“The Death of the Hen”
One day, a cock and hen went to the mountains for nuts. (I don’t know if these are the same cock and hen from “The Vagabonds” or not.) Anyway, they agreed to split all the nuts they found. But the hen found a big nut and decided to keep it for herself. But the nut was so big she started to choke.
The cock went to a brook to get water, but the brook wouldn’t give him water unless he had some silk from a bride. So the cock went to a bride, but she wouldn’t give him silk unless she had a garland from a willow. So the cock got the garland, gave it to the bride and got the silk. He gave the silk to the brook and got some water, but it was too late and the hen was dead.
The cock cried so loud that all the other animals came out. Six mice built a wagon for the hen and they hitched themselves to it. As they traveled, a fox, a bear, a lion, and other animals fell in behind the wagon.
They came to a brook (a different one, I believe) and didn’t know how to cross it. There was a straw (from “The Straw, the Coal, and the Bean?”) in the brook who laid himself over the brook so they could drive over. But the mice fell in and drowned.
Then a coal said he would lay across the brook, but as soon as he hit the water he died. Then a stone laid himself across the brook and the cock was able to get the wagon to the other side. Somehow, I’m not entirely sure how, but when the other animals tried to follow, the rock flipped and they all drowned.
The cock buried his hen, and then filled with grief he sat by her grave until he died.
What a nice happy story.
I guess it sucks to be in fairy tale land where you can’t just get a cup of water from a brook for your choking wife, but you have to ask permission and then run errands for the brook.
How big was this brook that a bear and lion and whatever other animals couldn’t just wade across it? And how thinks that a straw will be strong enough to support the weight of a wagon with a dead hen in it?