An argosy of fables/English fables/The Envious Wren


ON the ground lived a hen.
 In a tree lived a wren,
Who picked up her food here and there;
While biddy had wheat
And all nice things to eat.
Said the wren, "I declare, 'tisn't fair!"

"It is really too bad!"
She exclaimed—and was mad—
"To go out when it's raining this way!
And to earn what you eat,
Doesn't make your food sweet,
In spite of what some folks may say.

"Now there is that hen,"
Said the cross little wren,
"She's fed till she's fat as a drum;
While I strive and sweat
For each bug that I get,
And nobody gives me a crumb.

"I can't see for my life
Why the old farmer's wife
Treats her so much better than me.
Suppose on the ground
I hop carelessly round
For a while and just see what I'll see."

Said this cute little wren,
"I'll make friends with the hen,
And perhaps she will ask me to stay;
And then upon bread
Every day I'd be fed,
And life would be nothing but play."

So down flew the wren,
"Stop to tea," said the hen;
And soon biddy's supper was sent;
But scarce stopping to taste,
The poor bird left in haste
And this was the reason she went:

When the farmer's kind dame
To the poultry-yard came,
She said—and the wren shook with fright—
"Biddy's so fat she'll do
For a pie or a stew,
And I guess I shall kill her to-night."

(Phœbe Cary.)