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The Hateful Hen
by [?]

The following inquiries and replies have been awaiting publication and I shall print them here if the reader has no objections. I do not care to keep correspondents waiting too long for fear they will get tired and fail to write me in the future when they want to know anything. Mr. Earnest Pendergast writes from Puyallup as follows:

“Why do you not try to improve your appearance more? I think you could if you would, and we would all be so glad. You either have a very malicious artist, or else your features must pain you a good deal at times. Why don’t you grow a mustache?”

These remarks, of course, are a little bit personal, Earnest, but still they show your goodness of heart. I fear that you are cursed with the fatal gift of beauty yourself and wish to have others go with you on the downward way. You ask why I do not grow a mustache, and I tell you frankly that it is for the public good that I do not. I used to wear a long, drooping and beautiful mustache, which was well received in society, and, under the quiet stars and opportune circumstances, gave good satisfaction; but at last the hour came when I felt that I must decide between this long, silky mustache and soft-boiled eggs, of which I am passionately fond. I hope that you understand my position, Earnest, and that I am studying the public welfare more than my own at all times.

Sassafras Oleson, of South Deadman, writes to know something of the care of fowls in the spring and summer. “Do you know,” he asks, “anything of the best methods for feeding young orphan chickens? Is there any way to prevent hens from stealing their nests and sitting on inanimate objects? Tell us as tersely as possible what your own experience has been with hens.”

To speak tersely of the hen and her mission in life seems to me almost sacrilege. It is at least in poor taste. The hen and her works lie near to every true heart. She does much toward making us better, and she doesn’t care who knows it, either. Young chicks who have lost their mothers by death, and whose fathers are of a shiftless and improvident nature, may be fed on kumiss, two parts; moxie, eight parts; distilled water, ten parts. Mix and administer till relief is obtained. Sometimes, however, a guinea hen will provide for the young chicken, and many lives have been saved in this way. Whether or not this plan will influence the voice of the rising hen is a question among henologists of the country which I shall not attempt to answer.

Hens who steal their nests are generally of a secretive nature and are more or less social pariahs. A hen who will do this should be watched at all times and won back by kind words from the step she is about to take. Brute force will accomplish little. Logic also does not avail. You should endeavor to influence her by showing her that it is honorable at all times to lay a good egg, and that as soon as she begins to be secretive and to seek to mislead those who know and love her, she takes a course which can not end with honor to herself or her descendants.

I have made the hen a study for many years, and love to watch her even yet as she resumes her toils on a falling market year after year, or seeks to hatch out a summer hotel by setting on a door knob. She interests and pleases me. Careful study of the hen convinces me that her low, retreating forehead is a true index to her limited reasoning faculties and lack of memory, ideality, imagination, calculation and spirituality. She is also deficient in her enjoyment of humor.