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The Fox and the Geese; and The Wonderful History of Henny-Penny

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There was once a Goose at the point of death,

So she called her three daughters near,

And desired them all, with her latest breath,

Her last dying words to hear.

“There’s a Mr. Fox,” said she, “that I know,

Who lives in a covert hard by;

To our race he has proved a deadly foe,

So beware of his treachery.

“Build houses, ere long, of stone or of bricks,

And get tiles for your roofs, I pray;

For I know, of old, Mr. Reynard’s tricks,

And I fear he may come any day.”

Thus saying, she died, and her daughters fair,—

Gobble, Goosey, and Ganderee,—

Agreed together, that they would beware

Of Mr. Fox, their enemy.

But Gobble, the youngest, I grieve to say,

Soon came to a very bad end,

Because she preferred her own silly way,

And would not to her mother attend.

For she made, with some boards, an open nest,

For a roof took the lid of a box;

Then quietly laid herself down to rest,

And thought she was safe from the Fox.

But Reynard, in taking an evening run,

Soon scented the goose near the pond;

Thought he, “Now I’ll have some supper and fun,

For of both I am really fond.”


Then on to the box he sprang in a trice,

And roused Mrs. Gobble from bed;

She only had time to hiss once or twice,

Ere he snapped off her lily-white head.

Her sisters at home felt anxious and low

When poor Gobble did not appear,

And Goosey, determined her fate to know,

Went and sought all the field far and near.

At last she descried poor Gobble’s head,

And some feathers, not far apart;

So she told Ganderee she had found her dead,

And they both felt quite sad at heart.

Now Goosey was pretty, but liked her own way,

Like Gobble, and some other birds.

“’Tis no matter,” said she, “if I only obey

A part of my mother’s last words.”


So her house she soon built of nice red brick,

But she only thatched it with straw;

And she thought that, however the Fox might kick,

He could not get in e’en a paw.

So she went to sleep, and at dead of night

She heard at the door a low scratch;

And presently Reynard, with all his might,

Attempted to jump on the thatch.

But he tumbled back, and against the wall

Grazed his nose in a fearful way;

Then, almost mad with the pain of his fall,

He barked, and ran slowly away.

So Goosey laughed, and felt quite o’erjoyed

To have thus escaped from all harm;

But had she known how the Fox was employed,

She would have felt dreadful alarm;

For Gobble had been his last dainty meat,—

So hungry he really did feel,—

And resolved in his mind to accomplish this feat,

And have the young goose for a meal.

So he slyly lighted a bundle of straws,

And made no more noise than a mouse,

Then lifted himself up on his hind paws,

And quickly set fire to the house.

’T was soon in a blaze, and Goosey awoke,

With fright almost ready to die,

And, nearly smothered with heat and with smoke,

Up the chimney was forced to fly.

The Fox was rejoiced to witness her flight,

And, heedless of all her sad groans,

He chased her until he saw her alight,

Then eat her up all but her bones....