Translated by Nora K. Hills
r the shabbiest trick. Hens are often as cruel as men, which is saying a great deal.
Poor Yollande, in spite of her size, her solidity, and strength, nearly always emerged half-dressed. Her companions could not stand her dressed like that, the sight of her irritated them. Not content with tearing her clothes they often pecked at the poor creature as well.
Mother Etienne did her best to improve these costumes in every way--but it was as impossible to find perfection as the philosopher's stone.
They hoped at the farm that in time the feathers would grow again. Meanwhile it was hard on the hen.
Nothing of the sort happened; one, two, three months passed and not the least vestige of down appeared on the hen, who had to be protected like a human being from the changes of climate and so forth. Like a well-to-do farmer's wife Yollande had her linen-chest and a complete outfit.
It was, I assure you, my dear children, kept up most carefully. There was always a button to sew on, a buttonhole to remake, o