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Monday, May 25, 2015

The Little Red Hen by Roslyn Ross

Okay, here are 2 versions of the Little Red Hen - any thoughts?

*VERSION 1 that I posted a while ago

Once upon a time there was a Little Red Hen who invited her three best friends—a Dog, a Cat, and a Duck--to come and live with her.

The Little Red was very excited to live with her friends. She thought, “I don’t have to clean my house by myself anymore! How much more fun it will be to clean with my friends than alone! To take care of the garden together and sweep and do dishes together! And it will take so much less time for four of us to care for one house than for each of us to care for our own houses!”

The Little Red Hen did not discuss what she envisioned with her friends. They had no idea what her expectations were. And she had no idea what their expectations were. So after they moved in together, the Little Red Hen was unpleasantly surprised to find that the Dog napped all day, the Cat played with string all day, and the Duck swam in the pool all day. No one offered to do any work with her!

The poor Little Red Hen found herself washing all the dishes—even dishes that she did not dirty. She found herself sweeping the floor all by herself—even when she was not the one who dirtied it. And she worked in the garden all by herself—even though everyone ate the food that grew there. The Little Red Hen felt very disappointed, sad, and frustrated.

She could have asked her friends for help.
She could have asserted her needs.
She could have explained her feelings,
but she did none of these.
She just thought of justice,
and in a passive aggressive way,
she waited for a situation in which
she could make her friends pay.
She wanted to teach them a lesson
that they would never forget,
And then, oh and then,
she would finally get her needs met!

One day when the Little Red Hen was working in the garden she came across a grain of Einkorn wheat. She and her friends looooved sourdough bread.
“Look guys!” She said. “Look what I found! Who wants to help me plant it?”
“Not me!” said the Dog who was about to take a nap.
“Not me!” said the Cat who was playing with some string.
“Not me!” said the Duck who was swimming in the pool.
“Oh, okay then, I guess I will have to do it myself,” said the Little Red Hen, sighing heavily.

She could have asked for help.
She could have asserted her needs.
She could have said, “I’m feeling frustrated you guys!”
But she did none of these.
She just smiled a tight little smile,
and in a rather dishonest way,
hid her feelings from everyone,
and acted like everything was okay.

The Little Red Hen planted the wheat all by herself. She watered it every day, cultivated the soil around it to prevent weed growth, and after not too long, a big, beautiful plant was ready to be harvested.

“Look guys!” She said. “The wheat is ready to be harvested! Who wants to help me?”
“Not me!” said the Dog who was about to take a nap.
“Not me!” said the Cat who was playing with some string.
“Not me!” said the Duck who was swimming in the pool.
“Oh, okay then, I guess I will have to do it myself,” said the Little Red Hen, almost in tears.

She could have told the truth about her feelings.
She could have asserted her needs.
She could have said, “I really need some help you guys!”
but she did none of these.
She just didn’t make eye contact,
and looked the other way,
hiding her feelings from everyone
and acting like everything was okay.

The Little Red Hen harvested the wheat all by herself. She ground it into flour, and then put some of it in a cup of water so that it would ferment and develop a rich sour flavor. Each day she added a little more flour and water to the bubbling mass. By the end of the week it was time to add the rest of the flour, make the dough, and bake it.

“Heeeey guys!” She said, “Who wants to help me make bread?!”
“Not me!” said the Dog who was about to take a nap.
“Not me!” said the Cat who was playing with a ball of string.
“Not me!” said the Duck who was swimming in the pool.
“Ah well,” said the Little Red Hen pretending once again that she didn’t mind. “I figured you’d say that. I guess I’ll do it myself.”

She could have expressed her disappointment.
She could have talked about her needs.
She could have said, “This isn’t what I thought living with you guys would be like!”
But she did none of these.
She just shrugged her shoulders,
and so very hard she tried
to repress what she was feeling
and keep it all inside.

The Little Red Hen baked the bread all by herself. It wasn’t long before the whole house smelled of freshly baking sourdough bread.

The dog woke up from his nap and strolled into the kitchen.
The cat stopped playing with her string and flounced into the kitchen.
The duck stopped swimming and waddled into the kitchen.

The Little Red Hen took the bread out of the oven and looked at her friends.
“Who would like to help me eat this bread?” She asked.
“Oh, I will!” said the Dog.
“And I!” said the Cat
“And I!” said the Duck.
“I don’t think so!” said the Little Red Hen. “Did you help me care for the wheat? Did you help me grind the flour? Did you help me make the dough? No, I did it all by my self. And by myself I shall eat it.”
She cut herself a slice of bread and began to eat it. It was very tasty.

But then the Little Red Hen saw the looks on her friends’ faces and the Duck started to cry. The Little Red Hen felt terrible.

“I didn’t want to be eating this all by myself.” She said, “Why didn’t you guys just help me?!”
“I had no idea you were needing help,” said the Cat.
“Me neither,” said the Dog.
“Why didn’t you tell us you were needing help?” said the Duck. “We can’t meet your needs if we don’t know what they are.”
“I was having so much fun living here, I didn’t notice that you were suffering,” said the Dog. “I feel terrible. If you had only told me what you were needing, I would have happily helped you. I wish I had paid more attention.”
“Me too,” said the Cat.
“Maybe we can help you now,” said the Duck, “to understand your feelings and needs.”
“I think we’ve established that you were needing help,” said the Dog.
“Yes,” said the Little Red Hen.
“And support?” said the Cat.
“Yes,” said the Little Red Hen.
“And maybe some appreciation and admiration for all the work you were doing?” said the Duck.
“YES!” said the Little Red Hen.
“Even since I moved in I have been admiring your work!” said the Duck. “You set out to do this huge project and you did it! You worked so hard on it! And that bread smells amazing!”
“Seriously,” said the Dog. “I have been feeling so grateful that the dishes are always clean and the floor too. I bet you have been feeling like you were doing more than your fair share of the work.”
“Yeah,” said the Little Red Hen. “I’ve been so frustrated. And disappointed. I thought we would all do our chores together, but instead it’s just been me cleaning up after everyone. I have been feeling so lonely.”

The Little Red finally felt the feelings she had been repressing for so long.
She cried out her disappointment, frustration, and loneliness.
Then she started laughing. She said, “I love this!”
I love understanding what was going on with me!
I love sharing it with you guys, all this clarity!
I feel accepted and understood and I can look you in the eye!
My shoulders feel so much lighter!” The Little Red Hen let out a joyful sigh.

She looked at the bread on which she had worked so hard. She still didn’t think it was fair for them to have any, but at the same time, she really wanted to share it with them.

“I think you should give us each a very small piece, like a taste, so we can rave about how good it is,” said the Cat.
“And the rest should be yours. You earned it,” said the Duck.
“You should only share as much of it as you want,” said the Dog.


The Little Red Hen vowed from that day on to always say what she was feeling and needing and her friends were true to their word—they were happy to help her meet her needs when they could. When they couldn’t, it wasn’t a big deal because they all communicated openly and always looked for a way to get everyone’s needs met.

VERSION 2

Once upon a time there was a Little Red Hen who invited her three best friends—a Dog, a Cat, and a Duck--to come and live with her.

The Little Red was very excited to live with her friends. She thought, “I don’t have to clean my house by myself anymore! How much more fun it will be to clean with my friends than alone! To take care of the garden together and sweep and do dishes together! And it will take so much less time for four of us to care for one house than for each of us to care for our own houses!”

The Little Red Hen did not discuss what she envisioned with her friends. They had no idea what her expectations were. And she had no idea what their expectations were. So after they moved in together, the Little Red Hen was unpleasantly surprised to find that the Dog napped all day, the Cat played with string all day, and the Duck swam in the pool all day. No one did any work but her!

The poor Little Red Hen found herself washing all the dishes—even dishes that she did not dirty. She found herself sweeping the floor all by herself—even when she was not the one who dirtied it. And she worked in the garden all by herself—even though everyone ate the food that grew there. The Little Red Hen felt very disappointed, sad, and frustrated.

So obviously:
She asked her friends for help.
She asserted her needs.
She explained her feelings.
She did all of these.
But her friends just made excuses,
and in a rather manipulative way,
claimed the Hen was being too sensitive,
and their behavior was okay!

The Little Red Hen didn’t know what to do, so nothing changed. She continued to do all the household chores by herself. One day while she was working in the garden she came across a grain of Einkorn wheat. She looooved sourdough bread, and so did her friends.
“Look guys!” She said. “Look what I found! Will you help me plant it?”
“Nooooo!” said the Dog who was about to take a nap.
“Nooooo!” said the Cat who was playing with some string.
“Nooooo!” said the Duck who was swimming in the pool.
“Guys!,” said the Little Red Hen, sighing heavily, “I would really like some help.”

She tried to get through to her friends.
She asserted her needs.
She said, “I’m feeling frustrated you guys!”
She did all of these.
But her friends just made jokes and laughed,
and in a rather dishonest way,
said they would be helping if they could,
but they just had no time today.

The Little Red Hen didn’t know what to do. She was starting to not really like her friends anymore. She planted the wheat all by herself. She watered it every day, cultivated the soil around it to prevent weed growth, and after not too long, a big, beautiful plant was ready to be harvested.

“Look guys!” She said. “The wheat is ready to be harvested! Who will help me so that we can have fresh bread soon?”
“Not me!” said the Dog who was about to take a nap.
“Not me!” said the Cat who was playing with some string.
“Not me!” said the Duck who was swimming in the pool.
The Little Red Hen was feeling so lonely and disappointed that she burst into tears.

She told her friends her feelings.
She asserted her needs.
She said, “This isn’t what I thought living with you guys would be like!”
She did all of these.
Her friends didn’t make eye contact with her;
they looked the other way,
They said that she was being too emotional,
And crying wasn’t okay!
Then they shrugged their shoulders,
and so very hard they tried
to convince the Hen to repress what she was feeling
and keep it all inside.

The Little Red Hen was very disturbed. She knew it was important for her health to cry when she needed to. She knew it was imperative that she express her feelings and needs. And she also knew she could not go on living with the Dog, the Cat, or the Duck. She thought about what she should do while she harvested the wheat and while she ground it into flour. Then she put some of the flour in a cup of water so that it would ferment and develop a rich sour flavor. Each day she added a little more flour and water to the bubbling mass. By the end of the week it was time to add the rest of the flour, make the dough, and bake it. And by the end of the week, the Little Red Hen had decided to try to communicate with her friends one last time.

“Heeeey guys!” She said, “Who wants to help me make bread?!”
“Not me!” said the Dog who was about to take a nap.
“Not me!” said the Cat who was playing with a ball of string.
“Not me!” said the Duck who was swimming in the pool.

The Little Red Hen got angry.
She had too many unmet needs.
She yelled, “You realize I can’t go on like this right?
I am not going to keep supporting you three.”
They got very defensive and said
Oh you have to
They explained they just couldn’t work like she could
They couldn’t do what she could do

The Little Red Hen angrily stormed into the kitchen to put the bread in the oven. She now knew that these animals were not her friends. They were entitled moochers. And she knew what she had to do.

Pretty soon the whole house smelled of freshly baked bread. Of course the dog woke up from his nap and strolled into the kitchen, and the cat stopped playing with her string and flounced into the kitchen, and the duck stopped swimming and waddled into the kitchen.

The Little Red Hen took the bread out of the oven and looked at them.
“Are you hoping to help me eat this bread?” She asked.
“Yes!” said the Dog.
“Yes!” said the Cat
“Oh yeah!” said the Duck.
“I don’t think so!” said the Little Red Hen. “You didn’t help me care for the wheat, or grind the flour, or ferment the dough. You didn’t help me make the bread. So you will not be helping me eat it. And moreover, you have not helped to maintain this house, so you shall not be living in it any longer.”


The Little Red Hen felt instantly relieved. For so long she had not stood up for herself. She cut herself a slice of bread and began to eat it. It was very tasty.

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