Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!

Flaps. A Sequel To "The Hens Of Hencastle"
by [?]

And what became of Flaps after they all left Hencastle? Well, he led his company on and on, but they could find no suitable place to settle in; and when the fowls recovered from their fright, they began to think that they had abandoned the castle too hastily, and to lay the blame on Flaps.

Mark himself said that he might have overestimated the number of the invaders. There might not have been twenty-three, but really Flaps was in such a hurry for the news, and one must say something when it was one’s duty to make a report.

The three wise cocks objected to speak of themselves or their services, but they had had some experience on behalf of the community in times of danger, and in their opinion there had been a panic, and the hasty action taken by Flaps was injudicious and regrettable.

The oldest hen of Hencastle shook her feathers to show how much Flaps was in the wrong, and then puffed them out to show how much she was in the right; and after clearing her throat almost as if she were going to crow, she observed very shrilly that she “didn’t care who contradicted her when she said that the common sense of the Mother of a Family was enough to tell her that an old dog, who had lost an eye and an ear and a leg, was no fit protector for the feminine and the young and the inexperienced.”

The chief cock was not so free of his opinions as the chief hen, but he grumbled and scolded about everything, by which one may make matters amply unpleasant without committing oneself or incurring responsibility.

Another of the hens made a point of having no opinion. She said that was her way, she trusted everybody alike and bore her share of suffering, which was seldom small, without a murmur. But her good wishes were always at any one’s service, and she would say that she sincerely hoped that a sad injustice had not been done to the red-haired gentleman with the singularly agreeable manners, who would have been gatekeeper of Hencastle at this moment if it had not been for Flaps.

Poor Flaps! Well might he say, “One ear is enough to listen to you with, you pack of ungrateful fools!”

He was beginning to find out that, as a rule, the Helpless have a nice way with them of flinging all their cares upon the Helpful, and reserving their own energies to pick holes in what is done on their behalf; and that they are apt to flourish, in good health and poor spirits, long after such friends as Flaps have been worn out, bit by bit, in their service.

“First an eye, then an ear, then a leg,” the old dog growled to himself; “and there’s not a fowl with a feather out of him. But I’ve done my duty, and that’s enough.”

Matters went from bad to worse. The hens had no corn, and Flaps got no eggs, and the prospect of either home or food seemed very remote. One evening it was very rainy, the fowls roosted in a walnut-tree for shelter, and Flaps fell asleep at the foot of it.

“Could anything be more aggravating than that creature’s indifference?” said Hen No. 2. “Here we sit, wet to the skin, and there he lies asleep! Dear me! I remember one of my neck feathers got awry once, at dear old Hencastle (the pencilling has been a good deal admired in my time, though I say it that shouldn’t), and the Red-haired Gentleman noticed it in a moment. I remember he put his face as close to mine as I am to you, but in the most gentlemanly manner, and murmured so softly,

“‘Excuse me–there’s just one of those lovely little feathers the least bit in the world–‘