Karson Liegh: Henri

Posted:  Friday, May 1, 2015 - 5:45pm

This is an excerpt from Henri is a Hen, Cheep Cheep, a children's book by Karson Liegh. Henri, who narrates the story, wants to let children know that chickens are just like us: they have Moms, they enjoy playing with their siblings and they respect their roosters.

Hi. My name is Henri the Hen but
right now I'm only a little chick.
My name's really Henrietta, but
the other chicks call me Henri.
Cheep Cheep

I was born two days ago
out of an egg. I don't remember
anything until I woke up in the
dark, all curled up. I had an
urge to stretch so I pecked and
pecked until my egg broke and my little head popped out. I was
all wet and it was cold out there. But mommy was right beside
me. And pretty soon I was cuddling in Mom's soft warm feathers,
all dry and cozy. Cheep Cheep

Before long before my brothers and sisters woke up inside their
eggs, too. And here we are, mommy and us four chicks. Only one
of us is black. And we have our very own room! Cheep Cheep
We can't go outside yet. We're too little and some big animal
might eat us. But someday soon, my mommy says, when we are big
enough, we can go out the door into the big wide world, where
the other grown chicken spend their days. I can't wait.
Cheep Cheep

At night after a full day, we're so ready to go to bed, snuggled
up in mom's down feathers. She tells us bedtime stories. cluck
cluck Stories about chicken from the farm yard. Brave chicken,
silly chicken and wise chicken. cluck cluck

Here's a story she told us last night: Outside our door, in this
very yard, there is a handsome rooster, and brave beyond all
understanding. While he is brave, he is also kind to his hens.

One day His Majesty was walking along the path leading back to
the chicken homes when he came upon something none of us had
ever seen before. He looked to the left. He looked to the right.
No one was around. But there it was, right in front of him.
It was long and green, looked like a snake, smelled like nothing
he had ever smelled before, and was wavy just like a snake.

He scratched at it, but it didn't move. Could it be dead? he
wondered. He tasted it, but it wasn't food.

Then he crowed. "Cock a doodle dooooo!
Cock a doodle dooooo!!!
Come see. Come see."

As the other hens and roosters gathered round there was much
discussion, clucking and crowing. But nobody had the answer.
"What in the world was this strange thing that had entered our
peaceful farm yard?"

Mommy said the answer finally came from the black and orange
cat. The nice lady has a black and orange cat that likes us.
She hangs out with us chicken all the time.

So His Majesty went to consult with Kitty Kat about the long
green thing. "Is it a danger to my hens?" he asked.
Kitty said: "No, your Majesty, it is no danger. That thing is
called a hose. The hose carries water. It's fun to drink from.
The hose will never hurt you."

So the mystery was solved and that night we slept very soundly.

Mommy says we're lucky cause we get
to run around all our lives and see
many things and taste all kinds of
different food. Mommy has heard
stories from older chicken who are
with us no more that most chicken
don't get to live this way. They
have to live in tiny boxes all their
lives and never get to run or even
have mommies. Can you imagine?
These are what we call Horror Stories.
Adults don't talk about them much, and
we chicks don't like to hear them at
all. They're too scary
and make us have nightmares.

I'd rather dream of the stories I'm going to tell you when I am
big enough to go outside. My mommy says it won't be long now.
Check with me again soon for:
The Best Day Ever OUTSIDE!
In the meantime, Sleep
Be Happy!
Cheep Cheep!!

Karson LieghKarson Liegh lives in the Yucatan State of Quintana Roo, an hour south of CanCun. She spends her time with chickens when she's not swimming in the Caribbean Sea. Her favorite things in life are writing, being in nature, playing with children, and watching chickens be themselves.

We tell stories.
We tell stories to make sense of our lives.
We tell stories to communicate our experience of being alive.
We tell stories in our own distinct voice. Our own unique rhythm and tonality.

Transformations is a weekly story-telling column. The stories are written by community members who are my students. Our stories are about family, love, loss and good times. We hope to make you laugh and cry. Maybe we will convince you to tell your stories.
— Kathrin Seitz, editor, and Cheryl Durbas, co-editor

"Everyone, when they get quiet, when they become desperately honest with themselves, is capable of uttering profound truths. We all derive from the same source. There is no mystery about the origin of things. We are all part of creation, all kings, all poets, all musicians; we have only to open up, only to discover what is already there." — Henry Miller

Kathrin Seitz teaches Method Writing in Rockport, New York City and Florida. She can be reached at Cheryl Durbas is a freelance personal assistant in the Midcoast area. She can be reached at