November 1460 Stealthy Waters
Because of the flood, the chickens had started roosting in the rafters above the Haywards' heads.
cottage still standing? Albin wondered. Through
sprinkling rain, Albin and Garvin, his father, walked back to their cottage.
Garvin asked, "What can we do for the chickens?"
Albin rubbed his earlobe. "Can they care for themselves?" Do chickens have a patron saint? "'Tis sad they will not come if we call them."
They found the cottage standing in nearly a foot of water. The wattle showed in more places than before. They stepped over the threshold. Albin looked up into the dimness. He saw movement. As his eyes adjusted he counted. "I see the rooster and six hens," he reported.
His father frowned. "We cannot go up after them. What can we do?"
Albin rubbed his earlobe vigorously. "The cottage will come down soon. We need to make a hole in the roof so they can escape."
"We need a billhook."
Garvin frowned. "My Uncle Sedgley has one from the war in France."
The old man couldn't hear them very well. Albin picked up the rusty billhook and tried to demonstrate the plan.
Uncle Sedgley suddenly had energy enough to grab the billhook. "You could break my roof!"
Albin nodded and bellowed, "We need to break our roof." Then he grabbed the weapon and whisked out the door with it.
The old man tottered after them, shouting something.
Albin stabbed at the roof. He managed to frighten the chickens. By breaking a stick, he pulled down a wad of thatch.
With a frightened cackle, one hen swooped down and out the door. I wish they would all do that.
"Here," Garvin took the billhook and pulled down a little more thatch.
waded in and shook his head. "This cottage is about to come
After Albin and Garvin each took another turn, the hole was bigger than any of the chickens. "I think we should leave them now to get used to their new door," Garvin said.
Garvin returned the billhook. "Thank you, Uncle Sedgley." Using it for a walking stick, the old man started shuffling home, muttering.
Albin looked back at the cottage roof and saw the rooster standing on it. The cottage shuddered. I hope the chickens find a roost that will not fall.