"Nothing, as I know of," said Dame Scratchard, "since you didn't come to me before you sat. I could have told you all about it. Maybe it won't kill 'em, but they'll always be deformed."
And so the gossips departed, leaving a sting under the pin-feathers of the poor little hen mamma, who began to see that her darlings had curious little spoon-bills, different from her own, and to worry and fret about it.
"My dear," she said to her spouse, "do get Dr. Peppercorn to come in and look at their bills, and see if anything can be done."
Dr. Peppercorn came in, and put on a monstrous pair of spectacles, and said, "Hum! ha! extraordinary case; very singular."
"Did you ever see anything like it, doctor?" said both parents in a breath.
"I've read of such cases. It's a calcareous enlargement of the vascular bony tissue, threatening ossification," said the doctor.
"Oh, dreadful! Can it be possible?" shrieked both parents. "Can anything be done?"
"Well, I should recommend a daily lotion made of mosquitoes' horns and bicarbonate of frogs' toes, together with a powder, to be taken morning and night, of muriate of fleas. One thing you must be careful about: they must never wet their feet, nor drink any water."