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Fern is having a little breakfast with her mom and dad when they start talking about Uncle Homer's farm.
Fern is pretty excited about the new goslings and tells her parents all about them, right down to how the eighth egg didn't hatch so Templeton took it away.
Mr. and Mrs. Arable are confused about this last bit. Who's Templeton? And why is our daughter talking to a rat?
Mrs. Arable is especially baffled that her daughter (1) appears to be talking to animals, and (2) that those animals have names. What on earth!
Once Fern's mom sends her off to get ready for Sunday school, Mrs. Arable starts psychoanalyzing her daughter's weird behavior. She's pretty worried that her child thinks animals can talk. To her, that's total cockamamie.
But Mr. Arable is a bit more open-minded. He thinks that maybe, just maybe, animals can talk and he and his wife just can't hear them.
This would mean that Fern is an especially good listener.