165. Hatchling


Solo mother, Bettina, was expecting her second child, but she was having a few complications. Four-year old Nancy was therefore sent to stay with Uncle Selwyn and his partner, Kenneth. Nancy loved staying with Uncle Selwyn. He had a big sprawling untidy garden where you could play and find lots of things. Uncle Kenneth was fun too. And they had a pet bantam hen (called “Our Lady of Mount Carmel”). The bantam was Nancy’s favourite thing in the whole world.

Nancy would ride around on a tricycle all day, with Carmel perched on the handle bars. The two were inseparable. Either Nancy thought she was a little chicken, or Carmel thought she was a little girl.

Then one day, Carmel went missing. Nancy called and called and looked and looked. Carmel had gone. Nancy was sad.

Three weeks later, at precisely the same time as Nancy’s mother, Bettina, arrived and presented Nancy with “your new baby brother”, Carmel came scratching out of the garden foliage with five baby chicks. Five!

“Here’s Zanzibar, your new baby brother,” said Bettina.

Five! Five! Carmel’s got five babies!

“Your new baby brother,” repeated Bettina.

Five! Imagine that!

Nancy was over the moon!

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