I am The Little Red Hen

This pandemic has turned my husband and I into the Little Red Hen (rooster and hen?). You know the story:

chicken or hen
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The Little Red Hen wants to make some bread. She lives in the Barnyard with other farm animals, and is always keeping busy. She finds some wheat seeds and plants them. Along the way she asks her barnyard friends if they would like to help. “Who will help me plant the seeds?”, “Who will help me water the seeds?” and so on.

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At each step along the way each of the other animals (the cow, the sheep, the horse……..) has an excuse for not helping. “Not I said the cow, not I said the sheep…….”.

Eventually the Little Red Hen harvests the wheat, grinds the wheat and bakes the bread. When it is time to eat the bread the farm animals want to share it – but should she share the bread when she did all the work herself?

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During this pandemic my husband and I have been keeping busy with back to basic tasks. We brew beer, grow our own vegetables, bake our own bread and make homemade pasta. I will soon be making my own cheese – (not sure how that’s going to turn out, but it should be fun).

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I can’t say that we’ve grown our own wheat or ground it, even though it seems like a good idea, but I did buy some locally grown and ground flour from down the road, so I feel like the hen!

I can’t say that there are a lot of good things about this pandemic, but I can say it has given us time to think about where the things we consume come from. I am quite sure that it’s better to buy everything locally, and it is one of my goals this year to do better on this.

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It’s all good for me to say this though, because I have the time to spare to work on this and to try to make things at home. I appreciate that this is not the norm for everybody else.

It’s also easy for us to get grumpy with our young adults who stop in and don’t wake up as early as we do to shovel the snow or put the garbage out. That doesn’t mean we won’t share the bread with them!

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When the Little Red Hen finished baking the bread, she asked her barnyard friends if they wanted to try some. They all said yes, BUT SHE SAID “NO! You didn’t help along the way!” – and ate the bread herself!

What is the Lesson from The Little Red Hen?

I was enjoying reading several reviews of the story, which generally stated that The Little Red Hen teaches us that we need to help with the work along the way in order to share in the results. I laughed when I read a few that said the hen never wanted any help, and didn’t want to share anyway!

I think that sometimes people (me included) get a little grumpy and refuse help when really they just want to make a point. “See, I did this all by myself!”………..

In another version of the story, the hen was accused of being a capitalist by her barnyard friends, and had to share the bread even though she did all the work – I think there were some political messages in that one!

Chickens - red and brown hens
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I think that the Little Red Hen could share the bread, but suggest that the barnyard gang help her out by washing the dishes and cleaning up the kitchen. I know that there is flour everywhere in my kitchen these days, and I am thankful that we have plenty of bread to share and people to share it with.

14 thoughts on “I am The Little Red Hen

  1. What a great post. It’s a worthy goal to grow what you can and shops local as possible. As you said it’s not doable for everyone but when we can we definitely should. Do you “farmgate” meat? We buy all ours direct from local farms. Great quality and lessened environmental impact. There is a local dairy and would love to support it more but it’s out of the way. HM… Wonder who I could get grain from says a blogger in the middle of the prairies!

    1. We used to have neighbours who were beef farmers, but they sold to developers and moved further away, and so did we! – so no farmgating of meat currently. The local mill was a lucky find! My goal is to keep working on finding more local products.

  2. Perhaps it is my teaching and parental background but I see this as a teaching/learning moment. I would give everyone a a small piece and then apologise and say I have to save the rest because it is hard work to make it. I would continue with I may need it in case I couldn’t make it next time and so even though if it might seem selfish I need to ensure I am fed so I can help others. Then I would gently ask if perhaps they could help me next time and then we can all share without any worries.
    Everything we do is a learning moment, everything. However without a willingness to teach then it may follow even kindness and generosity might be forgotten.

    1. Agreed – everything we do is a learning moment, and the story can be interpreted in different ways. My husband took it personally and thought I was trying to hint about washing the dishes though! I was just having some fun with the story thinking about the next step of growing my own wheat!

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