The Cock, the Mouse and the Little Red Hen


Best Version Bibliographic Information:

“The Cock, the Mouse and the Little Red Hen” by Felicite Le Fevre. In: Time For Old Magic. May Hill Arbuthnot & Mark Taylor, compilers. Chicago: Scott Foresman, 1970, p. 10 – 12.


Ethnic origin: English


Running time: 10 minutes


Power centers:

1.         fox decides to capture cock, mouse, little red hen

2.         fox captures the three

3.         hen rescues herself and others

4.         fox disappears into stream


Characters: Little Red Hen, Cock, Mouse, Bold Bad Fox, Little Bad Foxes



1.         2 houses, 1 pretty, 1 ugly; who lives in each

2.         foxes declare their hunger, decide to hunt

3.         breakfast scene with cock, mouse, hen

4.         capture by fox

5.         inside sack and escape, disappearance of fox

6.         closing with hen on holiday


Synopsis:  On two hills are two houses. One is pretty and well kept; the cock, mouse and red hen live here. The other is ugly and shabby; the bold bad fox and little foxes live here. The foxes have nothing to eat and decide to catch the occupants of the other house for their supper.  At the pretty house, the cock and mouse wake up on the “wrong side of the bed” and refuse to help with breakfast chores.  The red hen does all the work cheerfully.  Mouse and cock nap while fox approaches the house and carelessly let the fox in. All are captured and popped into a sack and carried off.  The fox tires, lays down to rest.  Red hen effects the escape from the sack with her sewing utensils and substituting stones for themselves.  After the three run away home, fox awakes, picks up the sack of stones, and falls into the stream, and is never seen again.  Hen enjoys a holiday while cock and mouse do all the chores, thankful to be alive.


Rhymes, special flavor: 

“who will help (gather sticks for the fire)?”

“I shan't” said the cock.

“I shan't” said the mouse.

“I'll do it myself” said the little red hen.

The little red hen says “It's never too late to mend!”


Audience:  early elementary grades (K – 3)


3 – 6 years (K, 1st grade); ambition, responsibility, imaginative play

6 – 9 years (1st grade – 3rd grade); productive work, cooperation


2 – 7 years; repetition

7 – 11 years; orderly thinking, puzzles


Other versions bibliographic information:

 “The Rooster, the Mouse and the Little Red Hen” in: Shirley Temple's Nursery Tales.  New York: Random House, 1961. p. 1 – 3.

Cauley, Lorinda Bryan. The Cock, the Mouse and The Little Red Hen.  New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1982.

 “The Fox and the Little Red Hen”.  In Hollowel, Lillian. A Book of Children's Literature. New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1939, p. 70 – 71.


Brief comparison:  The first two versions are comparable, in fact they are nearly identical. The only real differences that exist are placement of the order of events as told, number of foxes (one or five), and the method of the fox's demise or loss of the sack. The third version varies in the characters and in the events that occur.  The end result is the same with the hen escaping by cutting a hole in the sack and substituting a stone, and injury happening to the fox.        


Jay M. Frimmel