My wife, Tanya, and I were talking this weekend about the upcoming Republican National Convention happening this week in our hometown, The Tampa / St. Petersburg area, and who will win in November.
Tanya’s opinion is that the outcome of the election will be determined by where voters stand on the parable of the ‘Little Red Hen’. What? I was not savvy on the parable so she explained that The Little Red Hen is parable that teaches a lesson about respecting, valuing and appreciating hard work. She further went on to mention that she always tried to instill values of the little red hen in our three daughters.
In preparing for this post I ran across a version of the parable told by President Ronald Reagan in November 1976 on one of his radio programs. I think he does a great job drawing out the differences between members of our society that are “Little Red Hens” and those that want to enjoy the spoils without being part of the hard work necessary to “bake the bread”. See below for a link to a YouTube video where Reagan tells the modern version of this Russian parable. If you can not click on the video below – copy and paste this URL into your browser: http://bit.ly/LittleRedHen
By Ronald Reagan in November 1976
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 it?”
“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 rippened 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 bread?”, asked the little red hen. “Oh 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.
“Well, 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. And in fact demanded a share. But the little red hen said “No. I can eat the five loaves myself.”
“Excess profits!” cried the cow.
“Capitalist leech!”, screamed the duck.
“I demand equal rights!”, yelled the goose.
And the pig just grunted.
And they painted “Unfair” picket signs and marched round and round the little red hen shouting obscenities.
When the government agent came he said to the little red hen, “You must not be greedy.”
“But I earned the bread!” said the little red hen.
“Exactly!” said the agent, “That’s the wonderful free enterprise system. Anyone in the barnyard can earn as much as he wants, but under our modern government regulations the OrangeCountyDigiart productive workers must divide their product with the idle.”
And they lived happily ever after. Including the little red hen. Who smiled and clucked, “I am grateful, I am grateful.” But her neighbors wondered why she never again baked anymore bread. I guess a lot of us have been wondering something like that.