FileTitle: Prose1104.html
Category: Humor
Type: Prose
Description: Little Red Hen Meets Bureaucracy
No one really knows who wrote this updated version of a well-known story, but it
has been widely reprinted and even read in stockholders' meetings.

Once upon a time, there was a little red hen who scratched about the barnyard
until she uncovered some grains of wheat.  She called her neighbors and said,
"If we plant this wheat, we shall have bread to eat.  Who will help me plant
"Not I," said the cow.
"Not I," said the duck.
"Not I," said the pig.
"Not I," said the goose.
"Then I will," said the little red hen, and she did.  The wheat grew tall and
ripened into golden grain.
"Who will help me reap my wheat?" asked the little red hen.
"Not I," said the duck.
"Out of my classification," said the pig.
"I'd lose my seniority," said the cow.
"I'd lose my unemployment compensation," said the goose.
"Then I will," said the little red hen, and she did.
At last it came time to bake the bread.  "Who will help me bake the bread?"
asked the little red hen.
"That would be overtime for me," said the cow.
"I'd lose my welfare benefits," said the duck.
"I'm a dropout and never learned how," said the pig.
"If I'm to be the only helper, that's discrimination," said the goose.
"Then I will," said the little red hen.  She baked five loaves and held them up
for her neighbors to see.  They all wanted some--in fact, demanded a share.  But
the little red hen said, "Now, I can eat the five loaves myself."  "Excess
profits!" yelled the cow.
"Capitalist leech!" cried the duck.
"I demand my equal rights!" shouted the goose.
The pig just grunted.  Then they hurriedly painted "unfair" picket signs and
marched around, shouting obscenities.
The government agent came and said to the little red hen, "You must not be
"But I earned the bread," said the little red hen.
"Exactly," said the agent.  "That is the wonderful free-enterprise system.
Anyone in the barnyard can earn as much as he wants.  But, under government
regulations, the productive workers must divide their product with the idle."
And they lived happily ever after.  But the little red hen's neighbors wondered
why she never again baked bread.