“WELL my toe is on the rampage again,” announced Grandpa, several evenings after the rescue of the Doctor and the Lady of Fashion. “Whenever that old toe gets to hurtin’, just look out for a change in the weather. It’ll be mighty cold tomorrow or I’m no weather prophet.”
“I hope it gets cold enough to freeze the ice again. That’s what I do,” cried Paddy Pinn, who was fond of skating, and had some new racing skates that he was anxious to try.
“I remember once in forty-nine,” said Grandpa, “when the ice was frozen about six inches deep. I had to—” But he got no further with his story, for the Teenie Weenies started upstairs to bed and the old gentleman soon followed their example.
The next morning the weather was very cold and the Teenie Weenies were quite happy to stay indoors where it was warm and comfortable.
The Chinaman was braver than the rest, for that little chap wrapped himself up good and warm and set out to visit a mouse that lived near the rosebush.
“Hey, there, you Chinaman!” shouted a voice, as the little fellow hurried past a chicken yard.
The Chinaman glanced up at a huge chicken head that smiled down at him through the slats on the fence, and taking off his hat he made a very polite bow.
“Glood mornings,” said the little chap. “It muchee clold mornings.”
“Cold!” exclaimed the old hen, “I should say it was! I feel just like a feathered icicle and I wish I had a pair of nice warm felt boots for my feet—they’re as cold as a doorknob.”
“Allee same me muchee sorry and me will give you me muffler,” said the little fellow, unwinding the tiny scarf from about his neck.
“I’m much obliged, I’m much obliged, but, whistling gizzard, that little muffler of yours wouldn’t keep my little toe nail warm,” laughed the old hen. “However, there is something you can do for me which would help me a great deal.”
“Allee same you tell me and me be muchee glad to help,” cried the Chinaman.
“Well,” said Mother Bunch, for that was the old hen’s name, “I’m as dry as a Saratoga chip. I haven’t had a drink for three days. There’s a pan of water in my coop, but it’s froze. I beg your pardon, I mean frozen. I’ve pecked at the ice with my bill until it’s as sore as an ingrowing pin feather and I haven’t made a dent in it.”
“Allee same me tell Gleneral and he come up klick and chop hole in ice,” shouted the Chinaman.
“That’s the idea! That’s the idea!” exclaimed the old hen. “You see the folks who feed me just throw the corn into the pen and they never look at the pan of water and of course they never suspect that it’s frozen. If you’ll tell the General to come over and cut a hole so I can get a drink you will be doing an old lady a great favor.”
“Me tell’m klick,” cried the Chinaman, and off he ran for the shoe house as fast as he could.
The Chinaman told his story to the General and a few minutes later a number of the little people were on their way to Mrs. Bunch’s coop. The old hen saw the little people coming and she was so excited she sat down and laid an egg right before the Teenie Weenies.
In just a few minutes the little folks set about cutting a hole in the ice, and it was quite a hard task, for the water was frozen to the depth of one Teenie Weenie foot.
“Well, here’s to your health,” said Mother Bunch when the little men had chopped a hole through the ice, and dipping her big yellow beak into the cold water she filled her bill and raising her head she let it trickle down her throat.
The pan which held the old hen’s water had a long handle and the Dunce thought it great fun to crawl up on the handle and slide down to the edge of the pan. He did this several times with great success, but finally failed to catch the edge of the pan and he slid off onto the ice, and dropped kersplash into the cold water.
He was dragged out by the Turk and was sent home in disgrace, to the great amusement of the old hen.
Mrs. Bunch presented the egg she laid to the Teenie Weenies for their kindness, and the little people went home, happy to have such a friendly neighbor.