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The Story of the Little Red Hen

This is a traditional tale, possibly with its origins in Russia, and has been told in many different versions for many years. There are versions of the story in which the Little Red Hen decides to share with the animals, and there are those in which she eats the bread herself leaving the animals to reflect on the error of their ways, with the moral to be drawn by the listener.

Sometimes she bakes bread and sometimes cakes or biscuits (and in one version a pizza!). We have amended the story to suit our own purposes too.

Below is just one version of the story for you to read to your children (downloadable version here)

The Little Red Hen

Once upon a time there was a little red hen.

One day Little Red Hen was in the farm yard when she found a grain of corn.

“Who will help me plant this grain of corn?” she asked.
“Not I,” squeaked the rat from the barn.
“Not I,” quacked the duck from her pond.
“Not I,” purred the cat from his place in the sun.

So Little Red Hen went to look for a nice bit of earth, scratched it with her feet and planted the grain of corn.

“Who will help me water this corn?” asked the little red hen
“Not I,” squeaked the rat from the barn.
“Not I,” quacked the duck from her pond.
“Not I,” purred the cat from his place in the sun.

Image of the Little Red Hen

So Little Red Hen carried a bucket of water in her beak to the field and watered 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. Little Red Hen saw that the corn was ready for cutting.
“Who will help me cut the corn?” asked Little Red Hen.
“Not I,” squeaked the rat from the barn.
“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 from the husks.

“Who will take the corn to the mill, so that it can be ground into flour?” asked Little Red Hen.
“Not I,” squeaked the rat from the barn.
“Not I,” quacked the duck from her pond.
“Not I,” purred the cat from his place in the sun.

So 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. And when he had done this she took the flour back home

“Who will help me to make the flour into bread?” asked Little Red Hen.
“Not I,” squeaked the rat from the barn.
“Not I,” quacked the duck from her pond.
“Not I,” purred the cat from his place in the sun.

“Very well,” said 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 rat came into the kitchen from the barn, the duck came in from the pond and the cat left his place in the sun. When 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 Little Red Hen.
“I will,” squeaked the rat.
“I will,” quacked the duck.
“I will,” purred the cat.

“Oh no, you won’t,” said Little Red Hen. “I planted the seed, I watered the corn, 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 rat, the duck and the cat all stood and watched as Little Red Hen ate the loaf all by herself. It was delicious and she enjoyed it, right to the very last crumb.

There are many printed editions easily available but you may like to read this online version.

 

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