This fairy tale told by our storyteller Delia is called The Little Red Hen! It is about a red hen and how she created a loaf of autumn bread beginning with just a wheat seed. Through the entire process, not any of her fellow farm animals helped her!
The Little Red Hen
"Billie! Hurry! Hold that Wheat Sack from underneath! I can see it spilling!" called the miller from the distant gristmill.
"Coming!" Billie hollered back and he grabbed the bottom of the jute sack. A single Seed dropped to the ground.
It was an early morning for the Little Red Hen as she walked around the yard looking for worms. There were fewer bugs today.
Clucking and pecking, the Little Red Hen thought of her baby chicks. She had to feed them back at the hen yard. So, she wandered a little further.
She passed the Pretty Grey Cat snoozing on the porch rail. The Silly Brown Mouse scurried past her in a rush.
The Little Red Hen came upon the sty where the Sleepy Pink Pig laid sprawled out in the sun. She turned and noticed that there was something wiggling in the distance.
A worm, perhaps?
She crossed onto the road beyond the wooden fence. As she pecked her way over, she looked down at what she thought might be a worm.
It seems like a worm, she thought. This “worm” was not wriggling at all, and the wind was blowing it over the place. She plucked it up in her beak to give it a taste.
But it was no worm!
The Little Red Hen was not sure what it was, so she brought the mysterious thing back to the farm with her.
As she wandered passed the front porch of the farm, she saw the farmer and the miller talking. The Little Red Hen wanted to go by unnoticed.
But before she knew it, the Silly Brown Mouse had ruined her plans!
The farmer and the miller turned around as the Mouse came dashing out of the barn—loudly knocking over a bunch of tin cans. They noticed the Hen immediately.
"Looks like that Hen of yours has something! Maybe a seed? Good thing the tear in that bag didn’t go to waste," the miller said to the farmer.
A Seed thought the Little Red Hen.
Back in the hen yard, she fed her chicks all the bugs she had found. The Hen looked at the Wheat Seed and then she looked back at her baby chicks. They were chirping for more food.
She knew someone must plant this Seed in the ground.
She also knew that she had to find worms for her hungry chicks. What was she to do?
From the yard, she could see the Cat sleeping, the Mouse running around, and the Pig sunbathing. The Little Red Hen clucked her way to the porch and called out, "Who will plant this Seed?"
The Cat opened one eye and yawned: "Not I."
"Not I!" said the Mouse and it scurried off again.
The Pig said, "Not I," and then sprawled out into a pile of straw.
"I will then!" the Little Red Hen said.
She planted the Seed in the ground.
The summer was long and hot. She spent her mornings tending to the Wheat instead of looking for worms for her babies. Her chicks were still fed though.
The porch rail grew too hot for the Cat to lounge. The tin cans that the Mouse loved to play in became rusted. And the Pig began to prefer the shade.
The Wheat grew and grew and grew.
The Little Red Hen knew someone needed to harvest the wheat. It was time. She also knew that her babies really missed their mother. What was she to do?
From beside the Stalk, she called out, "Who will cut this Wheat?"
The Cat peaked her head out from under the porch and stretched: "Not I."
The Mouse came up from underneath the ground and said, "Not I!"
The Pig moseyed from it’s pen and said, "Not I…"
"I will then!" said the Little Red Hen.
And she cut the Wheat.
In the hot sun, she wobbled towards the workbench to find the farmer, the miller, and Billie.
Billie noticed the impressive Wheat Stalk off in the distance and handed the Little Red Hen the perfect sickle from the farmer's tools.
She thanked the child and returned to her plot.
As she cut the Wheat and laid it on the ground to be separated and bagged, her little chicks chirped and peeped.
At first, they wanted worms, but now they just dearly missed their mother!
The Little Red Hen grew sad and worried. She knew someone must winnow the Wheat for the mill. She also knew that her hungry babies were now missing their mother. What was she to do?
From the pile of Wheat beneath her, she called out, "Who will thresh this Wheat?"
"Not I," the Cat murmured.
"Not I!" the Mouse sputtered.
"Not I…" the Pig mumbled.
Stunned by the sight of the Wheat before her and the sounds of her chicks chirping and cooing, she let out a long sigh and said, "I will then."
She gathered more bugs, fed her babies, and laid down for an afternoon nap.
And then she threshed the Wheat.
In the hot summer sun, she looked down at her day's work. She had filled one jute Sack with Wheat Seeds. She called out with hope, "Who will help carry this Wheat Sack to the mill to be ground into flour?"
"Not I!" the Cat, the Mouse, and the Pig called out in unison.
“I will then," she replied.
She carried the Wheat to be ground.
At the same time, Billie had been running around in front of the farm. Luckily for the Hen, Billie saw how tired she was from carrying the Sack around the farm. Billie offered, "Can I take that to my mother's mill to be ground into flour?"
The Little Red Hen thanked the child and returned to her hen yard. With the extra time she had, she found fat and juicy worms for her babies! They were so happy to see their Mother! They napped the day away.
Tired from all her work, it was not until the crack of dawn that the Little Red Hen awoke. She saw the bag of milled flour sitting on the porch.
She knew today would be a tiring day, she would have to take care of her chicks and bake the Bread, so she got right to work.
She had never made Bread before. A recipe is what she needed. But what she wanted most was some help!
The Little Red Hen walked into the centre of the farmyard and called out, "Who will make this Bread?"
"Not Iiiiiiiii" the Cat, the Mouse, and the Pig sang. They had grown soused to saying it they began to harmonize.
While the other barn animals danced and sang, the Little Red Hen replied, "I will then."
And she made the Bread.
Amidst the changing leaves and crisp autumn air, the smell of baking Bread lofted through the farmyard.
Sensing the sweet aromas, the other animals happily swayed happily back and forth. They began to sing.
The Red Hen found it difficult not to dance and sing along. She was tired, but she was very excited to eat the Bread.
As she was removing the most delicious looking loaves from the oven, the other animals drew closer. The Little Red Hen looked at her chicks. They were wiggling and wobbling with the excitement of the sounds and smells of in the hen yard.
"Who will eat this bread?" she asked.
"Iiiiiii wiiiiiiiilllll!" sang the animals in excitement. The Grey Cat flicked her tail. The Mouse twitched it’s whiskers. And the Pig rolled happily in the dust.
The Little Red Hen carried the fresh Bread through the hen yard. She paused at the fence to offer a loaf to Billie.
Then, when she made it back to her chicks, she looked at the other the animals and replied:
"No, I will!"
And she did.
From that day forward, the Cat, the Mouse, the Pig, and the Hen worked together to make the autumn Bread.
There was plenty of time to dance and sing and make yummy meals together.