Dangerous Walk to the Outhouse

An angry hen follows a girl to the outhouse and she tries to defend herself.

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The old outhouse is quite vivid in my memory, especially the cold winters, or during an electrical storm. One outstanding incident that is told often in our family doesn't pertain to either of these, however.

We lived on a farm in northeastern Kansas. I had three older sisters, so when I needed to go out back there was always someone to go with me, because we had an old hen that would attack me. Even after her chicks were grown she would flogg and peck me.

One fall after my sisters started to school, I asked my mother to accompany me, but she was busy canning and couldn't leave it. She told me to pick up a stick and hit her if she started after me. I went out the door very quietly, but there was no stick in sight. When I was about halfway to my destination, I heard it coming. I was by the woodpile so I picked up a stick of cookstove wood and swung for her head. She staggered a ways then dropped. I was afraid, for it wasn't the hen but the big Rhode Island rooster. I didn't see how I could hide anything that big. I then remembered where I had started to go. I drug him in and managed to drop him in a hole. I didn't say a word to mother about it.

It wasn't long until father came home for lunch. As soon as he got in the door he asked what was wrong with the rooster, that he was making an awful fuss about something. They decided they had best go check. I decided right quick that I had best tell them what I knew. It turned out what I thought was a dead rooster was only stunned, and when he came to he was a very unhappy rooster. Father opened the service door on the back of the outhouse and set it free.

My parents didn't waste any time about substituting the stick of stovewood with a lighter weight stick. They didn't want me to knock out anymore of their chickens.

Vera Howard 
Grants, New Mexico


Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.