July 8, 2009

Henny Penny - with a Twist

A little red hen once found a grain of wheat whilst scratching industriously in the barnyard.

"Oh! A treasure!" she cried. "Who will help me plant this grain of wheat?" she asked.

"Not I," said the dog, happily scratching himself behind the ear.

"Not I," purred the cat, stretching luxuriously in the sun.

"Not I," grunted the pig, lazing in his mud hole.

"Not I," said the turkey. "What a silly idea! Why don't you just, like, eat it?"

"Then I shall do it myself," asked Henny Penny. "Cluck! cluck!" And she did.

Henny Penny planted the grain of wheat. Very soon the wheat began to grow and the green leaves came out of the ground. The sun shone and the rain fell and the wheat kept growing until it was tall, strong, and ripe.

"Who will help me reap this wheat?" asked Henny Penny.

"Not I," said the dog, and began to follow a butterfly across the barnyard to see where it would go.

"Not I," said the cat. "I would soil my fur! Working in the dirt!"

"Not I," said the pig. "Much too hot for such endeavors!"

"Not I," said the turkey. "It looks so pretty where it is. Why mess with it?"

"Then I shall do it myself," asked Henny Penny. "Cluck! cluck!" And she did.

Henny Penny reaped the wheat in the hot sun.

"Who will help me thresh this wheat" asked Henny Penny.

"Not I," said the dog, as he wandered off into the woods.

"Not I," said the cat. "The chaff would make my eyes itch!"

"Not I," said the pig. "I'm late for my nap."

"Not I," said the turkey. "What is threshing?"

"To thresh is to beat the stalks until the seeds come out," Henny Penny explained.

"What a waste of time, when you could just peck them out! As if!" said the turkey. "Not I!"

"Then I shall do it myself," asked Henny Penny. "Cluck! cluck!"

And Henny Penny threshed the wheat, all by herself.

"Who will help me take this wheat to the mill to have it ground?" asked Henny Penny.

"Not I," said the dog, distracted by his tail, which he began to chase.

"Not I," said the cat. "It is beneath my dignity to fetch and carry!"

"Not I," said the pig. "It's much too far to the mill."

"Not I," said the turkey, and stared up at the sky. No one knew why.

"Then I shall do it myself," asked Henny Penny. "Cluck! cluck! cluck!" And she did.

Henny Penny took the wheat to the mill, and by and by she came back with the flour.

"Who will help me bake this flour into bread?" asked Henny Penny.

"Not I," said the dog. "The Man is heading for the creek with his fishing pole.

See ya!" "Not I," said the cat. "The flour dust... no, no, no!" She wrinkled her nose and began to groom herself, just at the thought of it.

"Not I," said the pig. "It's almost lunch time."

"Not I," said the turkey. "Flowers should be left in the garden, not put in the oven! Duh!"

"Then I shall do it myself," asked Henny Penny. "Cluck! cluck!" And she did.

Henny Penny baked the flour and made a lovely, golden loaf of bread. The scent of the bread wafted out over the barnyard, and all of the animals began to drift toward her window.

"Who will help me eat this bread?" asked Henny Penny asked her chicks, who had gathered 'round.

"I will!" said the dog, standing on his legs to peek in through the kitchen window.

"I will!" said the cat, leaping upon the window sill.

"I will!" said the pig, standing beneath the window with his mouth watering.

"I will!" said the turkey, leaping onto the pig's back for a better look at the loaf.

"No... I will," said Henny Penny, "I and my chicks."

"By myself I planted the wheat. By myself I reaped it. By myself I threshed the wheat and carried it to the mill.

By myself I baked the bread. Now I, and mine, will eat it."

Cluck! cluck! cluck!"

"Capitalist pig!" cried the cat. ("No need to be insulting," grunted the pig.)

"Imperialist!" cried the dog.

"UNFAIR!" screamed the turkey.

"Speciesist supremacist!" shouted the pig.

Henny Penny stood dumbfounded when suddenly a huge wolf with a federal badge and a gun showed up in the barnyard and started telling her how it was going to be.

"Comrade Penny, I am confiscating 3/4 of this loaf in the name of the commonwealth and distributing it to your hungry neighbors - to wit the cat, the dog, the pig, and the turkey. The other 1/4 we'll need to support our redistributors - these guns and badges don't pay for themselves you know. Now if you resist we shall have to put you in the gulag and those guards have to eat too, you know. But I'm sure you're a good citizen and don't begrudge your neighbors the good life you are enjoying, so that surely won't be necessary. Naturally we will leave you a grain of wheat so that you can plant, reap, thresh, mill and bake it again in order to stimulate the local economy and create job growth. If you apply down at the county office there shouldn't be any problem getting an allotment of one grain for each of your chicks - that's all they really *need* after all, so don't worry about that - I'm surprised you hadn't looked into that benefit sooner! Now have a good day, comrade, and thanks for the bread."

Henny Penny sat there staring at the warm spot where the bread had been, looked at the satisfied cat, the smirking dog, the pig in his poke and the turkey, then down at her grain of wheat. She began to see herself and many other industrious hens each taking their grains of wheat and pouring them into the harbor at midnight...

1 comment:

flyhawk said...

Annie I wish I had known you in time!