Wednesday, January 18, 2012

"Not I," said the...

by 8RG

Anyone else remember the childhood story of 'The Little Red Hen'? It's one of those parables meant to teach a lesson about moral behavior or the basic truths of life. I remember it quite well because it was included in the set of Childcraft books that I often read.

It goes roughly like this:

There was a Little Red Hen who lived on a farm with her three friends - a dog, a cat and a duck. One day she found some seeds on the ground and decided to plant them. She asked her friends if they would help her plant the seeds.

"Not I," said the Dog.
"Not I," said the Cat.
"Not I," said the Duck.

"Alright," said the Little Red Hen, "Then I will."

Later, the seeds grew into fine stalks of wheat and again the Little Red Hen approached her friends.

"Who will help me harvest the wheat?" she asks.

"Not I," said the Dog.
"Not I," said the Cat.
"Not I," said the Duck.

"Alright," said the Little Red Hen, "Then I will."

This process repeats in the same way, through having the wheat ground into flour, and then finally into using the flour to bake a fine loaf of bread. At the end, the Little Red Hen asked her friends:

"Who will help me eat this bread?"

And they responded:

"I will!" said the Dog.
"I will!" said the Cat.
"I will!" said the Duck.

But the Little Red Hen replied:

"No. I have planted the seeds, and harvested the wheat, and ground the flour and baked the bread all alone because none of you would help me. So now I will eat this bread - all by myself."

And she did.

I really don't know if anyone will get the point I am making here by bringing this old tale up. I've learned that people will feign an intense and very convenient obtuseness when it suits them to do so. They will 'play pretend' quite a lot.

"I didn't know!"
"I didn't see that!"
"I was going to, but..."

Which is, basically, "Not I!"

Unfortunately, this just means that it will take a lot longer for any of us to get the bread, if we manage to get any at all.

Apathy is the enemy.