The Little Red Hen

Read by Lisa DiSimone

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"The Little Red Hen" by Joseph Jacobs

There once was a farm with a big red barn. And in that big red barn, there lived many animals, the smallest of which, was a little red hen.

The little red hen may have been little, but she was the most active resident of the farm. When she wasn't laying eggs, she spent her time clucking and walking about the barn, pecking at the seeds on the ground, or gathering up twigs and hay to make her nest. She kept everything in the barn tidy and clean.

One day, while she was pecking at the ground, she discovered some leftover wheat grains that the farmer had left behind. She knew that the wheat could be planted, and then made into delicious fresh bread.

So she went to the pigsty, where the pig was eating from a bucket of slop.

"Excuse me, cluck cluck, I need someone to help me plant this wheat," said the little red hen.

"Oink Oink, Not I," said the pig, as he went back to his slop.

So the little red hen went outside, and found the cat, who was lying in the sun and playing with a ball of yarn.

"Cluck Cluck, will you help me plant this wheat?" said the little red hen.

"Meow," said the cat. "Not I. Can't you see that I'm busy? Meow."

The little red hen was frustrated, but she did not give up. She walked all the way out to the pond, where the duck was lazing around in the cool water.

"Cluck cluck, will you help me plant this wheat?" said the little red hen.

"Quack, quack, Not I. Maybe I will help you later, when I am finished with my swim," said the duck.

"Cluck cluck, then I will do it myself," said the little red hen.

So the little red hen went off on her own, out to the field, and found a nice spot to plant the wheat. When she was finished, she went back to the barn to rest.

Soon, when the wheat had grown tall and golden yellow, the hen became excited to make bread from it. But first, she had to harvest it.

"Who will help me cut the wheat?" asked the little red hen.

"Not I," oinked the pig, who was lying in some mud.

"Not I," meowed the cat, who was taking a catnap.

"Not I," quacked the duck, as he waddled back to the pond.

"Cluck Cluck, then I will do it myself," said the little red hen.

After she cut the wheat, the little red hen was tired, but she knew that the wheat had to be taken to the mill so it could be ground into flour.

"Who will help me mill this wheat?" asked the little red hen.

"Not I," oinked the pig.

"Not I," meowed the cat.

"Not I," quacked the duck.

"Cluck cluck, then I will do it myself," said the little red hen.

Once the wheat had been ground into flour, the little red hen knew it was time to bake the bread.

"Who will help me bake the bread?" she asked, although she already predicted what the answer would be.

"Not I," oinked the pig.

"Not I," meowed the cat.

"Not I," quacked the duck.

"Cluck cluck, then I will do it myself," said the little red hen.

So she made the flour into a loaf of bread, and put it into the oven. Then, she sat and rested. Soon, as the bread become hot and soft, the air filled with the sweet smell of freshly baked bread. The pig and the cat and the duck all came running into the big red barn.

"Who will help me eat this bread?" said the little red hen.

"I will!" oinked the pig.

"I will!" meowed the cat.

"I will!" quacked the duck.

"Cluck cluck, well," said the hen, "Did you help me plant the wheat, and did you help me harvest the wheat, and did you help me mill the wheat, and did you help me bake the bread?"

The other animals all shook their heads no.

"Then I will eat the bread myself," said the little red hen. And she did.