Once upon a time, not so long ago, there lived a happy little family of four - a Mommy, a Daddy, and their two little girls - Anita and Annabel. They lived in a little red brick house with a white painted porch and heart cutout shutters. Behind the house was a large fenced-in yard with lots of room for the children to run and play. There was plenty of grass, pretty gardens, bird feeders, baths, an apple, cherry and crab apple tree too!
The family had a sweet old house cat, named Buddy, four dear bunnies (Max, Caramel, Clover and Honey), and a large family of quails. The cat lived inside with them and the other animals were housed in the yard, in a wooden shed built by Daddy - a carpenter by trade. The shed had two large windows for sunshine and a door, which was securely locked every evening, for fear of intruders, like raccoons!
Although, they had many pets, there was still something missing, and that something was a hen. Why a hen, you ask? Well, hens lay eggs, you see, and Mommy loved to bake for her family. How wonderful it would be if they had fresh eggs daily! And so it was decided, they would look for a hen!
The day finally came, in early Spring, when the little family drove a good, long way to a livestock market that sold chickens, rabbits and other birds. The air was still very cold and crisp, you could tell Winter still hadn't given way to Spring. There were cages and cages on the yellow grass floor, filled with hens and roosters of every sort. You could here them clucking and cock-a-doodle-doodling all the while. Mommy couldn't help thinking that many of those unsuspecting chickens would end up in a pot, in a stew, a soup, or roasted with carrots and potatoes. She was happy to think they could save, at least one of those chickens, from such a fate.
Daddy and Anita picked the perfect one, a Rhode Island Red hen. It wasn't the prettiest one they could find, as you may have suspected. No, she was very dirty, and was being pecked and stepped on by the other hens. That's why she was perfect! She was placed in an orange, mesh, onion bag with a drawstring pulled tight, to keep her from escaping. Daddy put her in the trunk and drove the long way home. The hen did not make a peep the entire way. She was quite concerned, wondering where she was going, but was enjoying the freedom of being on her own, for the very first time. The family thought of names for the hen, and it was decided - Henrietta, they would call her!
Once at home, Henrietta was taken inside, through the hallway, down the stairs, and into the sink, for her very first bath. Henrietta was very stinky and dirty (all that time in a small cage with the others). Daddy gave her a bath, while Mommy, Anita, and Annabel watched in delight. They couldn't believe how calm she was. Henrietta was loving her fresh new self, and was quite pleased with all the attention!
To be continued...