Presentation of this planet and its moons, including ring and creatures

- Chapter 22 -
The domestic hen. The golden sphere. The giant goose. The nature and benefits of these domesticated birds.

s on earth, the hen holds the most favorable role among the domesticated fowl on Saturn. However, the Saturnian hen looks entirely different than an earth hen. On earth, you will find various kinds and species of this fowl in the different countries or regions of the world; this is also the case on Saturn. But there is a bird which is of the same kind wherever you are and which is also known every-where as the hen.
What does this hen look like? It is at least a hundred times larger than a hen on earth. All the hens have the same color. The wings are bright blue, while the back is completely white, changing over to bright red at the tail; the abdominal area has the color of mother-of-pearl, the feet are light red, and the neck is light green from the head right to the area of the feet, which are very close to the head, so that the larger part of the body extends behind the feet.
What does this hen look like regarding its shape? Here we experience some difficulty in giving you the proper picture, since on the entire surface of the earth there does not exist one bird with which you could compare this hen. Therefore we have no choice but to reach for the atypical. Should that be familiar to you, then you will have no difficulty imagining the entire bird.
The head of the hen is very large, larger in proportion to the body than the head of a large night owl to its body. On both sides of the head are two white ears, shaped like the ears of an elephant, only they do not hang down. In front of these ears there are two proportionately large, sharp eyes, which are separated by a dark green-feathered comb. A little below the eyes is a strong, somewhat blunt gray beak upon which, between the two nostrils, a kind of blood red trunk hangs down, just as is the case with the Indian hens, but this bird keeps its trunk more under a kind of self-willed control. This head is connected to its body by a fairly long but comparatively thick neck.
Without the wings and feet, the body has a completely elliptical shape. The wings are proportionately short, and instead of pinion feathers there are only long quills covered with down. However, the part of the wing which is turned towards the head, or in other words the upper edge of the wing, is covered throughout with these kinds of feathers, which are the same as those of the ostrich on earth.
As a result of the shortness of the structure of the wings, these birds are not very proficient when it comes to flying. On account of their very long, firm legs, they have the ability to run quickly, and it takes some effort by the Saturnites to capture such a bird. Therefore, if a person wishes to capture a hen, he employs at all times his firm willpower. This willpower will be discussed more in detail at the appropriate time. The tail of this bird is like a wheel, but not in the manner of the Indian chicken, but like the peacocks, though this tail is proportionately larger and more compact.
You will have a fairly good idea of the appearance of this bird if you arrange all the information which has been given in the proper sequence. The only thing left to do is to add to the colors of the feathers a metallic luster, and this will give you a proper picture of this bird.
The male differs from the female only in size and often through its annoying-sounding singing, whereas the hen only makes very short broken-off sounds, which are not very pleasant to listen to. The Saturnites quote the following proverb when they hear someone who cannot sing: "Stop singing, you have a voice worse than a hen!"
What benefit do the Saturnites derive from this animal? Much the same as the people on earth do from their chickens. These hens lay many very large eggs. The Saturnites drink the contents raw and right away, because that is the way they taste best. The substance which is in these eggs tastes so sweet, similar to good cow's milk on earth, and much better than the milk of the large domesticated cows on Saturn. The shell of this egg is so firm that the Saturnites cut off the smaller end of the egg completely straight. This serves the Saturnites as a drinking utensil, but only for their exquisite juices, of which they say that they are only drunk drop by drop, even though this eggshell, when empty, can easily accommodate 5 pails of liquid.
The Saturnites build a living hen house for this domesticated fowl; that is they plant the broad tree, also known as the wall tree, which has the shape of an oval and usually covers an area of approximately ½ square geographic miles. In this fairly large hen house all kinds of grasses and plants are grown and, at times, a few of the well-known rain trees are also planted. The wealthy Saturnites keep a few thousand of these fowl in such a hen house, as they represent a large amount of wealth to the owner. These birds are compatible only with each other and do not tolerate any other animals in their vicinity; that is why these hen houses are built only for this species of fowl and far enough away from the main dwellings. You can understand why this done if you remember the unpleasant singing of this bird.
Besides this bird, there are a number of species which also belong to the category of house fowl; which are not as beneficial as these hens. The meat is eaten, and the feathers are used for beds for the same purpose as on earth. Little is used from the house fowl, because they are mainly for amusement and beautification. Many wealthy inhabitants of Saturn have many different species of tame birds next to their dwellings, whereas others only keep the hens. As far as the remainder of the tame birds are concerned, we will only touch on a few in passing.
One of these birds is the "golden sphere." The people like to keep this bird because of the great luster of its feathers, because it is the main attraction or splendor of all their fowl. This bird has the appearance of a ball, which has a diameter of at least 72 feet. Imagine under this ball two strong pillar-like legs with toes that extend in a radial manner. This actually describes the entire shape of this bird; it should be understood that this bird assumes this shape when the wings are folded.
The golden sphere has virtually no head; on the front part it has a wide but very short dark red beak which is barely 15 inches long and 120 inches wide. Above the beak there are two oval eyes, the length of which are over 6 feet and the width 4 ½ feet. The color of the plumage is completely golden yellow; the feet begin with a greenish color then fade and turn eventually into a reddish color. The entire plumage of the body as well as that of the wings has the same length and is completely flat, without the soft secondary down, and has the luster of a finely polished gold surface. The Saturnites can hardly look at these birds during the day because they have the appearance of a walking gold-plated steeple ball.
When this bird dies, nothing but the skin is used. The Saturnites are very proficient in skinning this animal. On festive occasions the skins and feathers serve the ladies as shoulder capes; it looks very good and rich over the shoulder and the full, round arms of these ladies. The eggs of these birds are usually kept for breeding, but usually of twenty eggs there is hardly one which bears a living fruit.
These are the most important facts about this gorgeous bird. There is also another which is found quite frequently on Saturn. This bird's body shape is like that of a giant goose. However, that is not its most interesting feature; that distinction belongs to its unusually long neck, which, measured from the body, often has a length of 180 to 240 feet. The color of the body is bluishgray and the feet are jet black, which is very rare on this planet. The color of the neck is vermilion, but not lusterless, instead it has a very strong metallic luster. The head resembles the head of a goose on earth, but of course in proportion to the rest of the body. This bird body is approximately three times the size of an elephant on earth. The tail does not resemble the tail of a bird; instead, a kind of horsetail dangles at the back part, and its hair reaches a length of 30 feet. As far as the legs are concerned, their length is in proportion to the rest of the body, but they are somewhat on the long side and are as strong as a tree.
Those are the features of this bird. Why is this bird kept? As mentioned earlier, usually for the love of splendor. Otherwise this bird has nothing that the Saturnites can make use of. Occasionally the hair from the tail is gathered and ropes and strings are made from it; however, they are not too firm. The plumage is not used at all.
This bird is strictly kept by those inhabitants on Saturn who live on the banks and shores of rivers and lakes. Because this bird is an aquatic bird it nourishes itself mostly on the worms in the water. That is why this animal has such a long neck, with which it can easily reach the bottom, where it finds its nourishment. The difference between the male and female of this species shows itself in its richer tail.
This bird lays its eggs in the water and lets them float there for a while, until its instinct tells it that they have completely cooled off Then it spreads its wings over one or more of its eggs and swims with them towards a quiet place; it keeps close watch over them, and they soon hatch by themselves.
When this bird guards its eggs, it is not advisable to come close to such a place, because, with lightning speed, it immediately attacks any intruder with its long neck and deals him a blow with its firm beak, such that no intruder will attempt to disturb this water bird again while it is attending to this most important task.
These are the most important and memorable facts of the species of the feathered inhabitants of this planet'. You can well imagine that besides the species we have discussed, there are thousands of others in the various countries and continents of Saturn, in the most multifarious variety. Now we shall turn to the tame and wild land animals.