THE HALF-CHICK. 29
As he grew older he became more self-willed and disobedient, and his manner to his mother was often very rude and his temper to the other chickens very disagreeable.
One day he had been out for a longer expedition than usual in the fields. On his return he strutted up to his mother with the peculiar little hop and kick which was his way of walking, and cocking his one eye at her in a very bold way he said:
"Mother, I am tired of this life in a dull farm-yard, with nothing but a dreary maize-field to look at. I'm off to Madrid to see the king."
"To Madrid, Medio Pollito!" exclaimed his mother. "Why, you silly chick, it would be a long journey for a grown-up cock, and a poor little thing like you would be tired out before you had gone half the distance. No, no, stay at home with your mother, and some day, when you are bigger, we will go a little journey together."
But Medio Pollito had made up his mind, and he would not listen to his mother's advice nor to the prayers and entreaties of his brothers and sisters.
"What is the use of our all crowding each other up in this poky little place?" he said. "When 1 have a fine court-yard of my own at the king's palace, I shall perhaps ask some of you to come and pay me a short visit."
And scarcely waiting to say good-by to his family, away he stumped down the high-road that led to Madrid.
"Be sure that you are kind and civil to every one you meet," called his mother, running after him; but he was in such a hurry to be off that he did not wait to answer her or even to look back.
A little later in the day, as he was taking a short cut through'a field, he passed a stream. Now, the stream was all choked up and overgrown with weeds and water-plants, so that its waters could not flow freely.
"Oh! Medio Pollito," it cried as the half-chick hopped along its banks, "do come and help me by clearing away these weeds."
"Help you, indeed!" exclaimed Medio Pollito, tossing his head and shaking the few feathers in his tail. "Do you think I have nothing to do but to waste my time on such trifles? Help yourself and don't trouble busy travelers. I am off to Madrid to see the king," and hoppity-kick, hoppity-kick, away stamped Medio Pollito.