Log Cabin Chronicles

The egg that went to Tanglewood


We purchased sixty chicks early one spring and when they grew into pullets, we identified those that were laying eggs by attaching metal leg bands to their legs. Several days later, I noticed one hen sitting on the same nest each time I entered the hen house.

Curious, I lifted her out. She couldn't stand up -- the leg band had injured her leg and it was badly swollen and infected.

The hen did not resist our efforts to care for her. We placed her in a hay-filled box, near the wood stove, spread aloe vera on her leg, and gave her a solution of aspirin water by dropper each hour.

During her recovery Jenny became very attached to us. She followed us around the kitchen and waited for her favorite snacks. In two weeks, she had recovered completely and I took her back to the hen house.

I was eager to see how Jenny had adjusted her first day back with the other hens but I was not prepared for the ghastly sight that greeted me. The other hens had attacked the intruder they no longer recognized as one of their own. They had left her featherless and nearly dead.

This time, Jenny's recovery required weeks of care. By the time she regained her strength, cold winter winds were blowing. As she could not be returned to the pecking order of the hen house, we gave her an insulated box on a closed porch to sleep in, and carried her to the barn each morning. Each day, she would leave a present of a beautiful brown egg in her box.

Winter passed and spring came around. The hens were allowed out to range the newly sprouted grass and this time Jenny was able to join in and return to the hen house nightly, unmolested.

Summer passed and as our anniversary approached, my husband and I made plans to attend a concert at Tanglewood. It was a rush to get home from work, do chores, get dressed, and make the long drive to Tanglewood to arrive at the concert on time. As we rushed to the car, I grabbed my raincoat from the closet. We arrived at Tanglewood just as the lights were dimming.

As I laid my coat across my seat, I felt something in the pocket. What? An egg. It was an egg Jenny had laid in June, some three months earlier.

Aware of its age and odorous potential, I very carefully sat it under my chair, planning to retrieve it at the concert's end.

The lights came on for intermission, conversations rose all around. Suddenly, the people directly behind us were completely silent. Then, someone said, "Who would bring an egg to a concert?"

The lights dimmed, the concert resumed, and then was finished. I reached under the chair to carefully retrieve the egg. It was gone. Someone had stolen it.

Jenny lived a long and happy life. She was very attached to us and continued to come to the kitchen door and call out for snacks. She took trips to the local nursing home and wowed everyone with her many tricks. Picnics were her favorite outing because of the abundance of food.

I told Jenny the story of her egg attending the concert at Tanglewood. She wasn't at all surprised.

Fran Errion writes in Buskirk, New York.

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Copyright © 2001 Frances Errion/Log Cabin Chronicles/09.01