“Eggs are different!” one old hen explained. “In order to make the eggs hatch properly, we must sit on them three weeks and not let them get cold at any time!”
“And at the end of the three weeks do the eggs sprout?” asked Raggedy Ann.
“You must be thinking of eggplant!” cried one old hen. “These eggs hatch at the end of three weeks—they don’t sprout—and then we have a lovely family of soft downy chickies; little puff balls that we can cuddle under our wings and love dearly!”
“Have you been sitting upon the eggs very long?” Raggedy asked.
“Neither one of us has kept track of the time,” said one hen. “So we do not know! You see, we never leave the nests only just once in a while to get a drink and to eat a little. So we can hardly tell when it is day and when it is night.”
“We were going out to get a drink when you fell in the pen!” said one old hen. “Now we will have to sit upon the eggs and warm them up again!”
The two old hens spread their feathers and nestled down upon the nests.
“When you get them good and warm, I would be glad to sit upon the eggs to keep them warm until you get something to eat and drink!” said Raggedy. So the two old hens walked out of the coop to finish their meal which had been interrupted by Raggedy’s fall and while they were gone, Raggedy Ann sat quietly upon the warm eggs. Suddenly down beneath her she heard something go, “Pick, pick!” “I hope it isn’t a mouse!” Raggedy Ann said to herself, when she felt something move. “I wish the old hens would come back.” But when they came back and saw the puzzled expression on her face, they cried, “What is it?”
Raggedy Ann got to her feet and looked down and there were several little fluffy, cuddly baby chickies, round as little puff-balls.
“Cheep! Cheep! Cheep!” they cried when Raggedy stepped out of the nest.
“Baby Chicks!” Raggedy cried, as she stooped and picked up one of the little puff-balls. “They want to be cuddled!”
The two old hens, their eyes shining with happiness, got upon the nests and spread out their soft warm feathers, “The other eggs will hatch soon!” said they.
So, for several days Raggedy helped the two hens hatch out the rest of the chickies and just as they finished, Marcella came inside looking around.
“How in the world did you get in here, Raggedy Ann?” she cried. “I have been looking all about for you! Did the chickens drag you in here?”
Both old hens down behind the box clucked softly to the chickies beneath them and Marcella overheard them.
She lifted the box away and gave a little squeal of surprise and happiness.
“Oh you dear old Hennypennies!” she cried, lifting both old hens from their nests. “You have hidden your nests away back here and now you have one, two, three, four—twenty chickies!” and as she counted them, Marcella placed them in her apron; then catching up Raggedy Ann, she placed her over the new little chickies.