Molly's Easter Hen
by Annie Willis McCullough
When Molly came in from the chicken house, she looked very sad.
"O dear me!" she sighed. "I'm so disappointed!"
"What is it, sunny girl?" asked mother.
"Red Top hasn't laid an egg, and to-morrow is Easter. I shut Red Top in all by herself, so I should know that it was her very own egg, and she hasn't laid any."
"But the other hens have. We shall have plenty of Easter eggs to color," said mother.
"But I was going to take one of Red Top's eggs to Auntie Brooke for Easter," said Molly, dismally.
"Wouldn't any other egg do?" asked mother.
"It wouldn't be half so nice," replied Molly. "Auntie Brooke gave me Red Top, and this is the first Easter since I had her. I told Auntie Brooke I was going to bring her one of Red Top's eggs for Easter."
"You shouldn't count on Easter eggs before they are laid," said her mother. "I am sure Auntie Brooke will understand if you take her another egg. You may color it pink, and I will let you have some gilding, so that you can mark her name on it. It will be a beautiful Easter egg."
Molly tried to smile. All day she kept going out to where Red Top was, to see whether the expected egg had been laid. That, and the work of coloring eggs for the family, kept her busy all the day. The pink eggs were beautifully colored, but she would not gild Auntie Brooke's name on one.
"I have a plan," she said. "I believe I'll have an Easter egg for Auntie Brooke, after all, mother."
On Easter morning Molly ran out into the hen-house before any one else was awake. After breakfast she slipped away; she carried a covered basket and walked very fast. First she went through the green lane that led from their house to the road, and then along the road until she came to Auntie Brooke's. The lane was all trimmed with beautiful spring flowers for Easter, and the trees beside the road were full of birds, all singing Easter songs.
She went through Auntie Brooke's squeaky gate and along the gravel path to the side door. An old lady with a sweet face sat out on the doorstep.
"Auntie Brooke," said Molly, a little out of breath, "I've brought you an Easter egg, only it isn't laid yet. You may keep Red Top until she lays it, and then you can give her back. You'll have to excuse there not being any pink on it and your name in gilt letters, but Red Top didn't lay it in time for that."
"Thank you, dear," said Auntie Brooke, trying not to laugh. "I'm sure I shall like it just as well as if it were pink with gold letters on it."