Thinking the other day about reading to my youngest, now nearly a year, and one of the oldest books I’ve kept was the story of ‘Little Red Hen’ Now I don’t know why but on pondering the story I was struck by the thought ‘this book is really unchristian in its outlook’- let me explain….
Often I have thought, like many others no doubt, ‘ why has mankind not changed in millennium?? Nothing has changed. Men still war, still cheat, still lie, yawnnnn, you get the picture..’ And then I thought well stories like the Little Red Hen don’t help matters if they are passed down throughout the ages enforcing ideas that don’t revolutionise thinking.
What is so wrong with the Little Red Hen story you maybe thinking? Well look at it this way: The Red Hen needs help to do the work of sowing the grain to make bread but its neighbours don’t want to help. So the Hen does all the work and at the end of the book is completely justified eating all the bread by herself.
Now the thought only struck me recently: the book lets you believe the cat and the pig don’t want to help as they are lazy( in my version anyway) but this is extremely judgemental behaviour on behalf of the reader. This idea of judging others as lazy is enforced in the routine of the Hen asking for help on a number of different tasks and still not receiving any help. But hold up. Maybe the cat and the pig have appointments or allergies etc( Excuses and reasons are sometimes one and the same thing) and maybe in life if you want a job done you just have to do it yourself and get on with it.
And then finally the bread is baked after all the hard work has been done by one person and the Hen asks again ‘Who will help me eat this bread’ and lo, the Cat and Pig want some bread and are told directly ‘No you will not’.(What a complete biaatchh the hen is for giving the impression that she wanted help to eat the bread in the first place- she probably made more bread than she could eat) Finally, the penny dropped for me; Has the Hen never heard of sharing. Sharing for no other reason than you can. Yes the Hen worked hard- sowed, harvested and baked- but that in itself is not a reason to not share your fruits with anybody else. Imagine a world where most of the people in it are selfish and greedy?? Oh hold on… I think that’s called Reality!
Ps image credit goes to Google and the words ‘ Little Red Hen’-many thanks