The Troubles of Biddy

General Information

Dear readers,

The Troubles of Biddy by Isabel Byrum with illustrator Margaret Evans Price was published in 1917.

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K. C. Lee
Story Collector
November 25, 2011

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Transcriber's Note
Illustration captions in {brackets} have been added by the transcriber for reader convenience.

Oh Dear

"Oh dear," sighed old Biddy, just under her breath,
"I really am troubled and worried to death!
For months I have thought of a family, dear,
To gladden my heart, and to live with me here.

"But daily I find that my plans are upset,
And all I can do is to sit here and fret--
I haven't a sign of an egg in my nest,
Though some I have laid are as good as the best.

"I scolded last night when my mistress came near,
But though she was bitten, she seemed not to fear;
She only said, 'Biddy, what are you about?'
And then through the doorway she simply passed out.

I Don't Understand It

"I don't understand it; I cannot see why;
For surely to be a good mother I'd try;
Although I would see that they did as I said!"
And Biddy, in sorrow and grief hung her head.

She Was Ready To Part

So deep was the longing of poor Biddy's heart,
She felt that with life she was ready to part;
But glancing about in her trouble and pain
She saw that her mistress was coming again;

Shining Eggs

And noting the basket she held in her hand
Old Biddy thought quickly "she can't understand,"
And "what is she doing?" exclaimed in surprise;
For out of the nest Biddy felt herself rise.

As Biddy stood resting her poor weary legs,
She saw that the basket contained shining eggs;
And mistress with care placed them all in the nest
For Biddy to snuggle beneath her warm breast.

Now Biddy was happy; her burden was gone,
Her troubles had vanished, she felt she had none:
And, planning away in her little straw bed,
No thoughts of complaining came into her head.

She Looked From The Window

She looked from the window each morning at dawn,
And pictures of rapture were constantly drawn,
For, out on the lawn near a little old shed,
Were dishes and troughs where the chickens were fed.

And Biddy thought wisely, "These things I shall use;
The largest and neatest are what I shall choose."
But never a thought did this wise mother take
Of danger, or trouble, in St. Mary's lake.

How happy she was when the first sounds were heard,
And the bright downy heads her soft feathers stirred!
"But what is the matter with each little nose?"
She said in amazement, "And what ails their toes?"

They Are Not Like Chickens

"They are not like chickens at all, I am sure!
I wonder whatever such strange things will cure?"
And Biddy once more was in trouble most deep;
For none of her children could really say peep.

My Babes For A Walk

"I think that my babes for a walk ought to go;"
One morning said Biddy, "I'll lead them just so;
I'll watch every minute lest danger arise:
For they'll not be safe when from under my eyes."

Every Downy Ball

At the word every downy ball hustled about,
And ere Biddy knew it, they all had jumped out
Of the nest, and were darting about in the sun,
For bugs, and for grass blades, and simply for fun.

Biddy watched for a time and then softly said,
"I ought to be dusting my feathers and head;"
So off to the roadside she hastily went,
And there in the soft sand, a few moments spent.

Biddy's Heart Quiver

What was it made Biddy's heart quiver and leap?
It wasn't the sound of a young chicken's peep--
But the splashing of water and flutt'ring of wings--
And leaving the road side she screamed, "Of all things!"

Her babies were all in the watering trough,
Regardless of sickness, disease, and of cough.
"Oh dear," cried poor Biddy, "What now shall I do?
My children will drown and before my eyes too!"

And Mistress Cried

And mistress cried, "Biddy, now please don't you fear,
They simply love water, and oh! aren't they dear?
I'll keep them all safe, so Biddy go 'way!
And let your poor children have freedom to play."

In The Trough And The Puddles

Each day in the trough and the puddles they played
And off where the grass was the deepest they stayed
While Biddy would search for them, clucking for hours
Over the barnyard and in 'mong the flowers.

The little log barn was a refuge at night
Where often poor Biddy for courage would fight;
And there, with her feathers above her young brood,
She tried to instruct them in ways to be good.

Apples Were Juicy

Where apples were juicy and mellow, one day,
These ten naughty children were gathered to play,
When suddenly one of them, leading the band,
Said, "Come, let us travel," and there a trip planned.

So off they all went toward the shed and the pump,
Turning out now and then for a log or a stump,
And down the steep hill where the clover bloomed bright
The little band wandered in perfect delight.

The moment that Biddy discovered the plot
She rushed in confusion and soon reached the spot;
"Oh children, be careful!" she screamed in alarm;
"In the lake I'm sure you will meet with some harm!"

But to cry, and protest, and urge them to come
Seemed all of no use, for they would not go home.
And Biddy exclaimed to herself in disgust,
"To stand this I cannot, and leave them I must!"

The evening shades gathered that night in the sky;
The wind sung most softly a sweet lula-by;
But Biddy had left her dear children alone:
She found they were ducklings, and such could not own.

The End