The Little Red Hen – the modern way

ARTOUTWEST DIANE WHITEHEAD Animal art oil painting Hen and Chick, painting by artist Diane Whitehead


In light of the recent events in our national news, I’ve been contemplating more than ever what effects selfish behavior and the lack of moral responsibility can have on a nation. Most of us will never have a very large voice in affecting society, however, most of us can directly speak for the choices our own families make. There are two major concepts I want my girls to learn. If they never learn anything else from me, I hope they learn this…You are directly accountable to God for the choices you make, and you are personally responsible for your own choices. I do not ever wish to debase them into being my parrot, or enable them to flounder through life by allowing them to cling to excuses. I came across this little children’s story, re-written to highlight the importance of individual responsibility. I hope you will enjoy it, and be as challenged by it as much as I was…

Once upon a time, there was a little red hen who scratched about and uncovered some grains of wheat. She called her barnyard neighbors, and said, “If we work together and plant this wheat, we will have some fine bread to eat. Who will help me plant the wheat?” “Not I,” said the cow. “Not I,” said the duck. “Not I,” said the goose. “Then I will,” said the little red hen, and she did.

The wheat grew tall and ripened into golden grain. “Who will help me reap my wheat?” asked the little red hen. “Not I,” said the duck. “out of my classification,” said the pig. “I’d lose my seniority,” said the cow. “I’d lose my unemployment insurance,” said the goose.

Then it came time to bake the bread. “That’s overtime for me,” said the cow. “I’m a dropout and never learned how,” said the duck. “I’d lose my welfare benefits,” said the pig. “If I’m the only one helping, that’s discrimination,” said the goose. “Then I will,” said the little red hen. And she did.

She baked five loaves of fine bread and held them all up for the neighbors to see. They all wanted some, demanded a share. But, the little red hen said, “No, I can rest for a while and eat the five loaves myself.”

“Excess profits!” cried the cow. “Capitalistic leech,” screamed the duck. “Company fink,” grunted the pig. “Equal rights,” yelled the goose. And they hurriedly painted picket signs and marched around the little red hen singing, “We shall overcome.” And they did.

For when the Farmer came, he said, “You must not be greedy, little red hen. Look at the oppressed cow. Look at the disadvantaged duck. Look at the underprivileged pig. Look at the less fortunate goose. You are guilty of making second-class citizens of them” “but…but,” said the little red hen, “I earned the bread.”

“Exactly,” said the wise farmer. “that is the wonderful free enterprise system; anybody in the barnyard can earn as much as he wants. You should be happy to have this freedom. In other barnyards you’d have to give all five loaves to the farmer. Here you give four loaves to your suffering neighbors.” And they lived happily ever after, including the little red hen who smiled and clucked: “I am grateful. I am grateful.”

But her neighbors wondered why she never baked any more bread. 

-Nation’s Business (July 1970)

Galatians 6:7   Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

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2 Responses to The Little Red Hen – the modern way

  1. Erin says:

    Love it!

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