THE QUICK-TEMPERED TURKEY GOBBLER
HERE was only one Gobbler on the farm,
and he was so used to having his own way
that he never tried to make the best of
it when he couldn't, and sometimes he
became exceedingly cross. He was bigger
than the Cocks, the Hens, the Geese, and
the Ducks, so when they were in his way
and he gobbled a gruff "Move along,"
murmured "Oh, certainly," and scampered
away as fast as their legs would carry
The Peacock was larger than the Turkey
Gobbler, it is true, but as long as he
sit on a fence in the sunshine and have
somebody admiring his train, he did not
anything about the Gobbler, and they did
not get in each other's way.
 There were seven Hen Turkeys,
timid, sweet-tempered people, who were
walking. They had never been known to
answer back when the Gobbler scolded
although at times he was very
unreasonable. This was polite of them,
but it made
the Gobbler more careless than ever of
the way in which he spoke. The Black
Hen said it made her wattles tingle to
hear him find fault with them. She
stood it—no, indeed!
When the Black Spanish Cock heard her
say so, he shook his feathers and smiled
queer little smile, and said, "I
certainly know that she would not." The
fowls looked at each other, and the
Shanghai Cock winked his round little
the Dorking Hen, and she had to oil a
feather on the underside of her wing
then, so, of course, nobody saw her
laugh—if she did laugh.
The Black Spanish fowls were
kind-  hearted and honest, and had fine
but they would not stand it to be spoken
to hastily by any one who was not very
bigger than they, and it was said that
the Cock had once—only once—but then,
it would be just as well not to tell
what the other fowls had heard about
family quarrel, for, after all, it did
not come very straight, the Pigs having
the Geese, and the Geese telling Ducks,
and the Ducks just mentioning it to the
Peacock, and the Peacock having spoken
of it to the Dorking Hen.
It was now late in the fall, and all the
Turkeys went walking together again.
would think that, after being separated
from the rest all summer and part of the
spring, the Gobbler would have been very
polite when he joined them, but no; he
more quick-tempered than ever. He was
not fond of young Turkeys, and their
chattering annoyed him. "Can't you find
some way to keep
 those children
quiet?" he would say, and made such a
fuss that the Hen Turkeys called them
and tried to amuse them for a while.
Hen Turkeys are most loving mothers, and
in the early spring first one and then
another had stolen away to lay and hatch
her eggs. If a Hen Turkey wanted a
to lay an egg at this season, she
watched the Gobbler and left the flock
back was turned. As she came near her
nest, she would stop and look around to
sure he did not see where it was. She
knew that the Gobbler did not like to
her raise young Turkeys, and that if he
could find the nest, he would break
egg in it. After she had laid her egg,
she would wander back in a careless way,
quite as though she had only been to the
watering-trough for a drink.
Once the Hen Turkeys had talked about
this when the Gobbler could not
"It doesn't seem right not to tell
him," the youngest had said.
"Well, my dear," said another, "it is
the only way we can do, if we want to
eggs and raise our children. Gobblers
always act in that way."
"Are you sure?" said the young Hen
"Sure!" was the answer. "You wouldn't be
here to-day if your mother hadn't done
as we do."
So the youngest Hen Turkey had changed
her mind and hidden her eggs like the
for, in spite of aching legs and all
that is hard in hatching eggs, Hen
always want to raise broods in the
springtime. When one of them had laid
eggs as she wanted to hatch, she began
sitting on them, and would not walk with
flock at all. One by one the Hen
Turkeys had done this until the Gobbler
quite alone. He did not like it at all,
and wanted more than ever
 to find
break the eggs. When the Turkey Chicks
were hatched, their mothers kept them
the Gobbler's way, because, you know, he
did not like small children and it was
better that they should not meet.
The Hen Turkeys were very sorry for him,
and often wished that he might watch
them the growth of their piping
darlings, to see the tiny feathers push
through the down and broaden and
lengthen until there was no down to be
feathers. It was too bad; yet that was
the way in all Turkey families, and the
Gobblers couldn't help disliking the
children any more than the Hen Turkeys
help wanting to sit in the springtime.
By another year the Gobbler would love
the young Turkeys dearly. Even now he
not try to strike them, as he might have
done a while before. They were afraid
him, yet down in their hearts the
brothers all thought that when they were
 grown up they wanted to be just like him
and strut around with their wings
their tails spread, their necks drawn
back, and their feathers ruffled. Then,
thought, when other people came near
them, they would puff and gobble and
out of my way!" They tried it once in a
while to see how it would seem, but they
were still slender and their voices were
not yet deep enough. The sisters
at them when they did this, and that
made them feel very uncomfortable. The
limp red wattles that grew out between
their eyes became redder and redder as
swung to and fro under their short,
"Just wait," said one young fellow to
another. "Just you wait until I am
grown up and strut before your sister
next spring. I don't think she will
me then." And he comforted himself by
eating fully twice as much grain as he
 The farmer's little girl came into
the farmyard, and all the fowls stopped
eating to look at her. She was so young
that she had never before been out there
alone. Her father had brought her in
his arms, and she had laughed with
clapped her little hands when the
farmyard people passed by her. Now she
slipped out of the house and stood in
the sunshine smiling at every one. She
without a cap, and the wind blew her
soft yellow curls around her rosy face.
fluttered her red dress, too, and the
Gobbler saw it and became exceedingly
"Red-red-red!" he cried. "Why in the
world did she wear red? I hate it!" He
stalked toward her in his most
disagreeable way, and you could tell by
brushing of his wing-tips on the ground
that he was very angry. "Get away from
here!" he cried. "This is my home and
little girls can't wear red dresses when
visit me. Pffff! Get away!"
 The little girl turned to run as
the big Gobbler came puffing toward her.
her fright she stumbled and fell, and he
hurried forward to strike her. The
Spanish Cock began to ruffle his neck
feathers and stretch his head forward.
not mean to have their visitor treated
so. He ran between the Gobbler's feet
they tumbled over together. The little
girl picked herself up and hurried into
If the Gobbler was angry before, he was
much more so after his fall. "What do
mean sir," he said, "by tripping me?"
"And what do you mean," said the Black
Spanish Cock, "by knocking me over?"
"Pffff! You were under my feet."
"Erruuuu! You were over my head."
Now nobody had dared to disagree with
the Gobbler in so long that he did not
what to make of it, and when
Shanghai Cock strolled over to help his
friend, the Gobbler was fairly
sputtering with rage. "Ah, Gobbler,"
Shanghai, "wonder what has become of the
little girl? It was nice of her to come
here, and I wish she had stayed longer."
"I told her to get away," was the
answer. "She had on a red dress. I
I always have chased anybody who wore
red, and I always shall. It's my way."
"Is it your way, too, to be cross
whenever you feel like it?"
"Of course. I wouldn't be cross when I
didn't feel like it," answered the
"Some of us are not cross when we do
feel like it," said the Dorking Cock.
always happier for keeping my temper
when I can."
"Pffff!" said the Gobbler. "That is not
my way. I say right out what I think,
 and then I am right again and
forget all about it."
"Humph!" said the Bantam Hen. "I wonder
if the other people forget as soon? It
would do him more good to remember it
and feel sorry. He needs a lesson."
stalked up to him, looking as brave as
you please, although she was really
frightened. "I never noticed it before,"
she cackled, "but the tuft of hairy
feathers on your breast is dreadfully
ragged. And what very ugly looking feet
have! If I were going to have any webs
between my toes I should want good big
like those of the Ducks and Geese, not
snippy little halfway webs like yours.
hope you don't mind my speaking of it.
I always say what I think. It's just my
way, and I never remember it afterward."
She gave a graceful flutter and a queer
little squawk, and was off before the
Gobbler got over his surprise.
 Fowls do enjoy a joke, and now the
Dorking Cock took his turn. "I've always
wanted to know how you spread your tail
in that fashion. It's a good time to
He walked up beside the Gobbler and
pecked and pulled until three feathers
the ground. "Ah," said the Dorking
Cock, "I see I loosened some of your
feathers. I hope you don't mind. It is
just my way, when I want to know about
anything, to find out as soon as I can."
And so one fowl after another teased and
troubled the Gobbler, and explained
afterward that "it was just their way."
Then they laughed at him and ran off.
It would be nice if one could say that
the Gobbler never again lost his temper,
his did, a great many times, for he
should have begun to master it when he
Chick. But one can tell truly that he
never again excused his crossness by
that "it was only his way." The
 youngest Duckling in the poultry-yard
always known that this was no excuse at
all, and that if people have
habits which make others unhappy,
it is something of which they should be much