The Little Black Hen
Said the little red rooster, "Gosh, all hemlock, things are tough!
Seems that worms are getting scarcer and I cannot find enough.
What's become of all those fat ones is a mystery to me.
There were thousands through that rainy spell, but now where can they be?"
The old black hen heard him, didn't grumble or complain.
She had gone through lots of dry spells; she had lived through flood and rain.
So she flew up on the grindstone, and she gave her claws a whet,
As she said, "I've never seen the time when there were no worms to get."
She picked a new and undug spot; the earth was hard and firm.
The little rooster jeered, "New ground. That's no place for a worm!"
The old black hen just spread her feet; she dug both fast and free.
"I must go to the worms," she said, "the worms won't come to me."
The rooster wanly spent his day, through habit, by the ways
Where fat worms had passed in squads, back in the rainy days.
When nightfall found him supperless, he growled in accents rough,
"I'm hungry as a fowl can be -- conditions sure are tough."
He turned then to the old black hen and said, "It's worse with you,
For you're not only hungry, but you must be tired, too.
I rested while I watched for worms so I feel fairly perk,
But how are you? Without worms, too? And after all that work!"
The old black hen hopped to her perch and drooped her eyes to sleep
And murmured, in a drowsy tone, "Young man, hear me and weep.
I'm full of worms and happy, for I've dined both long and well
The worms are there, as always, but I had to dig like hell."
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