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The Little Red Hen


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The Little Red Hen

The Little Red Hen
The Myth The Russian folktale of The Little Red Hen is a story about a hard-working hen who wants to make bread. The hen and her farm animal friends decide that they would like to enjoy a delicious loaf of bread. The hen reaches out to her farm animal friends and asks them if they would like to help her in the process of harvesting, threshing, milling the wheat into flour, and finally baking the bread. She asks each of the animals’ individually, but none of them wish to help her in her efforts of making the bread in which they all would like to enjoy. When the bread is finally ready to eat, she asks her friends, “Who would like to help me eat the bread?” Well of course, now all of the farm animal friends are ready to participate in this action. However, the hen denies her friends any bread because they could not help her in all the steps it took to get the bread made. The hen enjoys the bread alone because she feels that the farm animal friends are not deserving of having any of the finished product if they could not contribute in all of the work it took to make the finished product.
The Lesson The lesson attached to this folktale is obvious. If you are not willing to put in an honest day's work, then you will go hungry; literally and figuratively in this case. It is basically a folktale to teach work ethic and initiative. It is actually quoted in the bible, “If any man will not work, never let him eat.” (2 Thessalonians 3:10) As American's we can assimilate with this story, even though it has Russian origin. Laziness is unacceptable in any situation. You cannot expect to be given a paycheck at your job if you decide that you do not want to work. Also, every man must take care of himself. At least in the hen's case, she was willing to work with them to get to the end product of the delicious bread. Assimilation can be made with this story, because either in our personal lives or from people that we know, we have seen situations where someone carries all of the weight, while others ride the coattails of the work of someone else. This folktale can be put into a real-life situation such as a fast food restaurant. The crew must work together to produce the food for the customers ordering it. The manager rallies the crew and explains the duties involved with getting to the end product. If a member of the crew does not wish to participate, then that member of the crew is fired and does not draw a paycheck. As with The Little Red Hen, those who did not participate in helping make the bread, they did not get to enjoy the bread when it was made. When parents are raising a child, they do not hand the child a set of rules and say, “Alright, this is everything we have to teach you. Follow these rules.” Morals are more easily received through the art of storytelling, rather than laying down a set of rules. In the folktale of The Little Red Hen, the lesson is indirectly being taught to the reader that, “If you are lazy then you will not get to enjoy the fruits of someone else's labor. Nothing will be gained. You must put in an honest day's work to gain your needs because nothing is handed to you.” These folktales not only shape our morals, but also delight us with a story. In an article from, E.M. Robinson is quoted with saying, “Stories form a framework for connecting events and concepts. This helps students better understand and later recall information.” The Little Red Hen is a timeless folktale that can reach across several generations without rusting. As stated earlier, if an individual is not willing to work, then they gain nothing and should not expect to gain anything from the labor of someone else. In some cases it seems that our society coddles some individual's and they learn this lesson later in life, which can have a harder impact. The folktale of The Little Red Hen is not only a fun folktale that reminds us of our childhood, but also provides a powerful lesson to guide us later in our lives.
Unknown. Retrieved from Thessalonians
Robinson, E. M. (n.d.). Retrieved from

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