March 09, 2022

#08-195: The Little Red Hen

What's this? A worm? No, it's wheat!

Note: This American fable teaches the importance of hard work and taking personal initiative.

Get Ready: What do you do when you ask others for help and they turn you down?

Once, there was a Little Red Hen who spent all her time scratching around in a barnyard looking for worms for her and her children. Whenever she found a worm, she'd call "Chuck-chuck-chuck!" to her chicks. When they gathered around, she'd distribute the morsels of her tidbit.

While she worked, there was a cat who napped lazily in the barn door, not even getting herself up to chase the rat who moved around as he pleased. And a pig lived in a nearby sty who cared only about eating and growing fat.

One day the Little Red Hen found a wheat seed. Because it was long and thin, at first she thought it was a worm. But when she bit it gently, she found that its taste didn't resemble a worm in any way. She had been fooled by its appearance.

Carrying it about, she asked around to learn what it might be. She learned 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. She immediately knew it ought to be planted, but she was so busy hunting food for herself and her family that she didn't want to take time to plant it.

She thought the other animals might help: the Pig must be bored; the Cat who had nothing to do; and the great fat Rat had plenty of time. So she called out: "Who will plant the seed for me?" But the Pig said, "Not I," and the Cat said, "Not I," and the Rat said, "Not I." "Well, then," said the Little Red Hen, "I will." And she did.

So 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.

One day the Little Red Hen chanced to notice that the wheat was ripe, so she ran about calling: "Who will cut the Wheat for me?" 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.

She cut off all of the wheat and was ready to thresh it, but her chicks needed her attention, so she asked, "Who will thresh the Wheat for me?" Again, the Pig said, "Not I," and the Cat said, "Not I," and the Rat said, "Not I." So the Little Red Hen said, "Well, I will, then." And she did--after she fed her chicks.

Then she called out: "Who will carry the Wheat to the mill to be ground for me?" Turning their backs, that Pig said, "Not I," and that Cat said, "Not I," and that Rat said, "Not I." So the Little Red Hen said, "I will then." And she did.

She carried the sack of wheat to the distant mill, and ordered the wheat ground into beautiful white flour. Then she carried it back home.

The next day, it was time to bake the bread. But she had no experience at it, so she asked, "Who will bake the bread for me?" Again she was disappointed when the Pig said, "Not I," the Cat said, "Not I," and the Rat said, "Not I." So she said once more, "I will then." And she did.

She put on a fresh apron and cook's cap, then set the dough, molded it into loaves, and baked them. The other animals did nothing!

At last a delicious smell drifted through the barnyard. The Little Red Hen was excited when the lovely brown loaves came out of the oven, done to perfection. By force of habit, she called: "Who will eat the Bread for me?" The Pig said, "I will," the Cat said, "I will," the Rat said, "I will." But the Little Red Hen said, "No, you won't. I will!" And she did.


Read more:

Practice: Match the term to its definition below:

  1. chase
  2. chicks
  3. lazily
  4. morsels
  5. napped
  6. resemble
  7. ripe
  8. sty
  9. thresh
  10. tidbit

  1. a place where pigs live
  2. ready to pick or eat
  3. small pieces of food
  4. run after; try to catch
  5. seem like
  6. separate grain from its useless shells
  7. another word for "morsel"; also, a small bit of anything good, like news
  8. without any energy
  9. took a short sleep
  10. baby chickens

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for March 9, 2022

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. d; 2. j; 3. h; 4. c; 5. i; 6. e; 7. b; 8. a; 9. f; 10. g