The Little Red Hen – A Modern Fable
Once upon a time there was a little red hen that lived in a farmyard, and one day found some grains of wheat which she took to the other animals in the farmyard – cat, rat, pig. He asked who of them can help her plant the grains of wheat. None wanted to, so the little red hen planted the grains, and the plants grew tall and strong until it was time to harvest them.
Again he asked her companions if they are willing to help. Just like before, none of them was. So the little red hen did the harvesting. And she did all the work – brought the grains to the miller and to the baker, and when the bread was baked he asked her friends, “Who will help me eat the bread?”
“I will,” said the cat.
“I will,” said the rat.
“I will,” said the pig.
“No you will not,” intoned the little red hen. “I shall eat it myself.” So she did.
The Little Red Hen and the Grains of Wheat is a modern fable which evolved into philosophy that touches sensitive issues of modern living such as capitalism and socialism. Animal Farm by George Orwell may be different in presentation and philosophical connotation, from the traditional style of a fable. It is a socio-economic and political thesis in the guise of animals acting like humans do under a system which they themselves created.
Even as Aesop fables are taking a new dimension as viewed in a changing world, the essence is as fresh as ever. All one needs to realize them as relevant as they were in Aesop’s time is simply to reflect on them himself. For human character and behavior have not really changed since then.
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References: Goldsmith O (1973) - Treasury of Aesop’s Fables Avenel Books, NY 139 pp
Stuart M (1974) A First Book of Aesop’s Fables (Vol 1 and 2) Ladybird Books