The Mouse, the Rooster, and the Little Red Hen
as retold by
Jo Cooper
as retold by Félicite Lefévre - 1907
       Once upon a time there was a little house with a green door and green shutters which stood on a hill. In the house lived a Mouse, a Rooster, and a Little Red Hen.
     Over the hill, across the ravine, by the stream, lived the Bold, Bad Fox and four little foxes.
     "We're starved!" the four little foxes cried.
     "Never fear," the Bold Bad Fox told them. "I will cross the ravine, climb the hill to the little house with the green door and the green shutters. Then I'll grab the Mouse, the Rooster, and the Little Red Hen and stuff them in this sack and bring them home for your dinner."
     "Great! I'll make a fire to roast the Mouse." said one bad little frox.
     "Super!" I'll get the frying pan ready to fry the Rooster," said the second bad little Fox.
     "And I'll put on the big sauce pan to boil the Hen," said the third little fox.
     "And I'll have the biggest helping when they're cooked," said the fourth bad little fox, who was the greediest of all.
     The four bad little foxes jumped for joy! The Bold Bad Fox took his sack from the closet and started on his journey.
     Meanwhile, back in the little house with the green door and the green shutters, the Mouse and the Rooster had both got out of bed on the wrong side. The Mouse thought the day was too hot. The Rooster thought it was too cold.
     They came grumbling down to the kitchen where the good Little Red Hen, looking bright as a sunbeam, was bustling about.
     "Who'll help fix breakfast?" she asked.
     "I won't," said the Mouse.
     "I won't," said the Rooster.
     "OK, I'll do it myself," said the Little Red Hen.
     So she plugged in the coffee, and put the bacon in the microwave.
     At breakfast the Mouse grumbled because the bacon was too crisp. The Rooster upset his milk glass.
     After breakfast the Little Red Hen asked, "And now who'll help load the dishwasher?"
     "I won't!" said the Mouse turning on the TV.
     "I won't!" said the Rooster spilling toast crumbs on the rug.
     "OK, I'll do it myself," said the Little Red Hen and she scraped the dishes and placed them in the dishwasher.
     "Who'll help take out the trash?" she asked.
     "I won't!" said the Mouse munching on a cookie.
     "I won't!" said the Rooster reading the paper.
     "OK, I'll do it myself," said the Little Red Hen and she skipped down the sidewalk past the marigolds and took out the trash.
     "Who'll help make the beds?" she asked.
     "I won't!" said the Mouse picking up the phone.
     "I won't!" said the Rooster glued to the TV.
     "OK, I'll do it myself," said the Little Red Hen and she went upstairs whistling to herself.
     The Mouse sprawled on the floor still talking on the phone. The Rooster had a coke and watched TV. They didn't hear the Bad Bold Fox rustling in the bushes outside the window.
     Rat, tat, tat. Rat, tat, tat, the Bold Bad Fox knocked at the door.
     The Mouse opened the door without even asking who was there first. Quick as a flash, the Bold Bad Fox grabbed the Mouse and stuffed him into the sack, telephone and all.
     Next he caught the Rooster napping in front of the TV and put him into the sack, too. By this time the Mouse and the Rooster were screaming for help.
     The Little Red Hen came down stairs to see what all the noise was about. The Fox caught her and put her in the sack with the others. He look a long piece of string out of his pocket and tied the mouth of the sack very tight. Then he threw the sack over his back and set off down the hill.
     "Oh, what can we do?" cried the Mouse.
     "Oh, what can we do?" cried the Rooster.
     "Not to worry," said the Little Red Hen as they all bumped together in the sack "If we all work together, I think we can get out of this mess. See, here in my pocket I have a pair of scissors, a little thimble, and a needle and thread. Soon you will see what we'll do."
     The sun was very hot. Soon Mr. Fox began to feel his sack was heavy. At last he thought he would llie down under a tree and go to sleep for awhile to rest. As soon as the Little Red Hen heard him snoring, she took out her scissors and began to snip a hole in the sack, just large enough for the Mouse to creep through.
     "Quick," she whispered to the Mouse, "run as fast as you can and bring back a rock as large as yourself."
     The Mouse ran out as fast as he could and soon came back, dragging a stone after him.
     "Push it in here," said the Little Red Hen. Then she snipped away at the hole, until it was large enough for the Rooster to get through.
     "Quick," she said, "run as fast as you can and get a rock as big as yourself."
     Out flew the Rooster, and soon came back all out of breath, with a big rock, which he pushed into the sack too.
     Then the Little Red Hen popped out, got a rock as big as herself, and pushed it in. Next she put on her thimble, took out her needle and thread and sewed up the hole as quickly as she could.
     When it was done, the Mouse, the Rooster, and the Little Red Hen ran home. They slammed the door after them, pushed the dead bolt shut, and closed the drapes. They hugged each other in the safety of their home.
     The Bold Bad Fox lay fast asleep under the tree for some time, but at last he woke up.
     "Dear, dear," he mumbled to himself, rubbing his eyes, "it's getting late. I must hurry home." He picked up the sack and started down the hill. Soon he came to the stream. He started to swim across, but the weight of the rocks pulled him to the bottom of the stream. The four greedy little foxes had to go to bed without any supper.
     Meanwhile back at the little house with the green door and the green shutters, the Mouse was shaking his head. "Oh, I wish I hadn't opened the door without looking to see who was there."
     "Oh, I wish I hadn't just been watching TV all day," said the Rooster. "I wouldn't have dozed off and I would have seen the Bold Bad Fox creeping around the house."
     "It's never too late to mend your ways," the Little Red Hen told them.
     The next morning the Mouse got up early and started the breakfast. The Rooster loaded the dishwasher and took out the trash. The Mouse made sure the beds were made before he turned on the TV. The Little Red Hen smiled and thanked them for their help.
     No foxes ever troubled them again, and for all I know they are still living happily in the little house with the green door and the green shutters, which stands on the hill.

by Ralph Cooper, 10-11-07
     I found this story, along with pages and pages of notes, in a folder in one of Jo's many file cabinets. Also in the folder was a dilapidated little picture book with loose, yellowed pages. It was her copy of The Cock, The Mouse and the Little Red Hen. by Félicite Lefévre published in 1907. In the front cover Jo had written, "One of my favorite childhood books." It had 82 pages and was profusely illustrated with 22 charming pictures in the style you see at the top of this page. Jo had hoped to offer this story to a publisher of children's books, but it never happened.
     Out of curiosity I searched on the name of the book using Google. It returned 953 links!! Clearly her taste was shared by very many others.

BackBack Home