“Angie, Sam,” Aunt Monica hollered up the stairs. “It’s time to get up. Chores are waiting.”
Angie pulled the quilt up over her head and groaned. Aunt Monica was a slave driver. She and her brother Sam were spending the summer at the farm. They had only been there for three weeks, but it seemed like all they did were chores, chores and more chores.
"Yuck," she thought. "And why do the hens get to eat at 6:00 Am., but I have to wait until the chores are done before I get breakfast? I’m hungry too." She rolled over again, pulling the covers more securely over her head. "At least Sam gets to help milk the cows. I have to feed and water the hens and collect the eggs. That means facing Attila the Hen! If that stupid red hen would just let me check the nest without pecking my hands, it would help."
Today, though, Angie had a plan. That stupid hen was not going to win. She had found a pair of old leather gloves in the barn and was going to use them as protection against the hen. She would prove to Aunt Monica that she was not just a city girl. She threw back the covers, ready to do battle. She pulled on her jeans and t-shirt, brushed her hair into a pony tail, and hurried out of her room. She ran down the stairs and out the back door, ignoring Aunt Monica’s reminder not to let it slam. This was war!
Angie retrieved the gloves from the barn and headed for the hen house. First, she fed and watered the hens, filling the feeders and watering trays. Then she put on the gloves and headed inside to gather the eggs. Most of the chickens were quiet and compliant, but today Attila the hen had turned into a real monster. She didn’t just peck; she flapped her wings and squawked something fierce. It scared Angie so badly that she ran out of the hen house. She stood by the door shaking, close to tears. Then she got angry.
“I will not let that stupid hen win!” she said. As she thought about what she could do, she remembered a funny-looking helmet she had seen hanging in the barn. It had a wire mesh that hung down over the face and shoulders. She remembered seeing something like it in a picture of a beekeeper once. That might help, she thought.
Angie ran back to the barn, found the helmet, and put it on. This will protect my face while I get the eggs. She started for the door, but not before Sam came into the barn, took one look at her and started to laugh. He laughed and laughed. In fact, he laughed so hard he had to sit down on a bale of hay, and still he laughed. That made Angie madder. She walked back and kicked him in the shins for good measure, but that just made him laugh more.
Angie turned in disgust and marched out of the barn. She had a battle to fight and she meant to win!
Back at the hen house, she took a deep breath, and then entered. She walked to the end of the row. Attila was still squawking. The hen started flapping her wings and flopping around as soon as Angie approached the nest. Angie was very frightened, but protected by her new armour, she took courage and went forward.
Somewhere she had heard that if you held a chicken upside-down by its legs it would hang quietly. She took another deep breath and grabbed at the hen’s feet. It took three tries, but finally she succeeded in getting a hold of both feet and pulling the hysterical hen upside down. Instantly the squawking and flapping ceased, but not for long. It took all her strength and both hands to hang on to the squawking hen. Angie was afraid to put her down. Running to the door, Angie flung the chicken across the yard. Attila the hen hit the dirt squawking.
Angie shut the door and went back to the nest. She gathered the eggs, and then went back to the door. Peering out into the yard, she saw the hen. Attila was still making a fuss, but Angie was no longer frightened.
She ran for the gate, laughing in delight, “I did it. I did it! I beat Attila the Hen.”
Angie skipped back to the house, swinging the bucket of eggs as she went.
Aunt Monica met her on the porch and smiled. “Attila the hen,” she asked?
Angie smiled and nodded. She held out the bucket to Aunt Monica. “I won,” she exclaimed! “Let’s have eggs for breakfast.”
“Sure thing,” replied Aunt Monica. She laughed then and so did Angie. The chicken had been conquered and it was time to eat.
Read more articles by Naomi Deutekom or search for articles on the same topic or others.