their best to sing louder than all the rest. Higher
and higher, stronger and stronger, rose the chorus;
louder and louder quacked the ducks, and shriller and
shriller squeaked the pigs.
They were all so happy that they quite forgot their
hunger until the door of the hen-house burst open, and
in came three chubby children, each carrying a dish
full of steaming chicken food.
"Don't stop your music, Mr. Rooster," said the little
girl, who was so snugly bundled up that you could
scarcely see her dear little face. "You see, we were
so lonesome that we didn't know what to do; but when we
heard all you folks singing out here in your house, we
laughed and laughed until we pretty near cried. Then
we went to tell Jack about you; he was lonesome,
too—poor Jack's sick with a sore throat—and he said:
'Why, those poor hens; they haven't been fed since
"Cock-a-doodle-doo!" said the white rooster. "This
comes of making the best of things.
Cock-a-doodle-doo!" and nobody asked him to stop his