henny penny

“Henny Penny” is one of the variations of folktales that are cumulative tales about a chicken who believes the world is coming to an end. There is also a very relevant moral.

Henny Penny was scratching around the farmyard looking for food when something hit her on the head. She leaps to the conclusion that the sky is falling and heads off to warn the king. Along the way she meets Cocky Locky, Ducky Lucky, Goosey Loosey, and Turkey Lurkey. In turn, she tells each of them that the sky is falling and they join her on her trip to warn the king.

They run into Foxy Loxy and tell him their story. He agrees to go with them to tell the king and says he knows a short cut. He leads them into the woods (don’t go into the woods!) and to a dark hole. Of course, it’s the door to his house, and inside his wife and kids are waiting for dinner. One by one they follow him in and Cocky Locky, Ducky Lucky, Goosey Loosey and Turkey Lurkey all get eaten.

Luckily Cocky Lock crows in fear before he is eaten. Henny Penny realizes what is going on, turns around, and runs back to the safety of the farmyard. There she stays and she never does tell the king the sky is falling.

There are other variations that have a happy ending for all the creatures, but not this one. Only Henny Penny escapes the fox. The moral is, be careful who you believe. The friends wouldn’t have gotten into trouble if the hadn’t believed Henny Penny’s ridiculous assertion that the sky was falling. And they wouldn’t have gotten eaten if they hadn’t believed the fox about his shortcut.

“The sky is falling” has become part of our vocabulary, indicating a hysterical or mistaken belief that disaster is imminent- not that people every have that problem.

Thursday’s Tales is a weekly event here at Carol’s Notebook. Fairy tales, folktales, tall tales, even re-tellings, I love them all.