The Hen and The Crab – A Conisborough Fable in Verse

April 1905

Mexborough and Swinton Times April 8, 1905

The Hen and The Crab
A Conisborough Fable in Verse

The prudent man will ne’er provoke
A fellow creature with a joke
For, be he strong or be he weak,
On whom we choose to play his freak
Be sure whatever power one
My craft will make a wish taunts
You have my moral: if I’m able,
I’ll fitted nicely with a fable

A hen one morning chanced to spy
A large crab sidling slowly by
(An Angler, was early out,
Had dropped the creature thereabout);
Wide-eyed upon the crab she gazed,
At such a monster quite amazed,
‘Twas, she thought, and on a fair
Which had not head, not hide nor hair,
and which, if it were left alone,
Might well be taken for a stone.

First thought by flight her life to save,
For hens, remember, are not brave,
But when, with all its strengths, she saw
It scarce could move a simple claw,
All sideways scrambling, and beset
With grass and bushes like a net,
She grew quite bold, came rather near,
Turned playful and forgot her fear

Quoth chucky, “Was there in nature
So useless and so poor a creature?
As I’m alive, it does not know
Which way it wants or ought to go
See how it stumbles? I’ll be bound
To run a mile of uphill ground
Before it stirs a dozen feet
From this same little bit of peat.”

Chucky, with this, began to frisk
And, thinking there was little risk,
Clapped wide her claw upon his back,
And turn him over in a crack.
He hopeless sprawled; her wanton sport
Grew twice as gay, yet proved but short,
For a she put her claw, in play,
Just where the creatures nippers lay

He quietly caught and held her time,
So she could neither flee nor fight
In vain to struggle, like a burr
The crabs tough nippers clung to her like
And held her till a sportsman’s dog
Came bounding over field and bog
And crab and dog, in fatal strife,
Soon put an end to Chucky’s life

2/4/05 Conisborough Castle