Sept. 4, 1933.
How Hens Hunt Opossums
To the Editor of the
Jewish Daily Bulletin:
The opossum, a ferocious and ugly creature, which looks like a cross between a kangaroo and a pig, is the bane of the Florida poultry farmer’s life. Its depredations run into millions, and it often destroys the entire population of a chicken-coop in one night. But one farmer has finally succeeded in getting rid of the pest. (His name is Barukh Jonas and he is incidentally the not entirely unknown author of “The Awakening” and of several other books.)
Barukh Jonas has built himself a very substantial little cage about two feet square, open on all sides but protected by a well-fastened double layer of poultry netting. Alongside of this cage he arranges an ordinary spring trip and into the cage he places Gwendoline, his famous educated hen.
When night shades have fallen, along comes Mr. Opossum, and Gwendoline deliberately attracts his attention. “Hey, skunk,” she says, “come over here; I want to talk to you.” But the opossum, who knows traps and who does not like the unusual look of the cage, continues his way. He knows that being called a skunk does not make one a skunk and that hard words break no bones. But Gwendoline calls him again. “Hey, Crazy Adolf, how ist das peautiful Aryan-Cherman kooltoor already yet?” The opossum stops dead in his tracks. What? That insolent hen is mistaking him for Crazy Adolf, the most ridiculous creature on earth? No self-respecting animal can swallow such an insult! He rushes at the educated hen. She simulates terror and retreats to the opposite side of the cage. Around and around chases the infuriated opossum and inevitably gets his foot into the trap.
That is how hens catch opossums in Lee County, Fla. This story is perfectly serious, and the thing works like a charm. Of course, intellectual hens like Gwendoline are very scarce, almost as scarce as intellectual human beings. But even an ordinary hen learns after a little training how to insult an opossum. For full details write to Barukh Jonas, R.F.D. No. 1, Fort Myers, Fla., and incidentally ask him about his “Letter to Gott”, which is said to be the deadliest satire ever written. Both the advice and the letter are free of charge.
Friend of th###
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.