“What the Old Hen Said”


Singer hears an old hen, looking over her brood of chicks, exclaim that she loves them just as a cat loves its kittens, or a ewe its lamb. She calls them to her; they nestle in their "feather bed"

Supplemental text

What the Old Hen Said
  Partial text(s)

          *** A ***

From Helen Hartness Flanders & George Brown, Vermont Folk-Songs
& Ballads, pp. 185-186. Collected from Mrs. George Tatro,
Springfield, Vermont, November 12, 1930.

I went to the barn
To see the old hen
Go cluckity scratch
With her chickens ten.

She clucked and she scratched
And she brustled away
Now what do you think
That I heard the hen say?

(7 additional stanzas)


A very small narrative, but a narrative nonetheless. - PJS


  • Margaret MacArthur, "What the Old Hen Said" (on MMacArthur01)


  1. Flanders/Brown, pp. 185-186, "What the Old Hen Said" (1 text)
  2. ST RcWTOHS (Partial)
  3. Roud #5451
  4. BI, RcWTOHS


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1930 (Flanders/Brown)
Found in: US(NE)