The Lost Necklace
Once a crow bought a fine necklace from a merchant. He was very proud of his purchase, which he immediately put around his neck so that everybody could see it.
Then he flew away and came to a beautiful little garden, where he met his old friend the hen strutting about, with her chicks following her. The hen said to him, “Oh, what a fine necklace you have! May I borrow it? I will return it to you to-morrow without fail.”
Now, the crow liked the hen, so he willingly lent her the necklace for a day. The next morning, when the crow returned for his property, he found the hen and her chicks scratching the ground near an old wall. “Where is my necklace?” said the crow.
“It is lost,” said the hen. “My chicks took it yesterday while I was asleep, and now they do not remember where they put it. We have been looking for it all day, and yet we have not been able to find it.”
“You must pay for it at once,” said the crow, “or else I shall go to the king and tell him that you stole my necklace.”
The hen was frightened at this reply, and she began to wonder how she could raise the necessary money.
The crow, who was on his way to a fiesta, at last said impatiently, “I will take one of your chicks every day in payment of what you owe me. As soon as you find the necklace, give it to me, and then I will stop eating your chicks.”
The hen had to be satisfied with this arrangement, for she feared that the crow would go to the king if she refused.
Unto this day, then, you can find hens and chicks together looking for the lost necklace by scratching the ground, and the crows are still exacting payment for the lost jewel by eating chicks. It is said that the hens and chickens will never cease scratching the ground until the lost necklace is found.
Next: The Story of our Fingers