The pink hen

MISSING IMAGE

Material Information

Title:
The pink hen a fairy tale for children
Physical Description:
122, 1 p., 14 leaves of plates : ill. ; 20 cm.
Language:
English
Creator:
Spurling, Cuthbert
Hurst & Blackett ( Publisher )
Richard Clay and Sons ( Printer )
Publisher:
Hurst and Blackett
Place of Publication:
London
Manufacturer:
Richard Clay & Sons
Publication Date:

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Kings and rulers -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Animals -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Giants -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Fairies -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Wit and humor, Juvenile -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Fantasy literature -- 1899   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1899
Genre:
Fantasy literature   ( rbgenr )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
England -- London
England -- Bungay

Notes

Statement of Responsibility:
by Cuthbert Spurling ; with fourteen illustrations by Duncan Tate.
General Note:
Baldwin Library copy lacks 3 listed illustrations: facing p. 7,9, 114.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 002237766
notis - ALH8259
oclc - 269352560
System ID:
UF00088947:00001


This item is only available as the following downloads:


Full Text
















THE PINK HEN
.r





THE PINK HEN "










THE PINK HEN


A FAIRY TALE FOR CHILDREN







BY
CUTHBERT SPURLING


WITH FOURTEEN ILLUSTRATIONS
BY
DUNCAN TATE


LONDON
HURST AND BLACKETT, LIMITED
13 GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET
1899
Al rights reserved

































RICHARD CLAY & SONS, LIMITED,
LONDON & BUNGAY.














CONTENTS


CHAP. PAGE
I. BARBARA'S EASTER EGG 1

II. BIRTH AND EARLY ADVENTURES OF THE
PINK HEN 6

III. THE GIANT'S GARDEN 14

IV. CROQUET AND CRIME 18

V. DORIS AND THE PINK HEN 24

VI. 'PROBLEMS FOR YOUNG CYCLISTS' 32

VII. DOG-SOAP, MOLES, AND MACKINTOSHES 42

VIII. THE SLEEPY SENTRY 51

IX. THE RED HOUSE IN THE CITY 59

X. THE CHRISTENING OF THE PRINCE 72

XI. SMOKING IN THE NURSERY 78

XII. THE RAVEN'S CURSE 85

XTII. THE CROWING OF THE KING 91

XIV. TIE PINK HEN AT THE PALACE 96

XV. DORIS AND THE KING 103

XVI. THE MAKING OF THE OMELETTE 112

XVII. THE WEDDING OF THE KING 1 20



















LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


BARBARA'S NURSE To face page 2

BIRTH OF THE PINK HEN 7

THE MEETING IN THE FARMYARD 9 '

THE GIANT AT PLAY 19

THE OGRE IN A RAGE 21

QUIRKINOUGH ,, 40

THE MOLE OUT SHOPPING. 48

THE WEARY SENTINEL ,, 51

THE BABY PRINCE BEGINS TO SMOKE ,, 79

THE KING'S RAVEN 85

THE COOK IN THE PARROT'S CAGE 93

A TIGHT FIT 99

MAKING THE OMELETTE 114

THE KING ENJOYS HIS PIPE AGAIN 123















THE PINK HEN


CHAPTER I

BARBARA'S EASTER EGG

THERE was once a little girl, who lived
with her parents and her nurse in the
country. She had no brothers or sisters,
no cousins, no uncles, and not even a pet
rabbit. She had, it is true, one aunt, who
came to visit the house once a year. When
she came she always shook her head at
Barbara (that was the little girl's name),
and said that in her day children were not
spoilt.
Barbara would have been very dull
and melancholy had it not been for her
B







THE PINK HEN


nurse. The nurse was very old (she had
once been nurse to Barbara's mother) and
very wrinkled. She had a hooky nose and
chin, and her eyes were like little black
beads. She knew how to make all sorts of
things out of cardboard-dolls, cups and
saucers, dolls' cradles, and even a complete
Noah's Ark. Then, on the nursery fire she
cooked the most delightful things-things
you could never get in the kitchen-such as
toffee, roast chestnuts, and toasted cheese,
with treacle posset or hot lemonade to wash
them down with. On ironing-day she would
cut a thin piece of bread, and pass the hot
iron over it, so that it was pressed flat and
crisp. Then she would butter it, and, oh,
it was delicious Strange to say, Barbara's
father and mother did not seem to care for
any of these dainties.
People in the village where Barbara lived
used to say that her nurse was a witch, and
sometimes Barbara, too, thought she must
2








































B AS R
BUn}~UBAS NfL~SE.







BARBARA'S EASTER EGG


be. Not a regular witch with a broom,
you know (though nurse was very fond of
her broom)-but a white witch, a sort of
elderly fairy.
When it was Easter-time, nurse used to
boil hens' eggs and colour them for Barbara.
She would dye them all manner of colours,
saffron, crimson, violet, and green, and some-
times even paint pictures upon them. They
were much nicer than the Easter eggs you
buy in shops, and it always seemed quite a
pity to break the shells. Once, indeed,
Barbara hid a particularly pretty egg-it
was coloured green and pink, in a sort of
pattern-in her .own private drawer, so that
it should not be eaten. But after a week
or two it was not so nice, somehow, and
smelt very nasty, and after the plumber
had been called in to see whether there was
anything wrong in the house, nurse found
the egg, and threw it away.
Now it happened one Easter that nurse







THE PINK HEN


had chosen from the farmyard seven beautiful
eggs to colour, and had carried them indoors.
The eggs had to be boiled two at a time-for
the saucepan was very small-and somehow
or other, whether it was Barbara running
about the room and talking, and constantly
trying to see how the eggs were getting
done, and being pulled back from the fire
for fear her hair should catch alight when
she bent over the saucepan, or whether it
was the work of the fairies (who have a
great deal to do with this story, as you shall
see), I don't know, but certain it is that
nurse forgot altogether to boil the seventh
egg. She remembered just too late, after
she had dyed it a lovely crimson. She
would not boil it then because it might
have made her new saucepan in a mess.
Barbara wanted to keep the egg as it was,
and give it to that kind aunt of hers I told
you of, as a surprise for her Easter break-
fast; but nurse thought perhaps she would
4


.1'







BARBARA'S EASTER EGG


not be pleased. "She might say the egg
was spoilt," Barbara confessed. Finally, it
was agreed to carry the egg back to the
farmyard, and put it with a lot of others
in a nest on which a hen was sitting. This
was done whilst the hen was asleep.























5
















CHAPTER II


BIRTH AND EARLY ADVENTURES OF THE
PINK HEN

WHEN the hen woke up and found a
crimson egg in her nest she was very aston-
ished, but on the whole thought it best to
say nothing about the matter. Of course
she had read all about the goose that laid
the golden eggs, and she remembered that
in the story the goose was killed. She was
afraid that she might be killed, too, if it
came out that she had laid a crimson egg.
You see, she was such a stupid old hen
that she believed she had laid the egg
herself.
Well, in due time all the eggs were







BIRTH AND EARLY ADVENTURES

hatched out, and from the broken shells
there strutted forth a fine little brood of
yellow chicks-all save one, and she was a
pale pink. It was the chicken that had
come from the crimson egg. The warmth
of the mother hen's body had made the dye
pass through the shell and colour the poor
little chicken inside.
Here was a fine to do for the old hen.
She could not hide the pink chicken as she
had hidden the crimson egg, and soon all
the animals in the farmyard, which was a
very large one, knew all about the matter.
Barbara would have known, too, but, as it
happened, she had caught measles, and had
to stop indoors. Poor Barbara was feeling
very ill and melancholy, and would have
been delighted to hear about the pink
chicken, but somehow no one, not even
nurse, thought of telling her.
The days passed by, and the pink chicken
grew into a little pink hen. In the sun it
7






THE PINK HEN


looked the colour of rose silk. It was really
very pretty, but the other animals did not
think so. They were annoyed because it
was different from anything they had seen
before. Besides, the pink hen was fond of
making bad puns, and this naturally enraged
the other fowls. At last an indignation
meeting was called together to consider the
question. All the cocks and hens were
there, the ducks, the geese, the old turkey-
cock, the pigs, and the donkey. The donkey,
as the oldest animal present, was voted into
the chair.
There was not really a chair, of course,
and if there had been, I don't believe the
donkey could have sat in it, but there was
a wheel-barrow in the yard, and the donkey
stood up with his forelegs placed inside
that. Then, when all was ready, the turkey-
cock made a speech.
"Ladies and gentlemen of the farmyard,"
he said, we have come together to-day to
8







BIRTH AND EARLY ADVENTURES

consider a matter which is nothing less than
a scandal. One of our number-a hen-
has had the depravity to depart from all
the traditions of henhood, and run about
the farm clad in pink feathers. If it were a
misfortune that had caused this unseemly
exhibition, some unfortunate slip into the
strawberry beds, for instance, I would say
nothing. But this hen was born pink.
There is no excuse for her conduct. I would
call upon her to blush for her shame were
she not a perpetual blush already. I now
request our revered chairman (I should say
wheel-barrowman) to express the sense of
the meeting."
The turkey-cock ended his remarks amid
considerable clapping of wings, mingled with
some hisses from the geese, who, however,
did not mean to be rude-it was their only
means of expressing approval. Then the
donkey began to speak.
"This," he said, "is not a matter to be
9







THE PINK HEN


hastily decided. Novel circumstances call
for the exercise of circumspect consider-
ation."
"Would you mind not using such hard
words? interrupted a bantam; they make
me feel as if I were eating gravel."
I will endeavour," said the donkey
pompously, "to suit what I have to say to
the understanding of the meanest bantam.
I was about to remark, when I was inter-
rupted, that I propose to deal with this
affair under three heads. First, I shall
briefly sketch the history of hens from the
time of Noah's Ark to the present day.
Next, I shall consider whether there is any
previous record in nature of a pink hen.
Lastly, I shall give my option as to what
course should be adopted by the assembly,
my reasons, and a moral. Ahem! In the
Ark-"
"Excuse me," broke in an old motherly-
looking hen, "but could you not cut it
10







BIRTH AND EARLY ADVENTURES

down to the opinion, and perhaps, if there
were time, the reasons, and the moral ? It
is past noon now, and my three daughters
have been up so late the last few days at
parties and concerts, that I feel they ought
to go to bed early to-night."
This remark was received with general
approval by all the other animals, and the
donkey, though he seemed rather offended,
consented to shorten his speech.
"Pink," he observed, "is all very well
where it is becoming-on the nose, for
instance."
"Hear, hear," said the turkey-cock; "I
like a bit of pink or red, myself, in its
proper place."
Exactly," went on the donkey; "but a
pink hen is not in its proper place here.
It ought to be in a museum. Pink pigs
I have seen, though I do not approve of
them; pink hens I wish to see no longer.
I am of opinion that the pink hen should be







THE PINK HEN


required to depart. I therefore move that
the pink hen be expelled from the farmyard.
Those in favour of the motion, hold up their
hoofs."
Amid great excitement the cocks and
hens raised each a claw.
"Those against the motion, please signify
their disapproval in the usual manner."
The poor little pink hen raised her claw.
No other claw was raised in support. The
pink hen raised up both claws-and could
no longer support herself. She was picked
up by the turkey-cock.
"The ayes have it," declared the donkey;
"the pink hen must go. This meeting is
now adjourned," and he trotted off down
the field beyond the farmyard to a thistle,
which he espied in the distance. He had
quite forgotten about the moral.
The pink hen begged to be allowed to
stay in the farmyard, but no one would
listen to its entreaties. The other hens,
12







BIRTH AND EARLY ADVENTURES

threatened to peck it to death if it did not
at once depart.
"The majority was against you," said the
turkey-cock. "Everything was conducted
in a perfectly fair and proper manner, and
I cannot see what you have to complain of."
"Where am I to get food ?" sobbed the
pink hen.
"You are not a chicken," cried out all
the hens. You must look after yourself."
And so the pink hen was led to the gate
of the farmyard and turned out. At the
last moment a good-tempered cock, who
had lately had to buy some cough-drops for
a hoarse throat caused by much crowing,
made her a present of the remainder of the
box.
With this, and some advice from the
turkey, the hen went out into the world.

















CHAPTER III


.THE GIANT'S GARDEN

OUTSIDE the farmyard was the high road,
looking very dusty and hot.
"I must walk along the road," thought
the hen to herself, "till I come to a farm
where all the hens are pink," and she
stepped bravely forward.
After a long time she came to what
looked like a gate by the side of the road;
but it was the largest gate she had ever
seen in her life.
"This looks as if it might lead to a
farmyard," she said to herself, and slipped
underneath. This she found quite easy,
14







THE GIANT'S GARDEN


for the lowest bar of the gate was quite
three feet from the ground. Inside, there
was a sort of paved courtyard, with here
and there what appeared to be rolls of
bread lying scattered about it. The pink
hen went up to peck at one of these, for
she was feeling very hungry, when all at
once a great shower of rolls came tearing
through the air from somewhere and fell
round about her.
Scarce had she caught her breath from
this surprise, when a flock of enormous
cocks and hens rushed madly into the
courtyard after the loaves. The hens were,
every one, five feet high at least. The
pink hen was so frightened that she ran
away behind a huge pail, and watched.
When all the loaves were picked up, one of
the cocks crew. The noise was like that of
a fog-horn.
"I shall never get on here," thought the
pink hen, they might eat me by mistake
15







THE PINK HEN


for a loaf," and she ran as fast as she could
in the direction opposite to where she had
come in.
The courtyard led into a vegetable
garden. But such vegetables! The cab-
bages were as big as barrels; the currant-
bushes like great trees; the gooseberries as
large as oranges. The hen ran on more-
frightened than ever into the pleasure-
garden. Here played an enormous foun-
tain, whose waters fell with a sound like
a cataract. All around was smooth green
turf. At one end of the lawn croquet-
hoops were set up, and the croquet-balls, as
big as footballs, were lying about on the
grass. A mallet of vast size had been
cast down among them. Some one had
evidently just finished a game.
In the distance stood a castle, its towers
gleaming in the sun. From the castle there
ran a broad gravel path, skirting the lawn
and extending to a gate in the far distance,
16






THE GIANT'S GARDEN


which seemed to open out into the high
road beyond. Striding along this path to
the castle there appeared-what do you
think? An enormous giant-twenty feet
high-carrying a girl in his arms!
















CHAPTER IV


CROQUET AND CRIME

THE castle, the lawn, the vegetable-
garden, and the farmyard, all belonged to
the giant, whose name was Augustus. At
one time he had been a very wicked ogre,
terrifying all the neighbourhood by his
ferocity, and occasionally eating a child.
Every year, when the lists of those who
had died in the district were drawn up and
sent to the king in the capital, his name
appeared. Thus-
Scarlet fever. 20
Measles . 15
Colds ....10
Giant . 5




























I no.-.


THE GIANT AT PLAY.







CROQUET AND CRIME


But one day he attended a garden-party
(without an invitation, which was very rude
of him), and ate two curates whole. From
that moment he hlad been a changed ogre.
He left off eating people-almost entirely,
that is-and took to playing croquet. He
had to play a lonely game by himself, for
there was no other giant in the neighbour-
hood, and no one else was strong enough to
use his mallets. Sometimes, I am sorry to
say, when his left hand (given four hoops)
had won a glorious victory over his right
hand, he became very excited, and forgot
all his good resolutions. Then he would
stride forth, and capture a child and eat it.
But when he came to his senses again he
was very sorry and cried bitterly, and went
round, in a nice black suit, to see the
parents of the child he had eaten. When
they saw how put out he was about the
matter, they had not the heart to be angry
with him any more.







THE PINK HEN


Now, as it happened, not long before the
pink hen had wandered into the castle
grounds, the giant, as usual, had been play-
ing croquet. Right hand was a rover with
both balls; left hand was a rover with one
ball, and two hoops from the winning peg
with the other. With a splendid shot left
hand struck a ball at a distance of one
hundred and twenty yards, and won the
game directly after. The giant went in-
doors and danced wildly up and down the
stairs, singing with joy the while. Then
he donned his ogre's dress and marched
out of the castle grounds, determined to
find some one to eat. He travelled for
many miles without coming across anybody
except tough old country-folk. At last, as
he was striding down a shady lane, he saw
two people in front of him. One was a
tall and rather boney woman, the other was
a girl of about fifteen. The girl was very
fair, with eyes the colour of harebells, and
20



































































TIHE OGRE IN A RAGE.


T~-~Y
-7


'"'"'"'


~







CROQUET AND CRIME


a great wave of golden-bronze hair hanging
down her back. She had just finished her
morning lessons, and was out for her usual
walk with her governess.
The giant gave a great shout, and the
girl (whose name was Doris) and the
governess turned round and saw him. You
may guess how frightened they were But
the governess was very brave. She was
carrying a copy of Mangnall's Questions
in her hand (" I never go out," she always
said, without an umbrella, some sticking-
plaster, and Mangnall's Questions"), and
she threw it with all her force at the giant's
head. The giant roared with rage when
the book struck him, and aimed a blow at
the governess with his club. Fortunately
he missed hitting her. The governess was
calling out all the time to Doris to run
away; but Doris, although she was not very
fond of her governess, would not leave her
alone with the ogre. So it happened that







THE PINK HEN


the giant, rushing past the governess,
caught up Doris with one of his huge
hands, and strode away with her. The
governess ran after them as long as she
could, calling for help, but at last she was
too out of breath to run any further, and
the giant and Doris soon disappeared from
her sight, Then at length she went sadly
home, and told Doris' father and mother
the dreadful news.
Meanwhile the giant marched straight
back to his castle, and, as we have seen,
arrived there just as the pink hen had
made her way on to the croquet-lawn.
When he was within twenty yards he sud-
denly caught sight of her. Now the giant
had never set eyes on such a thing as a
pink hen before, and he was terribly alarmed.
He gave a loud cry, dropped Doris from
his arms, and rushed into the castle.
"This comes of playing croquet," he
thought to himself when he had somewhat
22







CROQUET AND CRIME


recovered from his terror. I dare say that
hen plays itself, heard of my skill at the
game, and wanted to get up a match with
me. But I utterly decline to play croquet
with a pink hen. I should keep on hitting
it instead of the red ball. No, I shall
resign from the Cannibal Croquet Club. I
am the only member-it's a pity, too, for
we have a lovely blazer-and I will never
eat a child again."
















CHAPTER V


DORIS AND THE PINK HEN

DORIS raised herself from the ground
where the giant had dropped her. She
was quite unhurt. She stood for a moment
looking at the pink hen.
Quick !" she exclaimed; "let us run
away as fast as we can. Perhaps he will
be back directly." And away she flew
down the path and out of the gate, the
pink hen half running, half flying, at her
heels.
When they had been running a long
time, until in fact the pink hen] was quite
red with the exertion, Doris vaulted over a
fence into an orchard by the side of the
24







DORIS AND THE PINK HEN


high road, and sank down on the soft grass.
The pink hen followed her through a hole
in the paling.
"Where are we ?" asked Doris, when she
had got back her breath.
"Near the farmyard," replied the hen.
Whose farmyard ? inquired Doris.
The pink hen did not know.
"Well, I don't know in the least where
I am," remarked Doris. "I was walking
along with my governess, miles and miles
away from here, when that old giant
snatched me up. I wonder what made him
drop me like that."
"He seemed rather frightened at me,"
said the pink hen proudly.
"He must be a very silly giant, then,"
retorted Doris.
"I think you ought to be grateful to
me that he did drop you," the hen replied
rather angrily.
"Don't let us quarrel," said Doris quickly.
25







THE PINK HEN


" Quarrelling is very nice sometimes-but
we have not time for it now. I want to
find some one who will tell me the way
home. We had better go back to your
farmyard. Then you can stop in the farm-
yard, and I will go up to the house-I
suppose there is a house-and have some
lunch."
"I can't go back to the farmyard," the
pink hen exclaimed. "I was turned
out."
"What for ? Couldn't you lay eggs ?"
"I was turned out because I was pink-
and if I go back I shall be killed."
"Oh, dear !" said Doris. Then we must
walk on together, I suppose, until we come
to a house where they will take us in. I
am so hungry too. I don't know what we
shall do if we can't get a meal somewhere.
Fancy, if we don't find a house for days and
days I tell you what it is-you will have
to lay eggs, and I can eat them."







DORIS AND THE PINK HEN


"And what am I to live on ?" asked the
hen.
"Grass and things, I suppose," replied
Doris.
"But I cannot eat grass," the hen pro-
tested, and began to cry.
"For goodness' sake don't cry like a
great chicken," said Doris indignantly; "all
your colour will run if you do. What's
that little box sticking out under your
wing ?"
It was the box of cough-drops, which the
hen had quite forgotten. She opened the
box, and showed the lozenges within. Doris
clapped her hand.
Splendid !" she exclaimed. "There are
twenty lozenges there. You can eat three
a day-one for breakfast, one for dinner,
and one for tea. On the seventh day we
must come to a city."
"Supposing we don't observed the hen
in a depressed voice.







THE PINK HEN


"Then we shall have to eat each other,"
said Doris. Now don't talk any more, but
run along with me. The quicker we walk,
the sooner we shall get to the city."
So saying, she got up from the ground,
jumped over the fence again, and started
briskly along the high road.
"There is one good thing about this,"
she said, after a few minutes, I shan't see
my governess again for a long while."
What is a governess ? panted the pink
hen-she was a little out of breath walking
so fast.
"She is a sort of person who doesn't
know anything," replied Doris. You have
no idea how ignorant this one is. She is
always asking the names of capitals of
countries, and the dates when things hap-
pened, and people's genealogies. I'm always
telling her-but it is no good-the next
day she asks the same questions all over
again."







DORIS AND THE PINK HEN


"What is a genealogy?" inquired the
hen.
"It's a thing that proves you are de-
scended from John of Gaunt," said Doris.
"Every respectable family has one."
"Who was John of Gaunt ?" asked the
hen, who had a thirst for information.
"Now look here," said Doris severely,
"you are getting as bad as the governess.
It's quite enough to be asked questions by
her all the day long. I am not going to
put up with a hen doing the same-much
less a pink hen. Governess has a pink nose,
but she is not pink all over. She is yellow,
mostly."
"I thought all governesses were well-
read," remarked the hen.
"Just now," said Doris indignantly, "you
pretended that you did not know what
governesses were, and now you are making
puns on them. 'A hen that would make a
pun would peck a pullet'-that is an old
29







THE PINK HEN


proverb. My governess has a pink nose
because she is always cold. She has
a bottle in bed every night-even in
summer.
"Gracious! exclaimed the hen. "No
wonder her nose is red. What an example
to set!"
"I mean a hot-water bottle, silly !" said
Doris. But-there !-I don't want to talk
about her. She's an unpleasant fact, and
so we can't explain her away. I've read
that somewhere. What nasty cough-drops
these are!"
Were, you mean," said the hen mourn-
fully; "you've eaten them all-and I was
to live on those. What are we to do now,
I should like to know ?"
"I kept on taking another to see if it
was as nasty as the one before, until they
were all gone," explained Doris. "It can-
not be helped now. There's a man!" she
added suddenly, as they turned a corner,
30







DORIS AND THE PINK HEN


" sitting down by the road some way ahead.
He looks as if he had fallen off a bicycle-
only I can't see the bicycle. Perhaps he
will tell us what to do." And they both
hurried eagerly onwards.
















CHAPTER VI


'PROBLEMS FOR YOUNG CYCLISTS'

WHEN they came up to the man in the
road they found that he was dressed in a
complete suit of bicycling clothes, and was
sitting under the roadside hedge, deeply
studying a small book.
"That's a route-book, I expect," said
Doris, in a whisper to the hen. "Cyclists
are always looking at a route-book-it tells
you how to get away from where you are.
He is just the right sort of man to have
met."
Would you mind, sir," she began rather
timidly, informing me where we are ? We
have lost our way."







'PROBLEMS FOR YOUNG CYCLISTS'

"Are you on bicycles ?" said the man,
looking up quickly with an eager air.
No," said Doris, you see I have a hen
with me-and it has not learnt to ride yet."
"It's a pity you are not on bicycles,"
observed the man reflectively. "If you
had been I could have helped you. Look
at this book,"-and he held it up for her to
see the title.
It was called, Problems for Young
Cyclists.
"I wrote it," said the man proudly,
" and I have written a key, too-for tutors
and governesses only, you know."
Doris opened the book and began to read.
Her eyes fell on the following passage-
"Problem No. 38. You are sitting by
four cross-roads mending your tyre, when
a man runs past you, evidently being hunted
by murderers, and takes the road on the
right. Five minutes afterwards three
desperate-looking ruffians come panting







THE PINK HEN


after him. They ask you which road he
has taken, and demand the loan of your
bicycle in order to pursue him. The bicycle
is not your own, but is a hired one, and you
have agreed with the owner not to allow
any one else to use it. What should you
do ? "
How could you tell that the first man
was being hunted by murderers ?" asked
Doris.
"By his ears, of course," replied the man.
Now read another one."
"Problem No. 39," read Doris. "Your
route-book has recommended you to take
a short cut through a tunnel. You are in
the middle of the tunnel when you hear the
rumble of an approaching train. At the
same instant, looking back, you see a train
coming behind on the other line. You have
left your cyclometer at home. What course
should you adopt ?"
"They seem very difficult problems,"







'PROBLEMS FOR YOUNG CYCLISTS'

observed Doris diffidently, "and I shouldn't
think they would often happen, would
they ?"
"That's the object of the book," said the
man; "you don't want a book to tell you
what to do in ordinary cases-such as find-
ing that both your wheels have come off
when you weren't looking."
"You would know that at once be-
cause-" began Doris.
So I said," interrupted the man quickly,
"and so it is not in my book. Besides,
you are reading the more difficult questions
that come at the end. They are for
advanced students. The easy ones are at
the beginning. Now you see, if only you
had bicycles I could tell you what to do.
It would make an excellent problem. 'You
are out on a bicycle, and have lost your way.
Your only companion is a pink hen.' But
as it is, I am afraid I cannot help you."
"But, suppose you pretend that we had
35







THE PINK HEN


bicycles, and have lost them as well as our
way," said Doris eagerly. "Put in, too,
that we are very hungry, and haven't any
money. That will make the problem more
difficult still. Perhaps," she added craftily,
" too difficult even for you."
"Nonsense," said the man sharply,
"didn't I tell you that I've written a key
which answers every problem in the book-
even the hardest ?"
But, then, you invented the pro-
blems first, you know," Doris reminded
him.
"And fancy how much harder that is !"
cried the man triumphantly. "Lots of
people can give the answer to a question,
but how few can guess the question from
the answer. Twelve fifteen. What is the
question to that ? "
"In what year was Magna Charta
signed ? suggested Doris.
"Wrong," said the man; "it's 'What
36







'PROBLEMS FOR YOUNG CYCLISTS'

time does the next train go, porter ?' of
course."
"'Missing questions' would be rather a
good parlour game," observed Doris thought-
fully.
"I don't think it would answer," put in
the pink hen, who felt she had been left out
of the conversation long enough.
"That is the second bad pun you've
made this afternoon," said Doris angrily.
"Pink hens for punning people," mur-
mured the man, I've seen that somewhere
I believe. Now wait a moment while I
think out what you ought to do."
Hereupon he coiled himself up in a most
extraordinary attitude, with his head be-
tween his knees, and his arms clasped round
his feet.
"If you want to think straight you
must sit crooked," he observed in ex-
planation.
Doris hoped the thinking would not last
37







THE PINK HEN


very long, for he was rapidly getting black
in the face; but after a short time he
unwound himself as it were, and sprang to
his feet.
I've got it! he exclaimed; "the first
thing for you to do is to go into the town
near here. It's the capital of the country,
and it is only about two miles off-straight
down the road."
Doris thought to herself that if he had
told her this before it would have saved
trouble, and that there was no necessity for
his twisting himself up in that absurd
manner to think of such an easy answer,
but she refrained from saying so.
When you are there," the man went
on, "you had better announce that you
have come to give an entertainment. Hire
a hall and charge something for a perform-
ance. Just lead the pink hen about on the
stage, you know. If you could sing a song,"
he added, turning to the pink hen, "it
38







'PROBLEMS FOR YOUNG CYCLISTS'

would make the thing go off better, of
course."
The hen shook her head sadly.
"Well, it cannot be helped," said the
man, I dare say lots of people will be glad
enough even to see a pink hen, without
wanting to hear it sing-the town is a great
place for novelties. You can keep yourself
that way, and make enough money over to
advertise in the paper for your relations."
Mine cannot read," said the hen; but
no one took any notice of her remark.
"Thank you very much," said Doris
warmly to the man. "It is wonderful to
me how you can think of such clever things.
We will walk on to the town at once. I
suppose you are riding on further on your
bicycle."
"No," said the man, looking a little
confused, the truth is, I haven't got a
bicycle yet. In fact I've not yet learned
to ride. But I am teaching myself," he






THE PINK HEN


added more cheerfully. "I'm writing a
book-all about how to learn-and I'm
teaching myself that way. When I have
mastered all the proper movements
thoroughly out of my book, then I shall
buy a bicycle and ride off at once-first
trial. One is not so likely to break the
bicycle by falling about when one is learning
that way, you see."
I am afraid you won't find it very easy,"
said Doris doubtfully. "If I were you I
should hire a bicycle to learn on, and
a boy to run you about. That's how I
learnt."
The man looked so melancholy at this,
that Doris was quite sorry she had shaken
his confidence in his book.
"I have bought a pump," he said mourn-
fully, "and I will think over getting the
other things. I will think now," and
immediately down went his head between
his knees as before. Doris, who was anxious










































































QtUIRKIONUGII.







'PROBLEMS FOR YOUNG CYCLISTS'

to get on to the town, took the opportunity
of leaving him.
Good-bye," she called out, as she walked
off. Many thanks for your advice "-but
the man made her no answer. He seemed,
by the way in which he was gasping for
breath, to be thinking very hard.

















CHAPTER VII


DOG-SOAP, MOLES, AND MACKINTOSHES

DoRIs and the pink hen had walked on
a couple of hundred yards when they heard
a shout from behind. Turning round they
saw the man running towards them, waving
his arms to them to stop. They stood still,
and when he came up he exclaimed-
"As you are going into the city, I meant
to ask you to take this with you. I go
about the country selling it, and if you
carry a piece with you, and show it to those
you meet, I may get a customer."
So speaking, he held out a tablet of soap.
Doris read what was written on the paper-
42







DOG-SOAP, MOLES, AND MACKINTOSHES

wrapper-" Quirkinough's Dog-soap. Won't
Wash Cats."
I'm Quirkinough," said the man proudly.
How do you know it won't wash cats?"
asked Doris, laughing at such a queer
recommendation.
S" I've tried," said Quirkinough solemnly.
"I took hold of Mr. Barlow-that's our cat,
you know-one day. He was very dirty,
because he had been out blackbeetling in
the shrubbery."
"In the shrubbery!" said Doris in sur-
prise. What a funny place in which to
look for blackbeetles."
"Yes. Mr. Barlow said they climbed the
trees and sucked the eggs in the birds'
nests, and he was determined to put a stop
to it. I don't think he found any; but he
got all over mud-a wash would have done
him good. I filled up the big bath with
warm water, and tested it with the ther-
mometer. A hundred and ten degrees it was."
43







THE PINK HEN


"Wasn't that rather warm ?" asked
Doris.
"Well, it ought to be about ninety, you
know-for a good warm bath, and I allowed
twenty more to get through his fur coat.
Of course, if you bathed in a fur coat, you
wouldn't feel the warmth at first. I did
not like to shave him, you see."
"I should think not indeed," said Doris.
"Did he enjoy his bath ?"
"I am sure he would have done so-the
soap was ready too," said Quirkinough
sadly. "But when I tried to drop him in,
he fought so fiercely in my arms that he
tore out my whiskers. I dare say you
noticed that I had not got any whiskers."
"I see you-have not," said Doris politely.
So I had to let him go-when he had
let me go, that is. It was a great pity;
but that is how I know that my soap won't
wash cats. It adds to the look of the
wrapper to have that stated, I think, don't
44

















































THE MEETING IN THE FARMYARD.







THE PINK HEN


of them had umbrellas, they stood up under
a tree waiting for the rain to leave off.
They had not been there very long when
a curious rustling, coming apparently from
the ground, made them both look down.
Quite near to their feet a mole was scuttling
along. He was clad in a mackintosh a
good many sizes too big for him, and it was
the noise of this trailing along the road that
had attracted their attention.
"A mole in a mackintosh!" exclaimed
Doris. Well, I never saw that before."
Moles are blind, but they can hear pretty
well. This one stopped when Doris called
out, and remarked-
What haven't you seen before-a mole,
or a mackintosh ? "
"I've seen a mole before," explained
Doris, and I've seen a mackintosh before-
lots of times, in fact-but I've never seen a
mole and a mackintosh together."
"There are several things like that," said
46







DOG-SOAP, MOLES, AND MACKINTOSHES

the mole. "For instance, you've seen day,
and you've seen night, I suppose, but you
have never seen day and night together."
"Except when there is an eclipse of the
sun," put in the pink hen.
"Don't be so sharp," said the mole in
disgust. He had never seen an eclipse, or,
indeed, day and night.
"This isn't my mackintosh," he went on
presently. "It belongs to my aunt's step-
sister's husband's uncle. He is longer than
I am, and it doesn't fit very well, but I had
to put on something-it's raining so ex-
tremely hard-and this is the only mackin-
tosh in our family. We all borrow it."
"That can't be very nice for your aunt's
step-sister's- dear me! I have forgotten
what he was," said Doris.
"Aunt's step-sister's husband's uncle,"
said the mole, "but that isn't his business
you know. He is other things besides that.
I expect he does not like his mackintosh
47







THE PINK HEN


being so much used-but I am not sure.
He is such a very distant relation that I
have quite lost sight of him."
The pink hen was so amused at this last
remark that she burst into a loud cackling,
greatly to the anger of the mole, who had
not intended to make a joke.
"I must be going now," he announced.
"I've only just stepped out to buy a few
wireworms for afternoon tea-my wife has
company coming-and she won't be pleased
if I don't hurry back. What road do you
take ? "
We are going to the city," Doris
answered, "perhaps you are walking the
same way"-but to herself she hoped he
was not. "I simply could not keep step
with a mole in a mackintosh on one side,
and a pink hen on the other," she explained
afterwards.
"I'm going to the town," replied the
mole, "but not along the road. I generally
48































































THE MOLE OUT SHOPPING.







DOG-SOAP, MOLES, AND MACKINTOSHES

travel underneath. Here is where I start"
-and he pointed to a hole in the ground-
" I can't ask you to come, I'm afraid. Only
moles are allowed to use this road."
"Only moles would want to, I should
think," said Doris, as the mole disappeared
rapidly down the hole.
The pink hen remained silent. She was
trying to think of a pun. Doris heard her
muttering to herself' mole-mouldy' as they
walked along.
Presently they turned a corner, and the
city came in sight. It was the most curious
town that Doris had ever seen. The whole
town was situated on a hill. The houses
were all built in rings round the hill, each
row of houses an equal distance above the
other. In the lower rings the houses were
small, but they became larger and larger as
the summit was reached, until at the very
top of the hill was the palace of the king him-
self. It was built of gold and marble, and
49 E







THE PINK HEN


glistened in the sun. Round the city there
ran a high wall. Doris could see that about
every hundred yards there was a gate in
the wall, and that from each gate a straight
road led out into the country beyond. The
gates were open, but were guarded by
sentries. Doris noticed the light reflected
from their spears. On approaching nearer
to the town she saw that the houses were
painted in different colours. Those in the
lower rings were coloured a bright red, then
in the middle came row after row of brown,
with a little circle of blue houses. The
upper rings were painted in violet and gold,
and a few of the houses at the very top
were built of marble and silver. From the
king's palace, which, as we have said, was
of marble and gold, there floated a flag.
Doris clapped her hands. It's just like
a wedding cake," she exclaimed, "only all
coloured instead of white. I hope they will
let us in."







7 /llt


THE WEARY SENTINEL.


I

















CHAPTER VIII


THE SLEEPY SENTRY

THE road they were walking on led right
up to one of the gates; and now they could
clearly see the sentry standing bolt upright
at the side. He was a very tall man, clad in
a uniform of blue and silver. Instead of a
helmet he wore a Tam-o'-Shanter hat, which
gave him an odd and unfinished appearance.
When they were within speaking distance,
he called to them to stop, and marched out
towards them.
"What do you want ?" he said.
We want to get into the town," replied
Doris.







THE PINK HEN


"That will give me a deal of trouble,"
said the sentry with a sigh, "a deal of
trouble. It's not too late to go back," he
added anxiously.
I dare say not," said Doris rather crossly,
"but we don't want to go back. We are
very tired."
The sentry shook his head in a melancholy
way.
"You don't think of me," he grumbled;
"you are the third person I've passed in
to-day. If you had done that, you might
well talk about being tired."
"Why should just letting people pass
through tire you? asked Doris in surprise.
Come along and you will see," replied
the sentry, leading the way to the gate.
He stepped inside and came out with an
enormous book, bound in black leather.
"Before I let you through, I must ask
you the questions set down in this book,"
he said, "and take down your answers.
52






THE SLEEPY SENTRY


Now, are you ready? 'Have you been
vaccinated ?'"
"Yes," answered Doris, twice. I don't
know about the pink hen, though."
Once is all that is required by the rules,"
remarked the sentry, carefully copying
Doris's answer into the book by means of a
large pencil which he drew from behind his
ear, so if you have been vaccinated twice
that will do for you and the hen as well."
Can you spell 'isosceles triangle' ?" was
the next question.
Doris answered this, rather wondering
why it was necessary, and then the sentry
asked the pink hen to spell the same words.
Wasn't I right ? asked Doris.
Quite right so far as I know," yawned
the sentry in a weary way.
"Then, why do you ask the hen the same
question ?" inquired Doris.
"To see whether she can spell," replied
the sentry.







THE PINK HEN


That's the second thing put down in the
book. We have to ask, first: 'Has the
traveller been vaccinated ?' secondly: 'Can
he spell?'"
"But you can't find out by asking her
the same word that you asked me. If I
was right she has only to spell it the same
way."
"That doesn't matter," said the sentry.
"What the book says, is, 'Can she spell?'
not,' Can she spell correctly ?' I can't spell
correctly myself. Sometimes I spell a word
one way, sometimes another. For instance,
I never spell the same before and after
breakfast."
The sentry now turned over a few leaves.
"I shall omit the next few questions," he
remarked, yawning once more, "and go on
to question 150." (" Goodness!" thought
Doris, "I'm glad he is too tired to go
through all the questions. I suppose if ever
Quirkinough passes through here he and the
54






THE SLEEPY SENTRY


sentry have a regular game, one asking
questions and wanting answers, the other
giving answers and wanting the questions.")
"Question 150: Have you seen such a
thing as a pink hen ? If so, where ?" read
out the sentry.
"That is a queer question," Doris ex-
claimed. Whatever made them put that
down ? Funnier still! I have seen a pink
hen. Here she is !"
The sentry nodded. Of course I noticed
it was a pink hen when you first came up,"
he said. "Question 150 is a new one-
only sent down from the palace yester-
day."
"You must have been surprised when
you saw us then."
"Certainly not," the sentry declared,
"that would be against the Military Regu-
lations. 'Above all things, the soldier should
guard against a surprise'-you have heard
of that rule, surely ?"






THE PINK HEN


"I thought that meant a surprise from the
enemy," said Doris.
The sentry shook his head solemnly.
"May be-but the regulations don't say
so," he observed. Then, writing down the
last answer in the book and closing it, he
went on, "There is only one more question,
and that 1 answer, so we won't trouble about
it, eh ?"
"Yes, I should like to hear it," said Doris
firmly.
"I wish you had gone in at another
gate," murmured the poor sentry, who
seemed to be getting more sleepy every
minute. "Might have saved us both a deal
of worry."
"How would it have saved me any
worry?" asked Doris. "I should have had
to answer the same questions, I suppose?"
"Not if you had happened to go in at a
gate kept by a wooden soldier," said the
sentry; and then, noticing Doris's look of
56






THE SLEEPY SENTRY


surprise, he added, "you see there are
about a hundred gates to the town, and
there are not enough soldiers to go round.
So every here and there a wooden sentry
is fixed up instead of a real one. They are
life size, and do very well-only they
cannot ask questions."
"We haven't had that last question you
were to answer," said Doris.
"This is it," replied the sentry rather
crossly. 'Is there anything you would
like to know?'"
"I should just think so," exclaimed
Doris. Why is the town built on a hill,
and why are the houses coloured so funnily,
and why don't you have fewer gates if
there are not enough sentries, and how
was it they sent down question 150 about
the pink hen ?"
"You ought to number your questions,"
grumbled the sentry. "How am I to keep
a string of them like that in my head ?
57






THE PINK HEN


The town is built on a hill because the hill
was here before the town. The houses of
the lower classes are coloured red; of the
middle classes, brown; of the upper classes,
gold. The professors of the university live
in blue houses. The king and his ministers
live at the top. I forget the other questions
-and it's no good your asking them over
again," he concluded hurriedly, as Doris
opened her mouth to speak, "you are only
allowed to ask a question once."
"Well, it doesn't matter," said Doris
scornfully, "for your answers are very
poor! It's a pity they don't change you
for a wooden sentry, I think," and, holding
her chin in the air, she marched through
the gate into the town, followed by the
pink hen.















CHAPTER IX


THE RED HOUSE IN THE CITY

DolIS and the pink hen walked a little
way up the street, and then Doris said-
"If I don't have something to eat soon,
I shall begin to cry. We had better go to
one of these houses and ask for shelter for
the night. We will tell the people inside
that we are going to give an entertainment,
and perhaps they will help us." As she
spoke her eye fell on a house somewhat
larger than the rest, and she added-" We
might try here. But I hope they won't
ask a lot of silly questions before they let
us in."
Doris's knock at the door was followed







THE PINK HEN


by the sound of a great deal of scuffling
and shouting inside the house. Presently
footsteps approached the door, and a voice
said through the letter-box,
"Did you knock ?"
"Yes," replied Doris, bending her mouth
down to the letter-box.
"Please ring also."
"What for?" asked Doris in astonish-
ment.
Can't you see it written up ? said the
voice sharply,-"' Knock and ring'-just
beneath the knocker."
Ridiculous nonsense," thought Doris to
herself, ringing the bell notwithstanding,
"for," she reflected, "it won't do to ?have
a row with the people here directly we get
in, especially when we want lodgings for
the night without paying in advance."
The door now opened, and revealed a
little old woman, dressed all in red, standing
in the hall.







THE RED HOUSE IN THE CITY


"Close the door after you," she said,
"and wipe your feet on the mat. What's
your business?"
We want to sleep here," began Doris,
following her directions.
Can't be done," said the woman
decidedly. No one but the dog is allowed
to sleep on the mat, and even he only on
Fridays"
"We don't want to sleep on the mat,"
explained Doris. "In fact, we had rather
not. We want to sleep in a room, if you
have one. Of course we will pay you for
it-when we can, that is. I am going to
give a show in the town here, and charge
people something for seeing it."
"The fact is," remarked the woman,
"that we have only one room empty-the
spare bedroom-and of course I can't let
you have that."
Why not ?" asked Doris.
"Why, because then we should not have
61







THE PINK HEN


a spare bedroom of course," said the woman
in a vexed tone of voice. "All my life I
have prided myself on my spare bedroom-
none of the neighbours have one-and I am
not going to fill it up now. But there is
an out-house I might let you use. With a
cushion or two, and the umbrella-stand,
and a chair, it could be made quite cosy."
Doris did not much like the prospect of
sleeping in an out-house, and she could not
imagine how the umbrella-stand would
make it more comfortable, but she felt that
"beggars could not be choosers," and that
they were lucky to be taken in at all.
"Very well," she said, "we will sleep
there. How much will it be ?"
"Two shillings a night," replied the
woman, "three shillings a day for your
meals, and one shilling extra for the
umbrella-stand."
"I don't think we shall want the
umbrella-stand," observed Doris.
62







THE RED HOUSE IN THE CITY


"We shall charge you something if you
bring your own umbrella-stand, you know,"
said the woman suspiciously.
Doris assured her that she had n6
intention of using an umbrella-stand at all;
and the woman then invited them to come
in and sit down. She showed them into a
small room at the side of the hall. Doris
noticed that the paper of the room was red;
so, too, was all the furniture. It had rather
a glaring effect, she thought. Tea things
(cups and saucers of red china) were set
out on the table, and at the table there sat
a man clad in a red livery.
My husband," said the woman, waving
her hand towards him. "He is a paid
friend of the king's. Drives his carriage
and so on. My dear," she added, turning
to the man, "these are two paying guests
who will share our home for the present.
They have chosen the out-house to sleep in."
Doris concluded that "a paid friend of
63







THE PINK HEN


the king's was only a grand name for the
king's coachman-but she wisely kept her
thoughts to herself.
"It's a pity the hen you have there is
not redder," said the woman, when they
had all sat down at the tea-table, "she
doesn't match the colour of the house. Let
me pass you the menu for to-day's tea,"
and she handed Doris a plain white card, on
which was written-


MENU.

TARTINES DE BEURRE.
CONFITURE AUX FRAISES.
DES GATEAUX.
PILULE.



"You are not bound to take the last
course," said the woman, noticing that
Doris's face fell when she read the last
64







THE RED HOUSE IN THE CITY


item on the card, but the cakes are rather
rich. You had better make a good tea.
We have given up having late dinner.
Rufus-my husband-finds that his social
duties at the palace occupy his evenings so
fully that really he has not the time for it.
Something on to-night as usual, I suppose,
Rufus ? "
"The carriage is ordered for half-past
six," said the man, "to take the king to a
military review. All the, sentries-them
that ain't asleep, that is-will be there.
Then we goes on to a garden party."
"What a whirl society is," sighed the
woman. "I wonder your health doesn't
break down, Rufus."
"Isn't it rather queer to have a review
and a garden party so late in the evening ?"
asked Doris.
"Hush !" said the woman, looking round
cautiously, and lowering her voice. "No-
thing the king does is queer, and if it






THE PINK HEN


is, we must not say so. The king is
young, and there have been some changes
since he came of age and took the govern-
ment into his own hands. You will learn
all about it before you have lived many
more days in the town. Let us talk about
your show. What is it to be ?"
Only the pink hen," Doris answered, I
thought that people here would probably
never have seen a pink hen. It will only
be a small show. We want to make just
enough money to pay for our stay here, and
to get back to our homes. We are both
lost, you know;" and Doris sighed as she
thought of her father and mother, who of
course would believe that she had been
eaten by the ogre.
"I was lost on purpose," remarked the
pink hen.
You won't want a large hall, then," said
the woman. "We must look out to-
morrow for the right kind of room. Rufus,"
66







THE RED HOUSE IN THE CITY


she added, turning to her husband, "you
might ask anybody you see to-night if they
know of a good place. It is time you started
now, by the bye."
When Rufus had departed from the house
to take the king for his drive, the woman
showed Doris and the pink hen the out-
house. It was large and airy enough, but
quite empty. The woman fetched in a sofa
and a few cushions to make up into a bed.
"I shall want a perch," grumbled the
pink hen.
"I will fetch the umbrella-stand,"
replied the woman eagerly, suiting the
action to the word. Doris remembered
that the umbrella-stand cost one shilling a
night, but the woman had been so kind
that she did not like to refuse it a second
time.
"After all, if there are any umbrellas in
it, and the rain comes through the roof, it
may be very useful," she reflected.
67







THE PINK HEN


"I will put the umbrella-stand just in
front of this," said the woman, pointing to a
large door that opened from the out-house
into the street. "The lock has gone to be
mended. No one is likely to come in, but
if any one does he will knock down the
umbrella-stand, and that will wake you up."
It will wake me up, too," said the hen,
looking in a dissatisfied way at the umbrella-
stand, which had now been placed in posi-
tion, "if I am to perch on that thing, and I
shall have a bad tumble."
Don't grizzle so," said Doris, but perch
yourself up there, and go to sleep."
By the time all these arrangements had
been made it was eight o'clock. Doris was
so sleepy after her long walk that she told
the woman she would go to bed at once.
Good-night," said the woman, I must
wait up for Rufus."
When she had gone, Doris made herself
as comfortable as she could on the sofa, and
68







THE RED HOUSE IN THE CITY


was soon asleep. Many hours afterwards
she was-awakened by a tapping at the door
which led into the house. Doris jumped up
and opened it. There stood the woman in
a bright red night-gown and night-cap,
holding a candle. (" She looks just as if she
had gone to a fancy dress ball as a stick of
sealing wax," thought Doris.)
"What's the matter?" she asked, half
frightened.
"I could not wait till the morning,"
replied the woman impressively. "I have
great news for you. Rufus was asking one
of the equerries if he knew of a good room
for a public entertainment-the equerries
always look after the entertainments, you
know."
Do they ?" said Doris. Well! "
The king overheard him," went on the
woman in an excited whisper, "and asked
why he wanted a room. Rufus told him all
about you and the pink hen, and when the







THE PINK HEN


king heard you had a pink hen he nearly
fainted for joy."
Why ? asked Doris.
"That I don't know. But it appears he
has been inquiring everywhere for a pink
hen for the last two or three days. He has
commanded that you should go up to the
palace to-morrow and take the pink hen
with you. Your fortune is made."
"I don't know about that," said Doris,
" the pink hen does not belong to me."
The woman shook her head solemnly.
" Something will come of this," she declared,
and departed-red Inight-gown, candle, and
all.
Doris lay awake for a short time wonder-
ing what she ought to do when she saw the
king.
I know there is some rule about walking
backwards," she said to herself, but I
suppose that is when you are leaving the
king's presence, not when you are coming







THE RED HOUSE IN THE CITY


in to see him. It would look so very odd
for a person to walk into a room backwards,
and I don't believe the pink hen could."
At last she dropped off to sleep again with-
out settling the question.
And now, reader, we must leave Doris
and the pink hen for the present, while we
tell you all about the young king-why his
town was governed so oddly; why it was
painted in different colours; and why he
was so very anxious to. find a pink hen.
















CHAPTER X


THE CHRISTENING OF THE PRINCE

THE ruler of the kingdom, of which the
city with its painted houses and its hundred
gates was the capital, was a young man of
twenty-two. His father and mother-the
old king and queen-had died when he was
still quite a child. Perhaps you think that
it must have been great fun for him to be
king, but you would be wrong. He found
it very dull. He had been king for fourteen
years now, and he was very tired of his
Council, and his Parliament, and his Judges.
His courtiers tried to cheer him up by
reminding him that in thirty-six years
more it would be his Jubilee-but that
72







THE CHRISTENING OF THE PRINCE

seemed a long time to look forward to.
Besides, there was a reason why he should
feel doleful, as you shall learn. The young
king's mother had been a very shrewd
woman, and, when her son was born, she
said to her husband-
Now we must be sure to invite to the
christening all the bad fairies we can find
in the kingdom."
"All the good fairies, you mean," said
the king, who was a very matter-of-fact
person.
No, I don't," replied the queen, that's
the mistake all the kings and queens make
in the story books. They invite the good
and not the bad fairies. Then the good
fairies come and give the baby beauty, and
brains, and brawn" (she meant to say,
" good looks, and cleverness, and strength,"
which would have been easier to understand,
but she had always been fond of words
beginning with B, so she said, "beauty, and







THE PINK HEN


brains, and brawn"), "and the bad fairy,
who has not been invited, arrives in a great
passion, and spoils everything by declaring
that the child shall turn into a lizard or
something horrid when it grows up. As for
our boy, he does not want a fairy godmother
to give him good looks-lie is a true son of
mine-and for brains--"
Those he will get from me," said the
king.
"Humph !" observed the queen. "I
was going to say that my experience was
that a king could do without brains if he
married a clever wife."
Ha! ha!" laughed the king. "You
are thinking of our neighbour, the king of
Verdantia, I see. You must excuse me, my
dear; I remember that when I was washing
my hands just now in the bathroom I left
the tap running. I had better go and turn
it off. Settle the matter of the christening
as you please."







THE CHRISTENING OF THE PRINCE

So it happened that, when the little prince
was christened, seven fairy godmothers were
invited to the ceremony. Six of them were
bad ones-the worst that could be found-
the seventh was a good one.
"It is always better to hedge," observed
the queen, who was of a sporting turn of
mind.
As it turned out it was a fortunate thing
that the good fairy had been invited. The
queen hoped that the bad fairies would be
so pleased to find themselves not left out
in the cold, but honoured as welcome guests,
that they would bring plenty of presents for
the baby, and go away without wishing him
any ill-luck. But these wicked fairies were
not to be caught so easily. They quite
understood why they had been invited, and
they were determined to punish the queen
for thinking that they could be taken in.
After the christening was over, the first fairy
came forward:







THE PINK HEN


"When the prince is king, he shall always
want to do things differently from other
people, and this will make him disliked,"
she said. "You have christened your son
Adolphus Fortunatus Vespasian Alexander
Roderick Joseph, but he shall be known to
his subjects as King Fussy the First.' "
"He shall suffer constantly from tooth-
ache," said the second fairy.
He shall worry himself horribly over
everything," snarled the third.
He shall always feel bored," said the
fourth.
His commands may be obeyed, but no
one shall ever willingly grant him a request,"
growled the fifth.
And although he is a prince," said the
sixth fairy, "he won't find any girl to give
her heart to him."
Then came forward the seventh fairy-
the good one.
"Here is my present," she said, showing







THE CHRISTENING OF THE PRINCE

a little black clay pipe, a box of matches,
and a pouch. The pipe will never break,
the matches will never fail, and the pouch
will never become empty. If he smokes
this constantly he will give up being fussy,
his toothache will get better, he will soon
cease to worry, he won't want any one to do
anything for him, and it shall win him a
wife in the end."
Pretty sort of wife," thought the queen,
" to love him for his tobacco !-and the pipe
is not even a silver-mounted one. I'm not
sure the last fairy is not the worst of the
lot."
However, as the good fairy had, after all,
given a present to the little prince, the
queen thanked her and pressed her to stay
and have tea. "I would ask you to dinner,"
she added, "only it is our head-cook's
evening out."
The other fairies trooped off together.
They were not asked to stop to tea.
77















CHAPTER XI


SMOKING IN THE NURSERY

EVERY one had left the room in which the
prince was sleeping except the nurse. She
was looking out of the nursery window,
watching the grooms bring round from the
stables the brooms on which the bad fairies
had arrived. They held them firmly while
the fairies remounted.
Meanwhile the prince woke up, and looked
round. No one was paying any attention
to him. This made him feel angry. At
the same moment a dreadful pang of what
would have been toothache, if he had yet
grown any teeth, shot through his gums.
He was just about to give a loud yell, when
78




























































THE BABY PRINCE BEGINS TO SMOKE.






SMOKING IN THE NURSERY


his eyes fell on the pipe, the pouch, and the
matchbox, which the good fairy had laid
down on a little table at the side of the
cradle. He picked them up with his baby
hands, and smiled. When the nurse pre-
sently turned round from the window she
gave a cry of amazement. The prince was
sitting up in bed with his arms clasped
round his knees. In his mouth was the
pipe with the tobacco well alight, and he
was puffing away as if he had been a con-
firmed smoker for twenty years.
The nurse went down-stairs to the queen,
and gave warning immediately. She had
never before looked after babies who smoked,
she explained, and she was not going to
begin doing so at her time of life.
The queen had to put an advertisement
in the papers. "Wanted a nurse for a
young prince. Must not object to smoking."
Several nurses answered the advertisement,
and finally, the queen chose one who smoked
79






THE PINK HEN


herself. It was a pretty sight to go up into
the nursery, and watch the prince in his
cradle, puffing away at his little pipe, while
the nurse, cigarette in mouth, rocked him
to sleep.
One of the most frequent visitors was
the Court raven. This raven was said to
be of very great age. Owing to his wisdom
he had been the chief counsellor of the
king, his father and grandfather; and his
advice was asked in all affairs of state. The
position he held at Court made him very
proud and haughty, and even the queen did
not dare to contradict what he said more
than twice a week. Besides, he was a
magician, and could punish those who
offended him by turning them into weasels,
stoats, hedgehogs, and other such unpleasant
animals. In colour he was coal black, but
with one white feather sticking out from
his tail. Of this feather he was very vain.
He suffered from a chronic stiff neck in con-








SMOKING IN THE NURSERY


sequence of a habit he had of constantly
turning round his head to look at it.
It was fortunate that this raven took
such an interest in the prince, for the latter
was soon left without any one else to take
care of him. The king and queen did not
live long enough to see their son grow up.
When he was but eight years old they died
within a week of one another. By his will
the king appointed the raven to be the
regent of the kingdom until his son came of
age. The country flourished greatly under
his rule; but this was only to be expected,
for, as we have said, the raven was a
magician. When money was scarce the
raven would order a pistol to be fetched,
and thereout he would shoot as many coins
as were needed. No one, however poor,
ever went without a good dinner. He had
but to tell the raven of his needs, and the
latter would order him to go home and feel
in the tail pocket of his Sunday coat, and
81 G







THE PINK HEN


there he would find a plump rabbit. "I
wish every peasant to have a rabbit in his
coat-tail pocket," was the raven's motto.
Happy is the kingdom which has a magician
as its leader I
But this prosperous state of things did
not last very long. In due time the young
king came of age, and took the management
of affairs into his own hands. And now
was seen the effect of the curses of the bad
fairies. The king at once began to vary
the arrangements of the kingdom, and inter-
meddle with the habits of the people. No
sooner, however, had everything been
changed to meet his wishes than he tired
of what had been done, and insisted on
still further alterations.
What do you think were some of the
queer things he did ?
He ordered the whole city to be painted
in different colours-red, brown, violet, and
yellow. The people in the red houses were







SMOKING IN THE NURSERY


to wear red clothes; in the brown, drab;
and in the yellow, yellow satin.
He gave up taxing the nation by law,
and said that his subjects should only pay
such taxes as they thought fair. It was
soon found that the treasury was empty.
The raven was sulky because he was no
longer consulted, and he refused to shoot
money from a pistol. The soldiers in the
army were not paid, and most of them
deserted. Wooden soldiers had to be made
to take their place. But the funniest
changes of all took place in the king's own
household. The king declared that there
was no reason why servants should always
keep to one kind of work. So, up at the
palace, the major domo made the beds,
marked out the tennis courts, made the
marmalade, and mixed the mustard. The
butler blacked the boots. The housemaid
looked after the horses.
The worst of it was that these changes







THE PINK HEN


made the king very unpopular. The people
obeyed him because he was the king, and
they were very loyal, but no one ever did
anything for him willingly. Thus, another
of the curses was fulfilled. If it had not
been for his pipe, which he was constantly
smoking, he would have found life un-
bearable.



























































THE KING'S RATEN.
















CHAPTER XII


THE RAVEN'S CURSE

ONE day the king was sitting moodily in
a corner of the palace garden amusing
himself by throwing small pebbles at the
raven, who, half asleep in the sun with his
back to the king, stood on one leg on a
parapet some little way off.
The prince was more melancholy than
usual, for his pipe was stopped up, and he
could not smoke it. He had blown down
the mouthpiece till he was black in the face,
but there was a small piece of tobacco
jammed inside which resisted all his efforts
to dislodge it. He had several pipe-cleaners
indoors, but he knew by experience that