The Hen’s Tale

All summer long, the Swallows sat in rows along the rafters of the barn, telling stories of the wonders of the South. As the days grew cooler, their excitement grew, for they knew it soon would be winter. The farm animals liked to listen to the stories, and imagine the wonderful places the birds described. And suddenly one day the Swallows were all gone.

The animals all talked about the Swallows, and the wonders of the South. The Swallows had told of flying over a huge grey sea. They had told of islands, and ships, and the Southern land where they spent the winter. “I think I shall go South myself,” said Hen.

The next morning, Hen set out. She spread her wings and ran off down the road. She fluttered along for a while until she came to a little gate. That night she came back to the barnyard, out of breath and panting.

“I have been to the South!” she cried. And she told the farm animals that she had been to the land where potatoes grow, and corn, and carrots, and beans. She told them of a land where beautiful roses grow in all the colors of the rainbow.

“How interesting!” the animals said, “And what really beautiful descriptions!” The winter wore on, and the months went by, until the spring of the year appeared, and the Swallows came again.

“We have been to the South,” they said, “and the valleys beyond the great sea.” But the farm animals would not agree that there was a sea in the South.

“You should hear our Hen,” they said.