The End of the World

The Sky Is Falling

folktales of Aarne-Thompson-Uther type 20C
(including former type 2033)
in which storytellers from around the world
make light of paranoia and mass hysteria

selected and edited by

D. L. Ashliman

© 1999-2014


Contents

  1. The Timid Hare and the Flight of the Beasts (India, The Jataka Tales).

  2. The Flight of the Beasts (Tibet, Anton Schiefner).

  3. The Story of Chicken-Licken (England, James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps).

  4. Henny-Penny and Her Fellow Travelers (Scotland, Robert Chambers).

  5. Henny-Penny (England/Australia, Joseph Jacobs).

  6. The End of the World (Ireland).

  7. The Cock and the Hen That Went to Dovrefjell (Norway, Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe).

  8. The Little Chicken Kluk and His Companions (Denmark, Benjamin Thorpe).

  9. The End of the World (Flanders, Jean de Bosschère).

  10. Brother Rabbit Takes Some Exercise (African-American, Joel Chandler Harris).

  11. Links to related sites.


Return to D. L. Ashliman's folktexts, a library of folktales, folklore, fairy tales, and mythology.

The Timid Hare and the Flight of the Beasts

India

Once upon a time when Brahmadatta reigned in Benares, the Bodhisatta [the future Buddha] came to life as a young lion. And when fully grown he lived in a wood. At this time there was near the Western Ocean a grove of palms mixed with vilva trees.

A certain hare lived here beneath a palm sapling, at the foot of a vilva tree. One day this hare, after feeding, came and lay down beneath the young palm tree. And the thought struck him, "If this earth should be destroyed, what would become of me?"

And at this very moment a ripe vilva fruit fell on a palm leaf. At the sound of it, the hare thought, "This solid earth is collapsing," and starting up he fled, without so much as looking behind him. Another hare saw him scampering off, as if frightened to death, and asked the cause of his panic flight.

"Pray, don't ask me," he said.

The other hare cried, "Pray, sir, what is it?" and kept running after him.

Then the hare stopped a moment and without looking back said, "The earth here is breaking up."

And at this the second hare ran after the other. And so first one and then another hare caught sight of him running, and joined in the chase till one hundred thousand hares all took to flight together. They were seen by a deer, a boar, an elk, a buffalo, a wild ox, a rhinoceros, a tiger, a lion, and an elephant. And when they asked what it meant and were told that the earth was breaking up, they too took to flight. So by degrees this host of animals extended to the length of a full league.

When the Bodhisatta saw this headlong flight of the animals, and heard the cause of it was that the earth was coming to an end, he thought, "The earth is nowhere coming to an end. Surely it must be some sound which was misunderstood by them. And if I don't make a great effort, they will all perish. I will save their lives."

So with the speed of a lion he got before them to the foot of a mountain, and lion-like roared three times. They were terribly frightened at the lion, and stopping in their flight stood all huddled together. The lion went in amongst them and asked why there were running away.

"The earth is collapsing," they answered.

"Who saw it collapsing?" he said.

"The elephants know all about it," they replied.

He asked the elephants. "We don't know," they said, "the lions know."

But the lions said, "We don't know, the tigers know."

The tigers said, "The rhinoceroses know."

The rhinoceroses said, "The wild oxen know."

The wild oxen, "the buffaloes."

The buffaloes, "the elks."

The elks, "the boars."

The boars, "the deer."

The deer said, "We don't know; the hares know."

When the hares were questioned, they pointed to one particular hare and said, "This one told us."

So the Bodhisatta asked, "Is it true, sir, that the earth is breaking up?"

"Yes, sir, I saw it," said the hare.

"Where," he asked, "were you living, when you saw it?"

"Near the ocean, sir, in a grove of palms mixed with vilva trees. For as I was lying beneath the shade of a palm sapling at the foot of a vilva tree, methought, 'If this earth should break up, where shall I go?' And at that very moment I heard the sound the breaking up of the earth, and I fled."

Thought the lion, "A ripe vilva fruit evidently must have fallen on a palm leaf and made a 'thud,' and this hare jumped to the conclusion that the earth was coming to an end, and ran away. I will find out the exact truth about it."

So he reassured the herd of animals, and said, "I will take the hare and go and find out exactly whether the earth is coming to an end or not, in the place pointed out by him. Until I return, do you stay here." Then placing the hare on his back, he sprang forward with the speed of a lion, and putting the hare down in the palm grove, he said, "Come, show us the place you meant."

"I dare not, my lord," said the hare.

"Come, don't be afraid," said the lion.

The hare, not venturing to go near the vilva tree, stood afar off and cried, "Yonder, sir, is the place of dreadful sound," and so saying, he repeated the first stanza:

From the spot where I did dwell
Issued forth a fearful "thud";
What it was I could not tell,
Nor what caused it understood.

After hearing what the hare said, the lion went to the foot of the vilva tree, and saw the spot where the hare had been lying beneath the shade of the palm tree, and the ripe vilva fruit that fell on the palm leaf, and having carefully ascertained that the earth had not broken up, he placed the hare on his back and with the speed of a lion soon came again to the herd of beasts.

Then he told them the whole story, and said, "Don't be afraid." And having thus reassured the herd of beasts, he let them go.

Verily, if it had not been for the Bodhisatta at that time, all the beasts would have rushed into the sea and perished. It was all owing to the Bodhisatta that they escaped death.

Alarmed at sound of fallen fruit
A hare once ran away,
The other beasts all followed suit
Moved by that hare's dismay.
They hastened not to view the scene,
But lent a willing ear
To idle gossip, and were clean
Distraught with foolish fear.
They who to Wisdom's calm delight
And Virtue's heights attain,
Though ill example should invite,
Such panic fear disdain.



The Flight of the Beasts

Tibet

At a long distant period there stood on the shore of a lake a vilva forest. In this forest dwelt six hares. Now a vilva tree in that forest fell into the lake, thereby producing a great noise. When the six hares heard this noise, they began, as they had but small bodies, to run away full of fear.

The jackals saw them running, and asked, "O honored ones, wherefore do ye run?"

The hares replied, "There was a great noise." Thereupon the jackals also took to flight.

When the monkeys saw them running they asked, "O honored ones, wherefore do ye run?"

The jackals replied, "There was a great noise." Thereupon the monkeys also took to flight.

When the gazelles saw them running they asked, "O honored ones, wherefore do ye run?"

The monkeys replied, "There was a great noise." Thereupon the gazelles also took to flight.

When the boars saw them running they asked, "O honored ones, wherefore do ye run?"

The gazelles replied, "There was a noise." Thereupon the boars also took to flight.

When the buffaloes saw them running they asked, "O honored ones, wherefore do ye run? "

The boars replied, "There was a noise." Thereupon the buffaloes also took to flight.

When the rhinoceroses saw them running they asked, "O honored ones, wherefore do ye run?"

The buffaloes replied, "There was a noise." Thereupon the rhinoceroses also took to flight.

When the elephants saw them running they asked, "O honored ones, wherefore do ye run?"

The rhinoceroses replied, "There was a noise." Thereupon the elephants also took to flight.

When the bears saw them running they asked, "O honored ones, wherefore do ye run?"

The elephants replied, "There was a noise." Thereupon the bears also took to flight.

When the hyenas saw them running they asked, "O honored ones, wherefore do ye run?"

The bears replied, "There was a noise." Thereupon the hyenas also took to flight.

When the panthers saw them running they asked, "O honored ones, wherefore do ye run?"

The hyenas replied, "There was a noise." Thereupon the panthers also took to flight.

When the tigers saw them running they asked, "O honored ones, wherefore do ye run?"

The panthers replied, "There was a noise." Thereupon the tigers also took to flight.

When the lions saw them running they asked, "O honored ones, wherefore do ye run?"

The tigers replied, "There was a loud noise." Thereupon the lions also took to flight.

At the foot of the mountain there dwelt a maned lion, which likewise seemed to wear a diadem. When it saw the lions running it asked, "O honored ones, wherefore do ye all run, although each of you is strong in claws and strong in teeth?"

The lions replied, "There was a loud noise."

"O honored ones, whence did the noise come?" it asked.

"We do not know," they replied.

Then said that lion, "O honored ones, do not run. Inquiry must be made as to where the noise came from."

It asked the tigers, "Who told you about it?"

The tigers replied, "The panthers."

It asked the panthers, "Who was it told you?"

The panthers replied, "The hyenas."

It asked the hyenas, "Who was it told you?"

The hyenas replied, "The bears."

It asked the bears, "Who was it told you?"

The bears replied, "The elephants."

It asked the elephants, "Who was it told you ?"

The elephants replied, "The rhinoceroses."

It asked the rhinoceroses, "Who was it told you?"

The rhinoceroses replied, "The buffaloes."

It asked the buffaloes, "Who was it told you?"

The buffaloes replied, "The boars."

It asked the boars, "Who was it told you?"

The boars replied, "The gazelles."

It asked the gazelles, "Who was it told you?"

The gazelles replied, "The monkeys."

It asked the monkeys, "Who was it told you?"

The monkeys replied, "The jackals."

It asked the jackals, "Who was it told you?"

The jackals replied, "The hares."

It asked the hares, "Who was it told you?"

The hares replied, "We saw the terrible thing with our own eyes. Come, we will show you whence the noise came." So they guided the lion, and showed it the vilva forest, saying, "That is where the noise came from."

Inasmuch as the noise was caused by the fall of a vilva tree out of that forest into the lake, the lion said, "O honored ones, be not afraid, for that was only an empty sound."

Consequently they were all tranquillized. And a deity uttered this verse, "Let not men believe in words. They ought to see everything for themselves. Observe how, through the fall of a vilva, the forest lost its beasts."




The Story of Chicken-Licken

England

As Chicken-Licken went one day to the wood, an acorn fell upon her poor bald pate, and she thought the sky had fallen. So she said she would go and tell the king that the sky had fallen. So Chicken-Licken turned back, and met Hen-Len.

"Well, Hen-Len, where are you going?"

And Hen-Len said, "I'm going to the wood for some meat."

And Chicken-Licken said, "Oh! Hen-Len, don't go, for I was going, and the sky fell upon my poor bald pate, and I'm going to tell the king."

So Hen-Len turned back with Chicken-Licken, and met Cock-Lock. "Oh! Cock-Lock, where are you going?"

And Cock-Lock said, "I'm going to the wood for some meat." Then Hen-Len said, "Oh! Cock-Lock, don't go, for I was going, and I met Chicken-Licken, and Chicken-Licken had been at the wood, and the sky had fallen on her poor bald pate, and we are going to tell the king."

So Cock-Lock turned back, and met Duck-Luck. "Well, Duck-Luck, where are you going?"

And Duck-Luck said, "I'm going to the wood for some meat."

Then Cock-Lock said, "Oh! Duck-Luck, don't go, for I was going, and I met Hen-Len, and Hen-Len met Chicken-Licken, and Chicken-Licken had been at the wood, and the sky had fallen on her poor bald pate, and we are going to tell the king."

So Duck-Luck turned back, and met Drake-Lake.

"Well, Drake-Lake, where are you going?" And Drake-Lake said, "I'm going to the wood for some meat."

Then Duck-Luck said, "Oh! Drake-Lake, don't go, for I was going, and I met Cock-Lock, and Cock-Lock met Hen-Len, and Hen-Len met Chicken-Licken, and Chicken-Licken had been at the wood, and the sky had fallen on her poor bald pate, and we are going to tell the king."

So Drake-Lake turned back, and met Goose-Loose. "Well, Goose-Loose, where are you going?"

And Goose-Loose said, "I'm going to the wood for some meat."

Then Drake-Lake said, "Oh! Goose-Loose, don't go, for I was going, and I met Duck-Luck, and Duck-Luck met Cock-Lock, and Cock-Lock met Hen-Len, and Hen-Len met Chicken-Licken, and Chicken-Licken had been at the wood, and the sky had fallen on her poor bald pate, and we are going to tell the king."

So Goose-Loose turned back, and met Gander-Lander. " Well, Gander-Lander, where are you going?"

And Gander-Lander said, "I'm going to the wood for some meat."

Then Goose-Loose said, "Oh! Gander-Lander, don't go, for I was going, and I met Drake-Lake, and Drake-Lake met Duck-Luck, and Duck-Luck met Cock-Lock, and Cock-Lock met Hen-Len, and Hen-Len met Chicken-Licken, and Chicken-Licken had been at the wood, and the sky had fallen on her poor bald pate, and we are going to tell the king."

So Gander-Lander turned back, and met Turkey-Lurkey. "Well, Turkey-Lurkey, where are you going?"

And Turkey-Lurkey said, "I'm going to the wood for some meat." Then Gander-Lander said, "Oh! Turkey-Lurkey, don't go, for I was going, and I met Goose-Loose, and Goose-Loose met Drake-Lake, and Drake-Lake met Duck-Luck, and Duck-Luck met Cock-Lock, and Cock-Lock met Hen-Len, and Hen-Len met Chicken-Licken, and Chicken-Licken had been at the wood, and the sky had fallen on her poor bald pate, and we are going to tell the king."

So Turkey-Lurkey turned back, and walked with Gander-Lander, Goose-Loose, Drake-Lake, Duck-Luck, Cock-Lock, Hen-Len, and Chicken-Licken. And as they were going along, they met Fox-lox.

And Fox-Lox said, " Where are you going, my pretty maids?"

And they said, "Chicken-licken went to the wood, and the sky fell upon her poor bald pate, and we are going to tell the king."

And Fox-Lox said, "Come along with me, and I will show you the way."

But Fox-Lox took them into the fox's hole, and he and his young ones soon ate up poor Chicken-Licken, Hen-Len, Cock-Lock, Duck-Luck, Drake-Lake, Goose-Loose, Gander-Lander, and Turkey-Lurkey, and they never saw the king, to tell him that the sky had fallen!




Henny-Penny and Her Fellow Travelers

Scotland

A hen was picking at a stack of pea-straw when a pea fell on her head, and she thought the sky was falling. And she thought she would go and tell the king about it. And she went, and went, and went, and she met a cock.

And he said, "Where are you going this day, Henny-Penny?"

And she says, "I'm going to tell the king the sky is falling."

And he says, "I'll go with you, Henny-Penny."

And they went, and they went, and they went. And they met a duck. And the duck says, "Where are you going this day, Cocky-Locky, Henny-Penny?"

"We're going to tell the king the sky is falling."

"I'll go with you, Cocky-Locky, Henny-Penny."

"Then come along, Ducky-Daddles."

And they went, and they went, and they went. And they met a goose. And the goose says, "Where are you going this day, Ducky-Daddles, Cocky-Locky, Henny-Penny?"

"We're going to tell the king the sky is falling."

And he says, "I'll go with you, Ducky-Daddles, Cocky-Locky, Henny-Penny."

"Then come along, Goosie-Poosey," said they.

And they went, and they went, and they went, till they came to a wood, and there they met a fox. And the fox says, "Where are you going this day, Goosie-Poosey, Ducky-Daddles, Cocky-Locky, Henny-Penny?"

"We're going to tell the king the sky is falling."

And he says, "Come along, and I'll show you the road, Goosie-Poosey, Ducky-Daddles, Cocky-Locky, Henny-Penny."

And they went, and they went, and they went, till they came to the fox's hole. And he shoved them all in, and he and his young ones ate them all up, and they never got to tell the king the sky was falling.




Henny-Penny

England/Australia

One day Henny-Penny was picking up corn in the cornyard when -- whack! -- something hit her upon the head.

"Goodness gracious me!" said Henny-Penny; "the sky's a-going to fall; I must go and tell the king."

So she went along and she went along and she went along till she met Cocky-Locky.

"Where are you going, Henny-Penny?" says Cocky-Locky.

"Oh! I'm going to tell the king the sky's a-falling," says Henny-Penny.

"May I come with you?" says Cocky-Locky.

"Certainly," says Henny-Penny. So Henny-Penny and Cocky-Locky went to tell the king the sky was falling.

They went along, and they went along, and they went along, till they met Ducky-Daddles.

"Where are you going to, Henny-Penny and Cocky-Locky?" says Ducky-Daddles.

"Oh! we're going to tell the king the sky's a-falling," said Henny-Penny and Cocky-Locky.

"May I come with you?" says Ducky-Daddles.

"Certainly," said Henny-Penny and Cocky-Locky. So Henny-Penny, Cocky-Locky, and Ducky-Daddles went to tell the king the sky was a-falling.

So they went along, and they went along, and they went along, till they met Goosey-Poosey.

"Where are you going to, Henny-Penny, Cocky-Locky, and Ducky-Daddles?" said Goosey-Poosey.

"Oh! we're going to tell the king the sky's a-falling," said Henny-Penny and Cocky-Locky and Ducky-Daddles.

"May I come with you," said Goosey-Poosey.

"Certainly," said Henny-Penny, Cocky-Locky and Ducky-Daddles. So Henny-Penny, Cocky-Locky, Ducky-Daddles, and Goosy-Poosey went to tell the king the sky was a-falling.

So they went along, and they went along, and they went along, till they met Turkey-Lurkey.

"Where are you going, Henny-Penny, Cocky-Locky, Ducky-Daddles, and Goosey-Poosey?" says Turkey-Lurkey.

"Oh! we're going to tell the king the sky's a-falling," said Henny-Penny, Cocky-Locky, Ducky-Daddles, and Goosey-Poosey.

"May I come with you? Henny-Penny, Cocky-Locky, Ducky-Daddles, and Goosey-Poosey?" said Turkey-Lurkey.

"Oh, certainly, Turkey-Lurkey," said Henny-Penny, Cocky-Locky, Ducky-Daddles, and Goosey-Poosey.

So Henny-Penny, Cocky-Locky, Ducky-Daddles, Goosey-Poosey, and Turkey-Lurkey all went to tell the king the sky was a-falling.

So they went along, and they went along, and they went along, till they met Foxy-Woxy, and Foxy-Woxy said to Henny-Penny, Cocky-Locky, Ducky-Daddles, Goosey-Poosey, and Turkey-Lurkey: "Where are you going, Henny-Penny, Cocky-Locky, Ducky-Daddles, Goosey-Poosey, and Turkey-Lurkey?"

And Henny-Penny, Cocky-Locky, Ducky-Daddles, Goosey-Poosey, and Turkey-Lurkey said to Foxy-Woxy: "We're going to tell the king the sky's a-falling."

"Oh! but this is not the way to the king, Henny-Penny, Cocky-Locky, Ducky-Daddles, Goosey-Poosey, and Turkey-Lurkey," says Foxy-Woxy. "I know the proper way; shall I show it you?"

"Oh certainly, Foxy-Woxy," said Henny-Penny, Cocky-Locky, Ducky-Daddles, Goosey-Poosey, and Turkey-Lurkey.

So Henny-Penny, Cocky-Locky, Ducky-Daddles, Goosey-Poosey, Turkey-Lurkey, and Foxy-Woxy all went to tell the king the sky was a-falling.

So they went along, and they went along, and they went along, till they came to a narrow and dark hole. Now this was the door of Foxy-Woxy's cave.

But Foxy-Woxy said to Henny-Penny, Cocky-Locky, Ducky-Daddles, Goosey-Poosey, and Turkey-Lurkey: "This is the short way to the king's palace; you'll soon get there if you follow me. I will go first and you come after, Henny-Penny, Cocky-Locky, Ducky-Daddles, Goosey-Poosey, and Turkey-Lurkey."

"Why of course, certainly, without doubt, why not?" said Henny-Penny, Cocky-Locky, Ducky-Daddles, Goosey-Poosey, and Turkey-Lurkey.

So Foxy-Woxy went into his cave, and he didn't go very far but turned round to wait for Henny-Penny, Cocky-Locky, Ducky-Daddles, Goosey-Poosey, and Turkey-Lurkey. So at last at first Turkey-Lurkey went through the dark hole into the cave.

He hadn't got far when "Hrumph," Foxy-Woxy snapped off Turkey-Lurkey's head and threw his body over his left shoulder. Then Goosey-Poosey went in, and "Hrumph," off went her head and Goosey-Poosey was thrown beside Turkey-Lurkey. Then Ducky-Daddles waddled down, and "Hrumph," snapped Foxy-Woxy, and Ducky-Daddles' head was off and Ducky-Daddles was thrown alongside Turkey-Lurkey and Goosey-Poosey. Then Cocky-Locky strutted down into the cave and he hadn't gone far when "Snap, Hrumph!" went Foxy-Woxy and Cocky-Locky was thrown alongside of Turkey-Lurkey, Goosey-Poosey and Ducky-Daddles.

But Foxy-Woxy had made two bites at Cocky-Locky, and when the first snap only hurt Cocky-Locky, but didn't kill him, he called out to Henny-Penny. But she turned tail and off she ran home, so she never told the king the sky was a-falling.




The End of the World

Ireland

A hen was standing under a hazel-tree one day, and a nut fell on her tail. Away she ran to the cock, and says she, "Cocky Locky, the end of the world is come."

"How do you know, Henny Penny?" says he.

"Oh, a nut fell on my tail just now."

"If that be so, we have nothing for it but to run away."

So they ran till they met the duck. "Oh, Ducky Lucky, the end of the world is come."

"How do you know, Cocky Locky?"

"Oh, a nut fell just now on Henny Penny's tail."

"If that be so, we must run for it."

When they were pegging off, they met the goose. "Oh, Goosey Poosey, the end of the world is come."

"How do you know, Ducky Lucky?"

"A nut fell on Henny Penny's tail just now."

"If that be the case, we are done for."

They met the fox. "Oh, Foxy Coxy, the world is come to an end."

"How do you know that, Goosey Poosey?"

"Oh, a nut fell on Henny Penny's tail."

"Then let us be off."

So they got into the wood, and says Foxy Coxy, "Let me count if all are safe. I, Foxy Coxy, one; you, Goosey Poosey, two; Ducky Lucky, three; Cocky Locky, four; Henny Penny, five. Number five, I'll put you in a safe place where the end of the world won't hurt you."

So he took Henny Penny behind a hush and put her out of pain. "Now," says he, coming back, "let us count if all the rest are safe. I, Foxy Coxy, one; you, Goosey Poosey, two; etc., etc. Number four, I'll put you in a place where you'll be safe when the end of the world comes."

He took him behind another bush, etc., etc., etc. "Now let me see if all the rest are here. I, Foxy Coxy, one; etc., etc., etc." and so on till he put the fear of the world's end out of every one of them.




The Cock and the Hen That Went to Dovrefjell

Norway

Once upon a time there was a hen that had flown up and perched on an oak tree for the night. When the night came, she dreamed that unless she got to Dovrefjell, the world would come to an end. So that very minute she jumped down, and set out on her way. When she had walked a bit she met a cock.

"Good day, Cocky-Locky," said the hen.

"Good day, Henny-Penny," said the cock. "Where are you going so early?"

"Oh, I'm going to Dovrefjell, that the world won't come to an end," said the hen.

"Who told you that, Henny-Penny?" asked the cock.

"I sat in the oak and dreamed it last night," said the hen.

"I'll go with you," said the cock.

Well, they walked on a good bit, and then they met a duck.

"Good day, Ducky-Lucky," said the cock.

"Good day, Cocky-Locky" said the duck. "Where are you going so early?"

"Oh, I'm going to Dovrefjell, that the world won't come to an end," said the cock.

"Who told you that, Cocky-Locky?"

"Henny-Penny," said the cock.

"Who told you that, Henny-Penny?" asked the duck.

"I sat in the oak and dreamed it last night," said the hen.

"I'll go with you," said the duck.

So they went off together, and after a bit they met a goose.

"Good day, Goosey-Poosey," said the duck.

"Good day, Ducky-Lucky," said the goose. "Where are you going so early?"

"I'm going to Dovrefjell, that the world won't come to an end," said the duck.

"Who told you that, Ducky-Lucky?" asked the goose.

"Cocky-Locky."

"Who told you that, Cocky-Locky?"

"Henny-Penny."

"How do you know that, Henny-Penny?" said the goose.

"I sat in the oak and dreamed it last night, Goosey-Poosey," said the hen.

"I'll go with you," said the goose.

Now when they had all walked along for a bit, a fox met them.

"Good day, Foxy-Cocksy," said the goose.

"God day, Goosey-Poosey."

"Where are you going, Foxy-Cocksy?"

"Where are you going yourself, Goosey-Poosey?"

"I'm going to Dovrefjell, that the world won't come to an end," said the goose.

"Who told you that, Goosey-Poosey?" asked the fox.

"Ducky-Lucky."

"Who told you that, Ducky-Lucky?"

"Cocky-Locky."

"Who told you that, Cocky-Locky?"

"Henny-Penny."

"How do you know that, Henny-Penny?"

"I sat in the oak and dreamed last night, that if we don't get to Dovrefjell, the world will come to an end," said the hen.

"Stuff and nonsense," said the fox. "The world won't come to an end if you don't go there. No, come home with me to my den. That's far better, for it's warm and jolly there."

Well, they went home with the fox to his den, and when they got inside, the fox laid on lots of fuel, so that they all got very sleepy. The duck and the goose, they settled themselves down in a corner, but the cock and hen flew up on a post. So when the goose and duck were well asleep, the fox took the goose and laid him on the embers, and roasted him. The hen smelled the strong roast meat, and sprang up to a higher peg, and said, half asleep, "Phooey, what a nasty smell! What a nasty smell!"

"Oh, stuff!" said the fox. "It's only the smoke driven down the chimney. Go to sleep again, and hold your tongue." So the hen went off to sleep again.

Now the fox had hardly got the goose well down his throat, before he did the very same with the duck. He took and laid him on the embers, and roasted him for a dainty bit.

Then the hen woke up again, and sprang up to a higher peg still. "Phooey, what a nasty smell! What a nasty smell!" she said again, and when she got her eyes open, and came to see how the fox and eaten two of them, both the goose and the duck. So she flew up to the highest peg of all, and perched there, and peeped up through the chimney.

"Nay, nay, just see what a lovely lot of geese are flying over there," she said to the fox.

Out ran Reynard to fetch a fat roast. But while he was gone, the hen woke up the cock and told him how it had gone with Goosey-Poosey and Ducky-Lucky. And so Cocky-Locky and Henny-Penny flew out through the chimney, and if they hadn't got to Dovrefjell, it surely would have been all over with the world.




The Little Chicken Kluk and His Companions

Denmark

There was once a little chicken called Kluk. A nut fell on his back, and gave him such a blow that he fell down and rolled on the ground. So he ran to the hen, and said, "Henny Penny, run, I think all the world is falling!"

"Who has told thee that, little chicken Kluk?"

"Oh, a nut fell on my back, and struck me so that I rolled on the ground."

"Then let us run," said the hen.

So they ran to the cock, and said, " Cocky Locky, run, I think all the world is falling."

"Who has told thee that, Henny Penny? "

"Little chicken Kluk."

"Who told thee that, little chicken Kluk?"

"Oh, a nut fell on my back, and struck me so that I rolled on the ground."

"Then let us run," said the cock. So they ran to the duck, and said, "Ducky Lucky, run, I think all the world is falling."

"Who told thee that, Cocky Locky?"

"Henny Penny."

"Who has told thee that, Henny Penny?"

"Little chicken Kluk."

"Who has told thee that, little chicken Kluk?"

"Oh, a nut fell on my back, and struck me so that I rolled on the ground."

"Then let us run," said the duck. So they ran to the goose. "Goosy Poosy, run, I think all the world is falling."

"Who has told thee that, Ducky Lucky?"

"Cocky Locky."

"Who has told thee that, Cocky Locky?"

"Henny Penny."

"Who has told thee that, Henny Penny ?"

"Little chicken Kluk."

"Who has told thee that, little chicken Kluk?"

"Oh, a nut fell on my back, and struck me so, that I rolled on the ground.

"Then let us run," said the goose. Then they ran to the fox, and said, Foxy Coxy, run, I think all the world is falling."

"Who has told thee that, Goosy Poosy?"

"Ducky Lucky."

"Who has told thee that, Ducky Lucky?"

"Cocky Locky."

"Who has told thee that, Cocky Locky?"

"Henny Penny."

"Who has told thee that, Henny Penny?"

"Little chicken Kluk."

"Who has told thee that, little chicken Kluk?"

"Oh, a nut fell on my back, and struck me so, that I rolled on the ground."

"Then let us run," said the fox. So they all ran into the wood. Then the fox said, "I must now count and see if I have got you all here. I, Foxy Coxy, one; Goosy Poosy, two; Ducky Lucky, three; Cocky Locky, four; Henny Penny, five; and little chicken Kluk, six ; Hei ! That one I'll snap up."

He then said : "Let us run."

So they ran further into the wood. Then said he, Now I must count and see if I have got you all here. I, Foxy Coxy, one; Goosy Poosy, two; Ducky Lucky, three; Cocky Locky, four; Henny Penny, five; Hei! That one I'll snap up." And so he went on till he had eaten them all up.




The End of the World

Flanders

Once upon a time an old woman sat spinning in a room at the top of a high tower. Beneath her chair Chaton, her cat, lay peacefully sleeping. All of a sudden the spinning wheel jarred and made a loud creaking sound. Startled out of his sleep, Chaton the Cat rushed out of the room and bolted down the stairs as though a thousand demons were at his heels.

In the yard he passed the house dog who was sitting in front of his kennel.

"Hallo, Chaton!" cried the dog. "Where are you going to in such a hurry?"

"I am fleeing the country," answered Chaton. "I have just heard the sounding of the last trump! The end of the world is at hand!"

"If that is so," said the dog, "I would like to run away too. May I come with you?"

"Certainly," answered Chaton. "Seat yourself on my beautiful curly tail."

So the dog perched himself on the cat s tail, and off they went together. A little farther on they came to the farm gate, and there, perched on the topmost rail, was the cock.

"Whither away, Chaton?" asked the cock. "You seem to be in haste."

"Yes," said Chaton. "I have heard the last trump, which proves that the world is coming to an end, and I want to get safely away before that happens."

"Take me with you, Chaton dear," said the cock.

"By all means," answered the cat. "Jump on to my beautiful curly tail beside the dog."

So the cock perched himself on Chaton's tail, and now there were two passengers. Away went the cat even faster than before, so as to make up for lost time, and presently they passed a rabbit who was nibbling the grass in a field.

"Chaton, Chaton," cried the rabbit, "why are you running so quickly?"

"Don't stop me!" answered the cat. "I've heard the last trump! The end of the world is coming!"

"Oh, dear me!" cried the rabbit. "What an unfortunate thing! Don't leave me here, Chaton, for I am afraid to face the end of the world."

"Very well," said Chaton. "Jump on to my beautiful curly tail with the dog and the cock, and I'll take you with me."

So the rabbit also perched himself on the cat's tail, and now there were three of them riding there. Off went the cat again, but not so quickly this time, because of the weight on his tail, and before very long he came to a pond by the side of which a goose was standing.

"Now then, now then, what's the hurry?" asked the goose. "If you run so fast you'll overheat your blood and die of a fever."

"It's all very well to scoff," answered the cat, "but you must know that the end of the world is coming. I have heard the last trump sound!"

"My goodness!" said the goose. "This is dreadful! Take me with you, Chaton, and I'll be grateful for ever."

"Very well," said the cat. "Jump on to my beautiful curly tail with the dog and the fox and the rabbit."

So the goose also perched herself on the cat's tail, so now there were four passengers, and that made five altogether who were running away to escape the end of the world. All that day the cat kept on running, and towards dusk they came to a forest.

"This seems a good place to rest," said Chaton. "Now then, master cock, fly to the top of a tree and see if you can espy a house in which we can take shelter."

The cock flew to the top of a high tree and from there he saw a number of lights twinkling in the distance. The five fugitives thereupon set off in the direction from which the lights shone, and before long they came to a little village. All the people of the village had left their houses and were gathered together in the square, round a man dressed all in red, with a big red feather in his cap, who was addressing them.

Chaton and his companions pressed close to the edge of the crowd and were just in time to hear these words: "Whoever finds the ring," said the man with the red feather," and places it on the table in my palace tomorrow before dawn, shall have the five bags of gold which hang on my saddle bow." Having said this, the man in red mounted his horse and rode away.

Chaton went up to a little peasant who was standing in the crowd. "Tell me, gossip," said he, "who is the man with the red feather, and what's all this about a ring and five bags of gold?"

"Why," said the peasant, "the man in red is the king of this country. He had a valuable ring which was kept in a tiny wooden case on the table by his bed. This afternoon a magpie flew in through the window, snatched up the case, and bore it away to its nest in the topmost boughs of the walnut tree on the village green. The king wants his ring back again, and will give the five bags of gold to anybody who will recover it for him."

"I see," said Chaton; "and why don't you climb the walnut tree and get the ring?"

"Because I have too much respect for my neck," answered the peasant, "and so has everybody else here. The boughs at the top of the tree where the nest is are so thin and slender that they would not bear the weight of a child, let alone a grown man. Gold is good, but whole limbs are better, that's what I say!"

"And I!"

"And I!" echoed other villagers who had been listening to this conversation.

"In my belief you are quite right," said Chaton seriously. "Let the king risk his own life if he is so anxious to recover his ring."

But afterwards, when he had withdrawn with his companions to the shelter of the wood, he sang a different tune. "My friends," said he, "our fortunes are made! As soon as all is quiet I will climb the tree and get the ring; then you shall sit on my tail again and we'll all go off together to the king's palace and get the bags of gold!"

He danced for joy, and the dog and the cock and the goose and the rabbit danced with him. An hour afterwards the cat climbed the tree and came down safely with the little wooden box. The rabbit gnawed it open with his teeth, and sure enough there was the ring inside it.

"Now," said Chaton, "we will all go to the king's palace, but I am very tired with running all day. I propose that the dog takes a turn at carrying us."

This was agreed. The other four got on to the dog's back and clung there while he ambled off as fast as he could along the road towards the palace. Just before dawn they came to a wide river. Now it was the turn of the goose to work for the common good. She was quite used to the water, and one by one she took the other animals across on her back. Shortly afterwards they arrived at the king's palace, and the cock flew up through the open window of the king's room with the ring in his beak, and placed it on the table by the bed. Then he awoke the king with a loud crow and claimed the reward, which was willingly given.

In great glee at their good fortune the animals went on their way, each with his bag of gold, and every one of them had by this time quite forgotten his fear about the coming of the end of the world. They went on and on until they came to a place where five ways met.

Then Chaton said, "Here we are at the parting of the ways. Let us each choose a road, and part good friends."

At this moment there came along a pig with a knife and fork stuck in his back. In his right ear was salt; in his left ear pepper, and mustard was on his tail, so that everybody who was hungry had only to cut themselves a slice of meat and sit down to feast.

Our friends gladly availed themselves of this good chance, and I who tell you this story would willingly have done the same, but as soon as I went up to the pig, he ran at me with his head down and sent me flying through the air, and through the window of my house, where I fell into the chair in which I am now sitting, finishing this story of the wonderful adventures of Chaton, the dog, the cock, the rabbit, and the goose.




Brother Rabbit Takes Some Exercise

African American

One night while the little boy was sitting in Uncle Remus's cabin, waiting for the old man to finish his hoe-cake, and refresh his memory as to the further adventures of Brother Rabbit, his friends and his enemies, something dropped upon the top of the house with a noise like the crack of a pistol. The little boy jumped, but Uncle Remus looked up and exclaimed, "Ah-yi!" in a tone of triumph.

"What was that, Uncle Remus?" the child asked, after waiting a moment to see what else would happen.

"New from Jack Frost, honey. When that hickory-nut tree out there hears him coming, she begins to drop what she's got. I'm mighty glad," he continued, scraping the burnt crust from hi hoe-cake with an old case-knife. "I'm mighty glad hickory nuts aren't as big and heavy as grindstones."

He waited a moment to see what effect this queer statement would have on the child.

"Yes, sir, I'm might glad, that I am. Because if hickory nuts were as big as grindstones, this here old calaboose would be leaking long before Christmas."

Just then another hickory nut dropped upon the roof, and the little boy jumped again. This seemed to amuse Uncle Remus, and he laughed until he was near to choking himself with his smoking hoe-cake.

"You are doing exactly what old Brer Rabbit did, I declare to gracious if you aren't," the old man cried, as soon as he could get his breath. "Exactly for the world."

The child was immensely flattered, and at once he wanted to know how Brother Rabbit did. Uncle Remus was in such good humor that he needed no coaxing. He pushed his spectacles back on he forehead, wiped him mouth on his sleeve, and began:

It came about that early one morning towards the fall of the year Brer Rabbit was stirring around in the woods after some bergamot to use for making him some hair grease. The wind was blowing so cold that it made him feel right frisky, and every time he heard the bushes rattle, it seemed to scare him. He was going on this way, hoppity-skippity, when by and by he heard Mr. Man cutting on a tree way off in the woods. He sat up, Brer Rabbit did, and listened first with one ear and then with the other.

The man, he cut and cut, and Brer Rabbit, he listened and listened. By and by, while all this was going on, down came the tree: kubber-lang-bang-blam! Brer Rabbit, he took and jumped just like you jumped, and not only that, he made a break, he did, and he leaped out of as though the dogs were after him.

"Was he scared, Uncle Remus?" asked the little boy.

"Scared! Who? Him? Shoo! Don't you fret yourself about Brer Rabbit, honey. In those days there was nothing going that could scare Brer Rabbit. To be sure, he took care of himself, and if you know anyone who refuses to take care of himself, I would mighty well like you to point him out. Indeed I would!" Uncle Remus seemed to boil over wit argumentative indignation.

Well then, he continued, Brer Rabbit ran until he sort of got heated up, and about the time he was getting ready to squat and catch his wind, who should he meet but Brer Coon going home after sitting up with old Brer Bull-Frog. Brer Coon saw him running, and he hailed him, "What's your hurry, Brer Rabbit?"

"Haven't got time to tarry."

"Folks sick?"

"No, my Lord! Haven't got time to tarry!"

"Trying out your suppleness?"

"No, my Lord! Haven't got time to tarry!"

"Do pray, Brer Rabbit, tell me the news!"

"Mighty big fuss back there in the woods. Haven't got time to tarry!"

This made Brer Coon feel might skittish, because he was far from home, and he just leaped out, he did, and he went a-boiling through the woods. Brer Coon hadn't gone far until he met Brer Fox.

"Hey, Brer Coon, where are you going?"

"Haven't got time to tarry!"

"Going to the doctor?"

"No, my Lord! Haven't got time to tarry!"

Do pry, Brer Coon, tell me the news."

Mighty queer racket back there in the woods! Haven't got time to tarry!

With that, Brer Fox leaped out, he did, and fairly split the wind. He hadn't gone far until he met Brer Wolf.

"Hey, Brer Fox! Stop and rest yourself!"

"Haven't got time to tarry!"

"Who is wanting the doctor?"

"No one, my Lord! Haven't got time to tarry."

"Do pray, Brer Fox, good or bad, tell me the news."

"Mighty curious fuss back there in the woods! Haven't got time to tarry!"

With that, Brer Wolf shook himself loose from the face of the earth, and he didn't get far until he met Brer Bear. Brer Bear, he asked, and Brer Wolf made an answer, and by and by Brer Bear snorted and ran off. And, bless gracious, it wasn't long before the last one of the creatures was a-skaddling through the woods as though the Old Boy were after them, and all because Brer Rabbit heard Mr. Man cut a tree down.

They ran and they ran, Uncle Remus went on, until they them to Brer Terrapin's house, and they sort of slacked up, because they had nearly lost their wind. Brer Terrapin, he up an asked them where they were going, and they said there was a monstrous, terrifying racket back there in the woods. Brer Terrapin, he asked what it sounded like. One said he didn't know; the other said he didn't know; and they all said they didn't know. This made old Brer Terrapin laugh way down in his insides, and he up and said, "You all can run along if you feel skittish," he said. "After I cook my breakfast and wash up the dishes, and if I get wind of any suspicious racket, maybe I might just take down my parasol and follow along after you," he said.

When the creatures came to ask one another about who started the news, it went right back to Brer Rabbit, but low and behold, Brer Rabbit wasn't there! It turned out that Brer Coon was the one who had seen him last. Then they got to laying the blame of it on one or the other, until they almost began to fight, but then old Brer Terrapin, he up and said that if they wanted to straighten it out, they'd better go see Brer Rabbit.

All the creatures agreed, the they started out for Brer Rabbit's house. When they got there, Brer Rabbit was sitting cross-legged on the front porch winking his eyes at the sun.

Brer Bear spoke up, "What made you fool me, Brer Rabbit?"

"Fool who, Brer Bear?"

"Me, Brer Rabbit, that's who."

"This is the first time I've seen you today, Brer Bear, and you are more than welcome at that."

They all asked him and got the same answer, and then Brer Coon put in, "What made you fool me, Brer Rabbit?"

"How did I fool you, Brer Coon?"

"You made like there was a big racket, Brer Rabbit."

"What kind of a racket, Brer Rabbit?"

"Ah-yi! You should have asked me that first, Brer Coon."

"I'm asking you now, Brer Rabbit."

"Mr. Man cut a tree down, Brer Coon."

Of course this made Brer Coon feel like a natural-born slink, and it wasn't long before all the creatures made their bows to Brer Rabbit and moseyed off home.

"Brother Rabbit had the best of it all along," said the little boy, after waiting to see whether there was a sequel to the story.

"Oh, did he ever!" exclaimed Uncle Remus. "Brer Rabbit was a mighty man in those days."




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Revised November 11, 2014.