JACK AND HIS WONDERFUL HEN
ACK lived with his parents in a remote part of Canada. He
had no brothers or sisters. His parents were very poor,
and their only possession was a goat that supplied them
with milk. When the boy grew up, he decided to go out
into the world and earn something to make his parents
more comfortable in their old age. So one day he said,
"I am going far away to look for work that you may be
able to buy better food." His parents did not want him
to go, for he was their one source of happiness; but he
would not listen to their pleading. With no money and
something of a heavy heart he went on his way. It was
summer in the land, and when he came out of the forest
into the open country he saw people in the meadows
making hay. Soon he came to a very large farm where a
number of men were busy. He asked the man in charge for
work. The man said, "How long do you want to work?" Jack
answered, "A week." The man hired him, and he went to
work. He was a great worker, and in a week he had done
as much as one of the other men could do in a year. The
man was pleased with his work.
the end of the week Jack asked for his wages. The
gave him a little money in part payment, and an old hen
for the other part. Jack was very cross. He said, "I
don't want a hen; I want money. Little good an old hen
can do me!" But the man would not give him more money.
He said "The hen will lay eggs for you. She will lay
two dozen eggs a day—an egg every hour." So Jack with
much disgust took the old hen, for he could do no
better, and went home. His parents were glad to see him
again, and to get the money he had earned; but they
laughed at his old hen. But at the end of a day, when
she had laid two dozen eggs, they were well pleased.
a week Jack said, "I am going away again to earn more
money." This time his parents were not troubled. They
knew he could take care of himself. He said, "I will
take the old hen with me and sell her for a great
price." So one morning he set out. He went through the
forest with his old hen under his arm. He passed again
by the meadows where men and women were making hay, but
he did not ask for work. As he passed, the people
looked at his hen and laughed, but he went along
unheeding. He soon came to the town where the Seigneur
lived, and he went to a house where he got food and
lodging for himself and his old hen. He left the hen
there and went to the Seigneur's house. He told the
Seigneur that he had a wonderful bird, and offered to
sell her to him. "Go and bring me the bird," said the
Seigneur. But when Jack brought the old hen to him the
 Seigneur was very angry. "Little good an old hen like
that will do me," he said. But when Jack told him that
she could lay twenty-four eggs a day, he said, "If that
is true you may have your price. We will keep her for a
day and test your word." So they locked the old hen up
for a day. At the end of that time she had laid
twenty-four eggs, and the Seigneur wondered greatly. He
said, "How much do you want for your hen?" Jack
answered, "Whatever you wish to pay me." The Seigneur
gave him much money, and Jack, well pleased with his
bargain, went home. His parents were glad to have
him back, and to get the money he had got for the old
hen. They began to live very comfortably.
At the end
of a few weeks Jack decided to go away again. He
said, "Let me take the old goat and sell her. We can
do without her milk." He thought that since he had
sold the hen so well, he could make a good sale of the
goat. His parents agreed to his wishes. So one
morning he tied ribbons and flowers around the old
goat's head and covered her with a many-coloured
blanket, and set out, leading her behind him. He
went along through the forest. It was harvest time,
and he passed great farms where reapers were busy
cutting yellow grain. But he did not ask for work.
The people all looked with wonder at his goat as he
passed, but he spoke to no one. Soon he came to the
town where the Seigneur lived. He brought his goat to
the Seigneur and offered to sell her to him, and the
Seigneur gave him much money for her. Then
 she was
placed in a yard with the Seigneur's other animals. The
yard was always guarded by two keepers.
HE BOUGHT A LARGE QUANTITY OF FOOD, PUT IT IN A BASKET, AND CARRIED IT TO THE ANIMAL YARD.
not to go home at once. He planned to steal the goat
back and take her home. Then he would have the
goat and much money too. So he bought a
large quantity of food, put it in a basket, and carried
it to the animal yard. When the two keepers saw him
coming, they ran to him to send him away, for no one
else was allowed at night near the yard. But Jack
said, "The night is long and cool. The Seigneur sent
me to you with this basket of food." The keepers
were well pleased with the food, and they sat down and
had a good meal. They ate until they were full.
Jack said, "If you want to sleep for an hour, I will
watch. I like to sit in the moonlight." The
harvest moon was full, and the night was as bright as
day. The two keepers thanked Jack for his kindness,
and lay down on some straw, and were soon
fast asleep because of their hearty meal. Jack
waited until they were sound asleep. Then he took
the old goat and walked quietly away, leading her
behind him. The town was all asleep.
There was not a sound anywhere. Soon he reached
the open country without meeting anyone, and passed
by rich harvest fields until he came to the forest.
Then he followed the forest path in the bright
moonlight, and reached his home before morning. His
parents were glad to see him again so soon and to get
his money. But when he told them that he had sold
 goat and stolen her back they were very angry,
and his father said, "No good can come of it.
The old goat will bring you to a sad end."
After a few
days Jack decided to set out again to seek his fortune.
He took the stolen goat with him. Before he was
out of the forest he came upon a man camped in a green
place under the trees. The man asked him who he was.
Jack said, "I am a servant of the Seigneur. I take
care of his beautiful goats. He gave me this
one for myself." The man liked the goat very much,
and asked Jack what he would take for her. But Jack
said he would not sell her. Then Jack asked him who
he was. The man said, "I am a robber. If you will
come with me, we will soon be very rich." So Jack
agreed to join him. They went along together for some
days. But the robber always had his eye on the goat.
One night as they slept on the bank of a stream, the
robber killed Jack with a blow and threw his body into
the river. He wanted his goat. Then he took the
old goat and went on his way. Poor Jack's stolen goat
had brought him to a sad end.