A hen trod on a duck's foot. She did not mean to do it, and it did not hurt the duck much; but the duck said, "I'll pay you for that!" So the duck flew at the old hen, but as she did so her wing struck an old goose, who stood close by.
"I'll pay you for that!" cried the goose, and she flew at the duck; but as she did so her foot tore the fur of a cat who was just then in the yard.
"I'll pay you for that!" cried the cat, and she started for the goose; but as she did so her claw caught in the wool of a sheep.
"I'll pay you for that!" cried the sheep, and she ran at the cat; but as she did so her foot hit the foot of a dog who lay in the sun.
"I'll pay you for that!" cried he, and jumped at the sheep; but as he did so his leg struck an old cow who stood by the gate.
"I'll pay you for that!" cried she, and she ran at the dog; but as she did so her horn grazed the skin of a horse who stood by a tree.
"I'll pay you for that!" cried he, and he rushed at the cow.
What a noise there was! The horse flew at the cow, and the cow at the dog, and the dog at the sheep, and the sheep at the cat, and the cat at the goose, and the goose at the duck, and the duck at the hen. What a fuss there was!—and all because the hen accidentally stepped on the duck's toes.
"Hi! Hi! What's all this?" cried the man who had care of them. "You may stay here," he said to the hen; but he drove the duck to the pond, the goose to the field, the cat to the barn, the sheep to her fold, the dog to the house, the cow to her yard, and the horse to his stall. And so all their good times were over because the duck would not overlook a little hurt which was not intended.
"A little explained,
A little endured,
A little forgiven,
The quarrel is cured."
Signs of the Times, September 23, 1903