Another Little Red Hen by Sara Cone Bryant
Once upon a time there was a little Red Hen, who lived on a farm all by
herself. An old Fox, crafty and sly, had a den in the rocks, on a hill
near her house. Many and many a night this old Fox used to lie awake
and think to himself how good that little Red Hen would taste if he
could once get her in his big kettle and boil her for dinner. But he
couldn't catch the little Red Hen, because she was too wise for him.
Every time she went out to market she locked the door of the house
behind her, and as soon as she came in again she locked the door behind
her and put the key in her apron pocket, where she kept her scissors
and a sugar cooky.
At last the old Fox thought up a way to catch the little Red Hen.
Early in the morning he said to his old mother, "Have the kettle
boiling when I come home to-night, for I'll be bringing the little Red
Hen for supper." Then he took a big bag and slung it over his
shoulder, and walked till he came to the little Red Hen's house. The
little Red Hen was just coming out of her door to pick up a few sticks
for kindling wood. So the old Fox hid behind the wood-pile, and as
soon as she bent down to get a stick, into the house he slipped, and
scurried behind the door.
In a minute the little Red Hen came quickly in, and shut the door and
locked it. "I'm glad I'm safely in," she said. Just as she said it,
she turned round, and there stood the ugly old Fox, with his big bag
over his shoulder. Whiff! how scared the little Red Hen was! She
dropped her apronful of sticks, and flew up to the big beam across the
ceiling. There she perched, and she said to the old Fox, down below,
"You may as well go home, for you can't get me."
"Can't I, though!" said the Fox. And what do you think he did? He
stood on the floor underneath the little Red Hen and twirled round in a
circle after his own tail. And as he spun, and spun, and spun, faster,
and faster, and faster, the poor little Red Hen got so dizzy watching
him that she couldn't hold on to the perch. She dropped off, and the
old Fox picked her up and put her in his bag, slung the bag over his
shoulder, and started for home, where the kettle was boiling.
He had a very long way to go, up hill, and the little Red Hen was still
so dizzy that she didn't know where she was. But when the dizziness
began to go off, she whisked her little scissors out of her apron
pocket, and snip! she cut a little hole in the bag; then she poked her
head out and saw where she was, and as soon as they came to a good spot
she cut the hole bigger and jumped out herself. There was a great big
stone lying there, and the little Red Hen picked it up and put it in
the bag as quick as a wink. Then she ran as fast as she could till she
came to her own little farm-house, and she went in and locked the door
with the big key.
The old Fox went on carrying the stone and never knew the difference.
My, but it bumped him well! He was pretty tired when he got home. But
he was so pleased to think of the supper he was going to have that he
did not mind that at all. As soon as his mother opened the door he
said, "Is the kettle boiling?"
"Yes," said his mother; "have you got the little Red Hen?"
"I have," said the old Fox. "When I open the bag you hold the cover
off the kettle and I'll shake the bag so that the Hen will fall in, and
then you pop the cover on, before she can jump out."
"All right," said his mean old mother; and she stood close by the
boiling kettle, ready to put the cover on.
The Fox lifted the big, heavy bag up till it was over the open kettle,
and gave it a shake. Splash! thump! splash! In went the stone and out
came the boiling water, all over the old Fox and the old Fox's mother!
And they were scalded to death.
But the little Red Hen lived happily ever after, in her own little