She was no longer capable of hiding a vague sense of shame. It had started sixteen months ago when the Ox had come to visit. Sure, there were obvious size differences and his strange snorting always became a source of confusion. Sometimes it became a kind of language. Sometimes it was a series of emotive outbursts. She seemed to understand the Ox after a time, though. So, a romance blossomed. Yes, she loved the Rooster. That had been since before the egg-laying days, but the Ox had a male mystique that drew her to him, forbidden and foreboding.
When the Ox would go out to the field to work with men, she knew he would come back to the pens wild-eyed and exhausted. She often wondered why the henhouse had been set so close to the Oxen pens, but no matter. She found it relatively easy to slip out for her nightly visits. The Rooster slept soundly and only knew the call of the sun, upon its daily arrival. She relished this time. A luscious freedom. Beyond the Ox, beyond the cool evening air. She thought of her feelings, her memories as a kind of guilt at first. Then a kind of obsession.
She approached the Pig, to seek her counsel. The Pig shook her head. “You have big dreams, Hen. That Ox has no good intentions. Rooster is no working farm animal. He tells the time. When he calls, the whole farm starts their day. Ox – he’s a hauler. Half the time you can’t understand all his snorts and snorts.”
“But I love Ox.” She heard herself say it as she thought it for the first time. “Rooster is a fancy barnyard animal, for certain,” Hen said, but for all his strutting around and big talk…” she let her thought die away.
“No matter about love,” Pig interrupted. “You’re a barnyard Hen. You belong to the Rooster and that’s that. Enough of your crazy thoughts about that Ox. He is not going to give you the right kind of life.” Pig paused for just a moment. “And… hey… why are you not setting on those eggs of yours and getting them to hatch?”
“The eggs will be fine,” the Hen said.
“Sure they will Hen. Sure they will.” With that Pig closed her eyes and luxuriated in the many little nipple tuggings of her suckling piglets. “Good-bye Hen.”
1) Do you think that the Hen continues to see Ox? Using only evidence found in the story, explain your answer.
2) Do you agree with Pig’s logic regarding Hen’s relationship with Rooster? Explain your thoughts.
3) Can barnyard animals talk? Explain your answer using only academic sources.