Friday, May 25, 2012
The Little Red Hen. A tale for modern times.
Inspired by Estonia's President, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, "I'll gladly Pay you Tuesday" here
The Little RED HEN - revisited.
Once upon a time there were some little hens. They lived outside a farm on their own, subject to the rigours of supplying all their own needs in an unpredictable and sometimes hostile world. They were alone. Sometimes they were afraid.
One day the farmer approached them and invited them to come inside the farmyard fences. In there they’d have the benefit of the experience and contacts of all the other farmyard animals. Life would be secure and good. Together they could do wondrous things. Everyone would benefit!
The little hens were allocated a corner of the farmyard, and they were content. They were united with all the other farmyard animals; horses, cows, pigs, ducks and geese, each with their own part of the farmyard to tend.
The farmer presented the little hens with the rules of the farmyard. The rules were clear, the rules were fair. Everyone would benefit!
The little hens read the rules, they understood the rules, they accepted and followed the rules. And life was good.
Eggs were laid, and chickens were hatched to the little hens. The chickens were taught by the farmer to abide by the rules, to live within their means to work with the skills and resources they had. And life was good.
The little hens and their chickens scratched the soil, they tilled the soil, they harvested the produce. They worked hard; they were careful. The little hens wrinkled their little brows over the accounts late at night, by thrifty candlelight, after a hard day's work. There was little waste and just about enough for all the hens and the little chickens – just like the farmer had promised. They trusted the other farmyard animals to do the same, to follow the rules so all would benefit. Surely life was good?
The little hens and their chicks appreciated the farmyard. They enjoyed the benefits of belonging to the farm. They were secure. But a storm appeared, brewing menacingly on the horizon. The farmer came to the hens and their chickens to ask for help. For the good of all.
The larger animals who had been at the farm longer than the little hens and their little chicks had asked the farmer to help them out. They couldn't seem to manage their plots of land or their accounts. They never seemed to have enough to go round. The horses, the cows, the pigs and ducks and geese complained loudly to anyone who would listen that they were being treated unfairly and that life was harsh and unjust. They needed someone like the little hens and their chicks to support them. A lot.
The little hens were confused; surely the horses, the cows, the pigs and ducks and geese had worked as hard as the little hens and their chickens, scrimping and saving for the good of all? Surely they had lived within their means and hadn’t become lazy and greedy? Did the other farmyard animals expect to have more than the little hens and their chickens?
The little chickens saw the benefit of belonging to the farm. They agreed to let the horses, the cows, the pigs and ducks and geese have some of the goods they’d worked so hard to produce. For the good of all, for the unity of the farm. But they were not happy.
The chickens who had played at the homes of the foals, the calves, the piglets, the ducklings and goslings had seen a land of plenty, had seen rules being flouted. Had seen farm animals better off than themselves and their families. And they didn’t understand why they were being asked by the farmer to support those with more than themselves.
And the little chickens became resltess.