There was once a big, white hen that had twelve little chickens. They were very small, and the old hen took good care of them. She found food for them in the daytime, and at night kept them under her wings.
One day, this old hen took her chickens down to a small brook. She thought the air from the water would do them good. When they got to the brook, they walked on the bank a little while. It was very pretty on the other side of the brook, and the old hen thought she would take her children over there.
There was a large stone in the brook: she thought it would be easy for them to jump to that stone, and from it to the other side.
So she jumped to the stone, and told the children to come after her. For the first time, she found that they would not obey her.
She flapped her wings, and cried, “Come here, all of you! Jump upon this stone, as I did. We can then jump to the other side. Come now!”
“O mother! we can’t, we can’t, we can’t!” said all the little chickens.
“Yes you can, if you try,” said the old hen. “Just flap your wings, as I did, and you can jump over.”
“I am flapping my wings,” said Chippy, who stood by himself; “but I can’t jump any better than I could before.”