ANOTHER LITTLE RED HEN





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

some sugar candy.



At last the old Fox thought out 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 firewood. 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 farmhouse, 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

farmhouse.





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