What The Cat And Hen Did





Four little children were playing in their garden one day. There were

Mollie and Jamie and Betty and Teddy.




'MRS. TOMKINS.'"]



They were so busy making mud-pies that they did not see "Mrs. Tomkins,"

the old cat, when she came and mewed, and mewed, and put up her paw, and

touched Mollie and Jamie and Betty and Teddy--first one and then the

other, as much as to say, "Do come, some of you, and help me! Do come,

please!"



By and by the children's mama came out of the house and saw how queerly

the cat was acting, and said: "Children, Mrs. Tomkins is trying to get

you to go with her and see if her babies are all right."



So the children left their play, and said: "Come, Mrs. Tomkins, we will

go with you now."



The old cat gave a thankful "m-i-e-o-u," and started down the walk

leading to the barn. Every now and then she looked back to see if the

children were really coming. When she got to the stable, she ran and

jumped up on the manger, and looked down into it, and gave a quick,

sharp "m-i-e-o-u," as if to say, "What do you think of that?" And the

children looked in and saw a hen sitting upon the old cat's kittens and

trying to keep them all covered up! When the cat tried to go near them,

the hen would peck at her and drive her away. How the children laughed!

Mollie said: "Did you ever see anything so funny! I am going to ask Mama

to write a funny story about it,--how our old hen 'dopted the kittens."



The hen had been sitting upon some eggs in a nest near where the cat had

set up housekeeping, and when the cat went out, the hen came over and

took the cat's little family under her wings, just as if they had been

so many chick-a-biddies. And when the cat went home again, the hen

wouldn't let her come near the kittens. Mollie took the hen off, and

Mrs. Tomkins was happy.



The next day she came again, looking as though she said, "I am very

sorry to trouble you, but I must." Then she said, "M-i-e-o-u!

m-i-e-o-u!" So the children left their play and went to the stable with

her, and found the hen playing mother to Mrs. Tomkins's kittens again

and trying to make them keep still and stay under her wings. If one of

them poked its head out, she would give it a sharp peck to make it go

back.



The children laughed again, and Mollie said: "Poor Mrs. Tomkins, I would

look for a new house if I were you--you do have such meddlesome

neighbors! Then she took the hen off, and Mrs. Tomkins picked up one of

the kittens.




'WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THAT?'"]



The children's mama was sitting in the library reading when the old cat

came in, with a kitten in her mouth. She put it softly down, went out,

and soon returned with another. She kept on doing this until she had

moved all her family of five kittens. Then she settled herself in a cozy

corner, and looked at the lady, and purred in this way: "If you only

knew how much trouble I have had with that bad old hen, you would let me

and my children stay here."



The lady laughed and said: "I will see what I can do for you."



Just then the children came in and begged to have the kittens stay. So a

new home was made for them in a box in the woodhouse.





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