The Little Red Hen

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The Little Red Hen cover.jpg


Little red Hen.jpg


Little red hen image 045 1.jpg


THE LITTLE RED HEN

An Old English Folk Tale

Retold and Illustrated

by
FLORENCE WHITE WILLIAMS


The
Saalfield Publishing Company
Chicago - Akron, Ohio - New York
PRINTED IN U. S. A.

Little red hen image 004.jpg

COPYRIGHT, 1918
BY
THE SAALFIELD PUBLISHING COMPANY



A Little Red Hen lived in a barnyard. She spent almost all of her time walking about the barnyard in her picketty-pecketty fashion, scratching everywhere for worms.
Little red hen image 005 2.jpg
She dearly loved fat, delicious worms and felt they were absolutely necessary to the health of her children. As often as she found a worm she would call:
Little red hen image 006.jpg

"Chuck-chuck-chuck!" to her chickies.

When they were gathered about her, she would distribute choice morsels of her tid-bit. A busy little body was she!
Little red hen image 007 2.jpg
A cat usually napped lazily in the barn door, not even bothering herself to scare the rat who ran here and there as he pleased. And as for the pig who lived in the sty – he did not care what happened so long as he could eat and grow fat.
Little red hen image 008.jpg
One day the Little Red Hen found a Seed. It was a Wheat Seed, but the Little Red Hen was so accustomed to bugs and worms that she supposed this to be some new and perhaps very delicious kind of meat. She bit it gently and found that it resembled a worm in no way whatsoever as to taste although because it was long and slender, a Little Red Hen might easily be fooled by its appearance.
Little red hen image 009 2.jpg


The Little Red Hen - FWH.jpg


Carrying it about, she made many inquiries as to what it might be. She found it was a Wheat Seed and that, if planted, it would grow up and when ripe it could be made into flour and then into bread.
Little red hen image 011 2.jpg

When she discovered that, she knew it ought to be planted. She was so busy hunting food for herself and her family that, naturally, she thought she ought not to take time to plant it.

Little red hen image 012 2.jpg
So she thought of the Pig - upon whom time must hang heavily and of the Cat who had nothing to do, and of the great fat Rat with his idle hours, and she called loudly:

"Who will plant the Seed?"

Little red hen image 004.jpg

But the Pig said, "Not I,"
and the Cat said, "Not I,"
and the Rat said, "Not I."


The Little Red Hen - who will plant.jpg


"Well, then," said the Little Red Hen, "I will."

Little red hen image 015.jpg

And she did.

Little red hen image 016 1.jpg

Then she went on with her daily duties through the long summer days, scratching for worms and feeding her chicks, while
the Pig grew fat,
and the Cat grew fat,
and the Rat grew fat,
and the Wheat grew tall and ready for harvest.

Little red hen image 016 3.jpg

So one day the Little Red Hen chanced to notice how large the Wheat was and that the grain was ripe, so she ran about calling briskly: "Who will cut the Wheat?"

The Pig said, "Not I,"
the Cat said, "Not I,"
and the Rat said, "Not I."

"Well, then," said the Little Red Hen, "I will." And she did.

Little red hen image 017 2.jpg
She got the sickle from among the farmer's tools in the barn and proceeded to cut off all of the big plant of Wheat.
Little red hen image 018 2.jpg

On the ground lay the nicely cut Wheat, ready to be gathered and threshed, but the newest and yellowest and downiest of Mrs. Hen's chicks set up a "peep-peep-peeping" in their most vigorous fashion, proclaiming to the world at large, but most particularly to their mother, that she was neglecting them.


Little red hen image 048 1.jpg


Poor Little Red Hen! She felt quite bewildered and hardly knew where to turn.

Her attention was sorely divided between her duty to her children and her duty to the Wheat, for which she felt responsible.

So, again, in a very hopeful tone, she called out, "Who will thresh the Wheat?"

But the Pig, with a grunt, said, "Not I," and the Cat, with a meow, said, "Not I," and the Rat, with a squeak, said, "Not I."

So the Little Red Hen, looking, it must be admitted, rather discouraged, said, "Well, I will, then."

And she did.

The Little Red Hen illustration.jpg

Of course, she had to feed her babies first, though, and when she had gotten them all to sleep for their afternoon nap, she went out and threshed the Wheat. Then she called out: "Who will carry the Wheat to the mill to be ground?"


Little red hen image 049 1.jpg


Little red hen image 050 1.jpg


Turning their backs with snippy glee, that Pig said, "Not I," and that Cat said, "Not I," and that Rat said, "Not I."

Little red hen image 024.jpg
So the good Little Red Hen could do nothing but say, "I will then." And she did.
Little red hen image 025 2.jpg

Carrying the sack of Wheat, she trudged off to the distant mill. There she ordered the Wheat ground into beautiful white flour. When the miller brought her the flour she walked slowly back all the way to her own barnyard in her own picketty-pecketty fashion.


Little red hen image 051 1.jpg


Little red hen image 027 1.jpg

She even managed, in spite of her load, to catch a nice juicy worm now and then and had one left for the babies when she reached them. Those cunning little fluff-balls were so glad to see their mother. For the

first time, they really appreciated her.
Little red hen image 027 3.jpg
Little red hen image 028.jpg

After this really strenuous day Mrs. Hen retired to her slumbers earlier than usual - indeed, before the colors came into the sky to herald the setting of the sun, her usual bedtime hour.

She would have liked to sleep late in the morning, but her chicks, joining in the morning chorus of the hen yard, drove away all hopes of such a luxury.

Even as she sleepily half opened one eye, the thought came to her that to-day that Wheat must, somehow, be made into bread.

Little red hen image 029.jpg

She was not in the habit of making bread, although, of course, anyone can make it if he or she follows the recipe with care, and she knew perfectly well that she could do it if necessary.

So after her children were fed and made sweet and fresh for the day, she hunted up the Pig, the Cat and the Rat.

Little red hen image 030.jpg

Still confident that they would surely help her some day she sang out, "Who will make the bread?"

Alas for the Little Red Hen! Once more her hopes were dashed! For the Pig said, "Not I,"

Little red hen image 031 2.jpg

the Cat said, "Not I," and the Rat said, "Not I."

Little red hen image 024.jpg

So the Little Red Hen said once more, "I will then," and she did.

Feeling that she might have known all the time that she would have to do it all herself, she went and put on a fresh apron and spotless cook's cap. First of all she set the dough, as was proper. When it was time she brought out the moulding board and the baking tins, moulded the bread, divided it into loaves, and put them into the oven to bake. All the while the Cat sat lazily by, giggling and chuckling.


Little red hen image 052 1.jpg


And close at hand the vain Rat powdered his nose and admired himself in a mirror. In the distance could be heard the long-drawn snores of the dozing Pig.

Little red hen image 008.jpg
At last the great moment arrived. A delicious odor was wafted upon the autumn breeze. Everywhere the barnyard citizens sniffed the air with delight.
Little red hen image 012 2.jpg
Little red hen image 037.jpg

The Red Hen ambled in her picketty-pecketty way toward the source of all this excitement.

Although she appeared to be perfectly calm, in reality she could only with difficulty restrain an impulse to dance and sing, for had she not done all the work on this wonderful bread?
Little red hen image 004.jpg

Small wonder that she was the most excited person in the barnyard!

She did not know whether the bread would be fit to eat, but - joy of joys! - when the lovely brown loaves came out of the oven, they were done to perfection.
Little red hen image 029.jpg

Then, probably because she had acquired the habit, the Red Hen called:

"Who will eat the Bread?"

Little red hen image 030.jpg

All the animals in the barnyard were watching hungrily and smacking their lips in anticipation, and

the Pig said, "I will,"
the Cat said, "I will,"
the Rat said, "I will."

But the Little Red Hen said,

Little red hen image 041.jpg


Little red hen image 053 1.jpg


"No, you won't. I will."

Little red hen image 005 2.jpg

And she did.


Little red Hen.jpg

Uniform With This Volume:
Little Black Sambo
Willie Mouse
Wee Peter Pug


The Saalfield
Publishing Company

Chicago
AKRON, OHIO
New York

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1924.


The author died in 1953, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 60 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.