THE little hen had learned to wait, but the little rooster had not. Once they were walking together, and they came to a garden in which was a bed of unripe strawberries. The hen said, "Let us wait until the berries are ripe, and then we will come back and get some of them." The rooster, however, would not wait, and ate green berries until he got a bad pain in his stomach. He ran home as fast as he could, and the little hen made him a plaster and gave him tea, else the poor rooster would certainly have died.
Another time, on a hot summer day, the little hen and rooster went together to the fields, and they were so warm that the perspiration stood out in drops all over them. They came to a clear, running brook, the water of which looked good to drink. The rooster wanted to drink at once, but the hen said, "My dear rooster, don't drink yet. Wait until you are coo. I will wait, too." But the rooster was impatient, and drank at once as much as he wished.
Before he could get home, he was taken suddenly ill and had to lie down in the field. The hen ran home and brought help. The doctor gave him bad medicine, and he had to lie in bed a long time but a last he got well again. The hen thought that now at least the little rooster had learned to wait. But when winter came, and the water began to freeze, the rooster wanted to go sliding on the ice before it was hard. Then the hen said, "I beg you, my dear rooster, wait a few days, and we'll go together."
But the rooster would not wait. He ran out on the thin ice—it cracked—it broke—he fell through into the water and was drowned! The poor hen cried bitterly and said: "If my poor rooster had only learned to wait, he would not have drowned."
Learn to Wait
A Fictional Short Story by
Agnes Taylor Ketchum & Ida M. Jorgensen