Henny Penny and the last corn pone

29 Jul

Henny Penny and the last corn pone

by L. Stewart Marsden

 

So Penny Henny had a hankerin’ for scratch corn pone, and sallied forth into the barnyard.

“Who-all would like some homemade corn pone?”

“Why, I sure would,” said Johnny Jack-ass.

“Wee-wee-wee would,” said the muddy pigs.

The sheep, after asking each other, “Would ewe? Would ewe?” replied “Ya-a-a-a-us!” they bleated.

“Well then, who will help me plow the field?” asked Henny.

“Well, I don’t believe so,” said Johnny Jack-ass. “That’s a bit like work!”

“Wee-wee-wee won’t,” said the muddy pigs.

“Na-a-a-a-a-t us!” the sheep shouted.

“Then I’ll just have to do it myself,” said Henny. And she did.

“Who will help me hoe the rows?” asked Henny sometime later.

“Nope,” said Johnny Jack-ass. “My favorite TV shows are comin’ on!”

“Wee-wee-wee won’t either,” said the muddy pigs.

“Na-a-a-a-a-t us!” the sheep shouted.

“Then I’ll just have to do it myself,” said Henny. And she did.

After a bit, the persistent Henny came back to the barn yard to ask,

“Who will help me plant the seed?”

“Nah. My back pain has flared up again,” said Johnny.

“Wee-wee-we’re too tired from sleeping in the mud,” grunted the pigs.

“Baaaack off, Henny!” said the sheep.

“Then I’ll do it myself,” she said.

And she did.

Well, Henny Penny hoed and weeded and watered the rows of her cornfield, and, over time, cornstalks peeked through the soil and grew in the warm sun over the next weeks. All the while she gave her farm friends the opportunity to help every step of the way. And every step of the way, her farm friends refused to help.

The corn grew and grew and grew, all while Henny Penny tended her crop.

Finally, sprouting golden tassels, the fat ears of corn were ready to pick.

“Who will help me pick the corn?” she asked of the barnyard animals.

“Oh, Henny! I am allergic to cornfields,” said Johnny Jack-ass.

“Wee-wee-we’re too too short to help,” oinked the pigs.

“We can’t be baaaaa-thered,” the sheep said.

“Then I’ll do it myself,” she said, sadly shaking her feathery head.

And she did.

And she dried the corn.

And she shucked the corn.

And she ground the corn.

And she mixed the cornmeal into a fine batter, of which she made the most scrumptious corn pone ever! Ohhh, the wonderful aroma of that corn pone wafted throughout the whole barnyard.

One by one, Johnny Jack-ass, the muddy pigs, and the mewling sheep stepped forward, their noses perked up into the air, sucking in all the wonderful aroma.

“Hello, Johnny Jack-ass. Why are you here?”

“Why, I’m here to help eat the corn pone, of course.”

“And why are you here, pigs?” she asked.

“Wee-wee-we’re hungry and want to help eat the corn pone,” they squeeled.

“And, you ewes? Why are you here?” she asked the sheep.

“To chew-chew-chew the pone,” baaed the ewes.

“Well, guys — surprising as this might be to you all, none of you is going to get a crumb of my delicious homemade corn pone,” said Henny Penny.

“WHAT!!!” the animals screamed in shock.

“You heard me. I plowed the land; I hoed the rows; I planted the seed; I weeded and watered and did everything necessary for the corn to grow nice and high. THEN, I picked and dried the corn, shucked it, and ground it for corn meal. THEN I mixed it with the ingredients and baked the corn pone. YOU . . .. did NOTHING!”

The animals screamed a flurry of things, including UNFAIR! WE’RE DOWNTRODDEN! WE ARE THE 98 PERCENT! WE DEMAND OUR SHARE! DOWN WITH LAND BARONS! SHARE THE WEALTH!

So loud was their verbal displeasure that the ruckus awoke the farmer, who came out of the farmhouse to see what the matter was.

He listened to Henny Penny, and he listened to Johnny Jack-ass, the muddy pigs, and the sheep.

He looked at the cornfield, and the corn meal, and the corn pone — which he sampled.

Then he took his tractor and scooped up nearly 60 percent of all the results of Henny Penny’s efforts, and took that pile of food and distributed it between the jack-ass, the pigs, and the sheep.

“On this farm,” he said, looking at Henny Penny very sternly, “it is one for all, and all for one.”

He then turned and walked with resolution to the farmhouse, slamming the screened door behind him.

Stunned, Henny Penny turned back to what she had left from her efforts.

Time passed.

Winter came and the jack-ass, the pigs and the sheep had eaten all of their shares of the corn pone. Henny, who had carefully parceled out her food, had enough to last her until spring.

When spring came, Henny stayed in the chicken coop.

When summer came, Henny stayed in the chicken coop.

“Hey, Penny!” called Johnny Jack-ass into the chicken coop. “Aren’t you going to plant corn this year?”

“Yeah!” grunted the pigs.

“Yeah!” said the sheep.

“No.”

“Why not?” they asked.

“I’m going to be satisfied with the chicken feed the farmer hands out,” she said.

“Makes sense,” said Johnny.

“Yup,” said the pigs.

“I agree,” said the sheep.

And there was no corn pone to be had on the farm from that time forward.

2 Responses to “Henny Penny and the last corn pone”

  1. Outlier Babe September 15, 2014 at 1:00 pm #

    Okay, you win. I Follow few, but now ewe, too.

    • skipmars September 15, 2014 at 2:14 pm #

      I am honored. Currently working on reediting Through the Glass Darkly, which I will rerelease as 2nd Edition, with some stories omitted, and others added.

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