"CHOW-CHOW."

by Bessie Pedder

"Chow-Chow" was not a pickle, but a chicken, and a real funny one, too.

I made friends with him when he was no bigger than a robin. He was an only child; of course his mother had enough to do to pet and fuss over him. But he would leave her any time when we called "Chow-Chow." We gave him this funny name because he was a great talker. All he said was "C-h-o-w-C-h-o-w," and then "Chow-Chow-Chow-Chow" as fast as he could talk.

His mother was a beautiful buff Shanghai, but he was a long-legged Brahma, dressed in a speckled black and gray suit. As the days got chilly, in the fall, it seemed as if he suffered dreadfully from cold feet. He was always cuddling down in the warm feathers on his mother's back, even when he was a pretty big fellow.

One day I said, "Come, 'Chow-Chow,' don't trouble your mother. I'll give you a good warming by the kitchen fire." I carried him into the kitchen, opened the oven door, and gave his cold feet a good toasting. Oh, how he enjoyed it! He opened and shut his claws as he lay on my lap, and chow-chowed, and pecked at the buttons of my dress.

The next day it was pretty cold, and the first thing I heard when I went into the kitchen was a tapping at the window-pane. There was "Chow-Chow" on the window-sill, pecking at the glass, and holding up one foot, and then the other. He was talking, or rather scolding, at the top of his voice.

I let him in. He went straight to the stove, and waited for me to take him in my arms and warm his feet. He seemed to think it was ever so much nicer than his mother's feathers.

One cold morning I was busy when he came in. The stove was very hot, and "Chow-Chow"—silly bird!—couldn't wait for me to attend to him. He flew up on the top of the stove. Then he gave a scream, and landed on the table. That was the first and last time he tried to warm his feet without my help.

My sister always said that "Chow-Chow" was a hen. I felt sure he was a rooster. She said, "The first we know 'Chow-Chow' will lay an egg." I said, "The first we know 'Chow-Chow' will crow."

After a while I saw some bright red whiskers under his chin. Then such a pretty coral comb. Still he only talked "Chow-Chow-Chow."

But one morning he came into the kitchen in a great hurry. He jumped upon the table, flapped his wings, and stretched his long neck, opened his mouth, and, oh! such a queer noise! It was a squeak and a roar. I ran upstairs to my sister. "It is a rooster. Didn't you hear 'Chow-Chow' crow?"—"Do you call that a crow? Why, I heard an awful noise, and wondered what it was."

But our chicken grew up one of the handsomest birds I ever saw. And in a few weeks not a rooster in the neighborhood had such a musical, splendid crow as our "Chow-Chow."