A Spanish hen, in Mrs F—’s poultry-yard, was sitting on her nest in the hatching-house, which had a small window, through which a person might look to see that all was right. As the hens were usually fed upon their nests, the ground was strewed with corn, which tempted the rats and mice. The hens used frequently to punish the mice by a sharp tap on the head with their beak, which laid them to rest for ever.

One day Mrs F— was looking through the window, when she saw a middle-sized rat peering forth from its hole. The rat scrambled into the upper range of boxes, where sat the Spanish hen, and then remained awhile still as a mouse. The hen evidently saw him, but she sat close, her head drawn back and kept low on the shoulder, her eyes nearly closed. She clearly feigned to be asleep. The rat, deceived, advanced a few steps, and then sat on his haunches, looking and listening with all his might. Again he moved, again paused, then sprang into one corner of the nest, grappling an egg with his fore-paws at the same instant. The hen had never stirred all the time; but now, suddenly throwing forward her head, she seized her foe by the nape of the neck; then, without withdrawing her bill, she pressed down his head repeatedly with all her force. She then gave an extra peck or two, half rose, settled her eggs beneath her again, and seemed happy; and before her lay a half-grown rat, quite dead.

This was, indeed, calm courage. Imitate, if you can, this brave hen. Endeavour to be cool and collected when danger approaches.