A Modern Version of "The Little Red Hen"

The Little Red Hen in Obamaville
Adapted by Chinishque
 republished with permission

Once upon a time there was a little red hen. She lived with a pig, a duck and a cat.

They all lived in a pretty little house which the little red hen liked to keep clean and tidy. The little red hen worked hard at her jobs all day. The others never helped. Although they said they meant to, they were all far too lazy. The pig liked to grunt in the mud outside, the duck used to swim in the pond all day, and the cat enjoyed lying in the sun, purring.

One day the little red hen was working in the garden when she found a grain of corn.

“Who will plant this grain of corn?” she asked.

“Not I,” grunted the pig from his muddy patch in the garden.

“Not I,” quacked the duck from her pond.

“Not I,” purred the cat from his place in the sun.

So the little red hen went to look for a nice bit of earth, scratched it with her feet and planted the grain of corn.

During the summer the grain of corn grew. First it grew into a tall green stalk, then it ripened in the sun until it had turned a lovely golden colour. The little red hen saw that the corn was ready for cutting.

“Who will help me cut the corn?” asked the little red hen.

“Not I,” grunted the pig from his muddy patch in the garden.

“Not I,” quacked the duck from her pond.

“Not I,” purred the cat from his place in the sun.

“Very well then, I will cut it myself,” said the little red hen. Carefully she cut the stalk and took out all the grains of corn.

“Who will take the corn to the mill, so that it can be ground into flour?” asked the little red hen.

“Not I,” grunted the pig from his muddy patch in the garden.

“Not I,” quacked the duck from her pond.

“Not I,” purred the cat from his place in the sun.

So the little red hen took the corn to the mill herself, and asked the miller if he would be so kind as to grind it into flour.

In time the miller sent a little bag of flour down to the house where the little red hen lived with the pig and the duck and the cat.

“Who will help me to make the flour into bread?” asked the little red hen.

“Not I,” grunted the pig from his muddy patch in the garden.

“Not I,” quacked the duck from her pond.

“Not I,” purred the cat from his place in the sun.

“Very well,” said the little red hen. “I shall make the bread myself.” She went into her neat little kitchen. She mixed the flour into dough. She kneaded the dough and put it into the oven to bake.

Soon there was a lovely smell of hot fresh bread. It filled all the corners of the house and wafted out into the garden. The pig came into the kitchen from his muddy patch in the garden, the duck came in from the pond and the cat left his place in the sun. When the little red hen opened the oven door the dough had risen up and had turned into the nicest, most delicious looking loaf of bread any of them had seen.

“Who is going to eat this bread?” asked the little red hen.

“I will,” grunted the pig.

“I will,” quacked the duck.

“I will,” purred the cat.

Oh no, you won’t,” said the little red hen. “I planted the seed, I cut the corn, I took it to the mill to be made into flour, and I made the bread, all by myself. I shall now eat the loaf all by myself.”

The pig, the duck and the cat all stood and watched as the little red hen began to eat the loaf all by herself. The first bite was delicious but just then the Eagle swooped in from high above and looked at the scene of the little red hen eating her delicious bread with the cat, the pig and the duck watching her and they looked very hungry.

“Who’s bread is this?” asked the Eagle.

“It is mine.” said the little red hen.

“The others are hungry.” said the Eagle. “Why aren’t you sharing this bounty with them?”

“I asked them to help but none of them would.” said the little red hen as she prepared to take another bite. “I planted the seed, I cut the corn, I took it to the mill to be made into flour, and I made the bread all by myself.”

“You didn’t make that bread yourself!” said the Eagle. “Is not the land owned by all and what about the sun and the rain? Did not the community build the road on which you walked to the mill? Is not the mill a co-op built with funding from the community? And what of the gas that came through the pipeline that heated your stove to bake the bread? Is it not pumped from the ground the community owns? No, little red hen, you did not make that bread on your own.”

And with that statement the Eagle took the loaf of bread away from the little red hen and ripped it half and as he ate the first half he ripped the other into three equal parts and gave one to the pig who gobbled it up at once, one to the cat who purred as he ate it, and one to the duck who quacked in delight at the wonderful taste of the bread.

“But what about me?” said the little red hen. “Where is my piece?” “what of my labor?”

“You were greedy!” said the Eagle. “If you want your share then you will have to plant more seed, cut the corn, take it to mill, and bake it into bread, but the next time you will know that YOU did not make it and that it belongs to all. You will share it or again you will have none.”

The Eagle then leaped into the air and flew high above circling and watching. The pig went back to wallow in his mud, the cat back to lay in the sunny spot, and the duck back to swimming in the pond. All of them chuckling at the little red hen who had thought that she had made the bread herself.

“I will never make bread again or perform any kind of labor if others may reap but don’t have to work!” said the little red hen to herself. And true to her word she never cleaned the little house again and all the animals lived in filth. The very next winter all the animals starved to death for the lack of bread.

2 thoughts on “A Modern Version of "The Little Red Hen"

  1. Anonymous

    ANB, what’s up with the comments on your main blog? I posted some very interesting news from the GXP novel there and it’s like it’s gone down a black hole or something.

    Reply

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