Recreate a single day

As a response to today’s assignment I would like to tell you a story from our national fairytale author Hans Christian Andersen. The story is called “It’s a true story” and takes place during 24 hours in different poultry runs in a village.

Vilhelm Pedersen's illustration


At the village, where the incident did not happen, some hen said to each other :

A terrible thing has happened I dare not go to sleep.

The story starts in the far end of the village in the evening. One very respectable hen loses a feather as she trims her self as all hen do before going to sleep on the perch. She said:

There it went. The more I pick my self the lovelier I get!

She was lighthearted and always happy and then she went to sleep. It was very dark and the hen next to her heard some of what was said :

I won’t mention who said this but there is a hen who will trim herself to look good! If I was a cock I would despise her.

Above them sat the owl with her family. They have sharp hearing and they heard every word and were rolling with their eyes.

Don’t listen, but you did hear what was just said. I heard it with my ears and much is heard before the ears are falling off. This hen is picking off all her feathers while the cock is looking!

“Prenez garde aux enfants!”  This is not for the children the father-owl said.

The mother-owl flew out to tell her neighbor owl. The two owls howled the story right at a pigeon loft.

A hen has plucked out all her feathers because of a cock. She will die from cold if she has not already died.

Where where asked the pigeons?

In the neighbor’s yard and some are saying there are two hen who wanted to look different from the others to get attention. It’s very dangerous and you can be seriously ill and now they have both died.

A little later the cock crowed and ordered every body up:

Three hen have died of unhappy love affair. They have plucked out all their feathers. It’s a horrible story I won’t keep it so let it pass on.

The story went further on in the village :

 Five hen plucked out all their feathers to show who was the leanest. All this because of unhappy love to the cock and then they hacked each other to death. What a shame on the family and the owner.

The hen who had lost a little feather didn’t recognize the story and said:

I despise these hen and there are even more of those. This kind of information must be spread and I will do my part to send the story to the news papers.

It was indeed printed in the news papers and it’s really true:

“A little feather can become five hen”


This is my attempt of a translation from the Danish original H.C. Andersen story. He lived from 1805-1875.

The story is for children, but it’s easy to see that he wrote for adults too.

Painting by C.A. Jensen


The feature painting is painted by C.A. Jensen and can be seen at Hans Christian Andersen’s house in Odense Denmark

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