The Story of the Little Red Hen

By Felicia Cravens, USDRContributor

Once upon a time, a lamb, a cat, a pig, and a little red hen lived on an old farm on a flowery hill surrounded by fields of golden wheat. One day, the Little Red Hen found some grains of wheat scattered in the barnyard. “Look what I’ve found!” she said to the other animals. “Who will help me plant these grains ofwheat?”

“Not I!” said the lamb.  “You’re taking jobs away from migrant workers who badly needthem.”

“Not I!” said the cat.  “You’re betraying feminist principles by engaging in meniallabor.”

“Not I!” said the pig.  “That wheat can’t beorganic.”

“Then I’ll do it myself,” said the Little Red Hen. And so she did. She knew that seeds need water to grow tall and strong. “Who will help me water these seeds?” asked the Little RedHen.

“Not I!” said the lamb.  “You can’t use the pond water because the endangered snifflefish livesthere.”

“Not I!” said the cat.  “The water usage is restricted due to thedrought.”

“Not I!” said the pig.  “Your property rights do not extend to the waterrights.”

“Then I’ll do it myself,” said the Little Red Hen. And so she did. The Little Red Hen watered the soil and waited patiently for the wheat to grow. When the wheat was tall and golden, she knew it was ready to be cut. “Who will help me harvest the wheat?” asked the Little RedHen.

“Not I!” said the lamb.  “The migrant workers are back for harvest and you’re taking theirincome.”

“Not I!” said the cat.  “I refuse to assist you in reducing the role of women to that of a farmhand.”

“Not I!” said the pig.  “Obviously the Commerce Clause says you can’t grow the wheat, even for personalconsumption.”

“Then I’ll do it myself,” said the Little Red Hen. And so she did. The Little Red Hen’s basket was soon filled with wheat. “Who will help me take the wheat to the mill to be ground into flour?” asked the Little RedHen.

“Not I!” said the lamb. “Transportation of commodities uses fossilfuels.”

“Not I!” said the cat.  “You should be supporting the locavoremovement.”

“Not I!” said the pig.  “The miller is a greedy capitalist who exploits workers for hugeprofits.”

“Then I’ll do it myself,” said the Little Red Hen. And so she did. The kind miller ground the wheat into powdery, velvety flour, and the Little Red Hen carried it home in a rough brown sack. “Who will help me make this flour into bread?” asked the Little RedHen.

“Not I!” said the lamb.  “The FDA hasn’t approved that flour for use in makingbread.”

“Not I!” said the cat.  “You’re setting the cause of women back fifty years by exalting domesticservitude.”

“Not I!” said the pig.  “You don’t have a commercial kitchen permitted through your localmunicipality.”

“Then I’ll do it myself,” said the Little Red Hen. And so she did. The Little Red Hen mixed the flour into sticky dough and kneaded it into a smooth loaf. “Who will help me put this bread into the oven to bake?” asked the Little RedHen.

“Not I!” said the lamb.  “I have to rush off to a protest against the wealthiest1%.”

“Not I!” said the cat.  “I have to work on my women’s studiesthesis.”

“Not I!” said the pig.  “I have to blog about evil corporations and skype into a talk show on myiPad.”

“Then I’ll do it myself,” said the Little Red Hen. And so she did. The kitchen filled with the delicious scent of baking bread, and the other animals came to see what was happening. The Little Red Hen took the warm, crusty loaf out of the oven, and set it on the table. “Who will help me eat this fresh, tasty bread?” asked the Little RedHen.

“I will!” said thelamb.

“I will!” said thecat.

“I will!” said thepig.

“No, you will not,” said the Little Red Hen. “You didn’t help me plant it, or water it, or harvest it, or mill it, or bake it. I shall eat itmyself!”

But before she could take one bite, the Little Red Hen was sued for discrimination; investigated by the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission; sued and fined by the Environmental Protection Agency; protested by women’s groups, immigrant groups, and the Communist Party; condemned by the local Food Department and her bread seized by the Food and Drug Administration; and had her taxes raised to pay tuition for the women’s studies program, the tents for the protests, the police presence required to monitor the protesters, the food stamps and health care programs for the other animals, urban renewal projects and light rail initiatives, and to pay the interest on the nationaldebt.

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