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Grimm's Fairy Tales.

The Death of the Little Hen

Once upon a time the little hen went with the little cock
to the nut-hill, and they agreed together that whichsoever of
them found a kernel of a nut should share it with the other.
Then the hen found a large, large nut, but said nothing about
it, intending to eat the kernel herself. The kernel, however,
was so large that she could not swallow it, and it remained
sticking in her throat, so that she was alarmed lest she should
be choked. Then she cried, cock, I entreat you to run as fast
as you can and fetch me some water, or I shall choke. The little
cock did run as fast as he could to the spring, and said, stream,
you are to give me some water, the little hen is lying on the
nut-hill, and she has swallowed a large nut, and is choking. The
well answered, first run to the bride, and get her to give you
some red silk. The little cock ran to the bride and said, bride,
you are to give me some red silk, I want to give red silk to the
well, the well is to give me some water, I am to take the water
to the little hen who is lying on the nut-hill and has
swallowed a great nut-kernel, and is choking with it. The bride
answered, first run and bring me my little wreath which is
hanging to a willow. So the little cock ran to the willow, and
drew the wreath from the branch and took it to the bride, and
the bride gave him some red silk for it, which he took to the
well, who gave him some water for it. Then the little cock took
the water to the hen, but when he got there the hen had choked in
the meantime, and lay there dead and did not move. Then the
cock was so distressed that he cried aloud, and every animal
came to lament the little hen, and six mice built a little
carriage to carry her to her grave, and when the carriage was
ready they harnessed themselves to it, and the cock drove. On
the way, however, they met the fox, who said, where are you
going, little cock. I am going to bury my little hen. May
I drive with you. Yes, but seat yourself at the back of the
carriage, for in the front my little horses could not drag you.
Then the procession went onwards, and they reached a stream.
How are we to cross over, said the little cock. A straw was
lying by the stream and it said, I will lay myself straight
across, and then you
can drive over me. But when the six mice came to the bridge,
the straw slipped and fell into the water, and the six mice
all fell in and were drowned. Then they were again in difficulty,
and a coal came and said, I am large enough, I will lay myself
across, and you shall drive over me. So the coal also laid
itself across the water, but unhappily just touched it, at which
the coal hissed, was extinguished and died. When a stone saw
that, it took pity on the little cock, wished to help him, and
laid itself over the water. Then the cock drew the carriage
himself, but when he got it over and reached the shore with the
dead hen, and was about to draw over the others who were sitting
behind as well, there were too many of them, the carriage ran
back, and they all fell into the water together, and were drowned.
Then the little cock was left alone with the dead hen, and dug a
grave for her and laid her in it, and made a mound above it, on
which he sat down and fretted until he died too, and then everyone
was dead.


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