Which Character Do You Relate To?

My youngest daughter was reading The Little Red Hen to me for her bedtime story the other night. What a great classic story! The story is applied in teaching children the virtues of work ethic and personal initiative. If you havent read this story, here is the brief plot:

In the tale, The Little Red Hen finds a grain of wheat and asks for help from the other farmyard animals to plant it. But no animal will volunteer to help her.
At each further stage (harvest, threshing, milling the wheat into flour, and baking the flour into bread) the hen again asks for help from the other animals,
but again she gets no assistance.
Finally, the hen has completed her task, and asks who will help her eat the bread.
This time, all the previous non-participants eagerly volunteer.
However, she declines their help, stating that no one aided her in the preparation work, and eats it with her chicks, leaving none for anyone else.
The moral of this story is that those who show no willingness to contribute to an end product do not deserve to enjoy the end product.

There are many different renditions featuring different farm animal characters in this classic. The one we were reading had The Goose, The Cat, and The Dog. I will describe each of the characters and how they behaved. Think about the character qualities they demonstrate and see if you can relate to some of them:

The Little Red Hen
She stumbles upon a few grains of wheat. She doesnt ignore them or brush them to the side; she picks them up and decides to plant them. When opportunity knocks, she is ready to move forward. She is not afraid of hard work, as she demonstrates this through her actions. She makes a plan and follows through with it. She wants to involve others, and asks her friends if they would like to help along the way. When she is repeatedly rejected by her offer, she keeps plugging away at her tasks. She ultimately meets her goal of making bread. She sets clear and healthy boundaries: when her friends want to enjoy the fruits of her labor without pitching in and helping, she tells them No.

The Goose
She is a gossip. All she does all day is talk about the other animals, trying to make herself look better. She is not willing to help in the least. She pretends to be busy as she sees The Little Red Hen working hard at her tasks. She avoids hard work at every corner. She is greedy in her actions. She only does things that will benefit her. She is not a team player. She is a takerwanting the breadwithout doing any of the work. She is a victim: Instead of learning the lesson, she now has a new topic to gossip about.

The Cat
She is very vain. She carries around a mirror all day long and looks at herself constantly. She is more concerned with the way her makeup, hair, and clothes appear than with her friendships. She is very superficial. She cannot help The Little Red Hen because working will mess up her perfect looks. She pokes fun at The Little Red Hen because the hard work makes her dirty and tired. She always has an excuse why she cannot help. In the end, she is personally offended that she is not allowed to have any bread, because she usually gets everything she wants.

The Dog
He is totally lazy. All he wants to do is sleep, and when he is not sleeping, he wants to nap. He is always yawning, and says he cannot help The Little Red Hen because he is too tired. He sleeps through all the hard work, but is up and ready when he smells the bread coming out of the oven. He is an opportunist. Wanting a free hand out but not willing to work for it.

There are so many great lessons in this small book! My daughter and I talked and talked about it. This is a really great learning tool for you and your kids! What lessons did you glean from this brief overview? Do you see any similar character traits in you? Which character from the book do you identify with the most? Do you proudly identify with The Little Red Hen? Have you ever acted like The Goose, The Cat, or The Dog? Have you ever used excuses like they did to not pitch in and work? Have you missed opportunities because of your choice to not help?

Take Action: This week and beyond, lets evaluate how we handle hard work when it is presented to us. Lets be aware when we are acting like The Goose, The Cat, or The Dog and change our attitude and actions to be more like The Little Red Hen. Lets read this tale to our children and have a great discussion about work ethic and personal initiative.

Because Together is Better,


  1. What a great story for adults as well as children!

  2. Erin Myers says:

    Hmmm…have had alot of experience being the “little red hen”….especially lately.

  3. Great book..

  4. Must be a English only children s book?! I really got to catch up on these, as I just know my German ones…

  5. What a super cool children’s book 🙂 I’m definitely ordering that so I can read it to my son, and when he’s old enough to talk about it me, what a fabulous conversation starter. Thanks for sharing.

  6. What a great story for adults as well as children! I’m usually the Little Red Hen, but there are times when I can be a little bit of all the others. It’s important to know when you are in the other roles so you can ask yourself if this is where you really want to be.

  7. Daddy G gets it.

  8. Gina Manzeck says:

    Great story and great reminder to push yourself to be that Little Red Hen~ About 15 minutes ago I wanted to be the lazy Dog.. but then I realized how much STUFF I need to get done and “I ain’t got time” to be that dog today-ha!!!


  9. The Little Red Hen!

  10. Oh!!!! The work NEVER ends!


  11. Very cool story, ya gotta dare regardless fears you may have.

  12. Yesterday I was the dog, but today I am the hen!!! Pretty funny Daddy G!!

  13. That book sure looks familiar to me! Great story!

  14. Thanks… love how you weave the story into a lesson for adults. Well done.

  15. Love this book! And the quote by Edison!

  16. Oooohhh, I get it!
    The Goose is a Welfare-riding-victim-of-society-Liberal…
    The Cat is a Holywood-too-good-for-everyone-else-Liberal…
    The Dog is a Pot-head-couch-riding-sponge-off-the-system Liberal..
    And the Hen is a Hard-working-the-way-God-intended-us-to-be Conservative…
    Thanks for the clarity, D-baby!!!

    The Big-Red-Rooster-In-Overalls,

  17. LOVE this book!!! I, too, am like the hen, but some days I would like to be like the lazy dog!

  18. I never heard of this book… It was a great summary! Many lessons learned in this book.

  19. I remember this story, one a few I actually read, and loved it!! I also love the quote by Edison, maybe we ‘should’ wear overalls and then we will be able to spot who is really willing to help and who isn’t!!

  20. I’d like to think that if we’re all helping each other by commenting on each other’s blog posts, we’re like the little red hen and helping ourselves and others.

  21. What a great story. For the most part I am the hen, but I can be lazy like the dog.

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