Grimm’s Grimmest – The Death of the Little Hen
Then the little hen finds a large, large nut. But the little hen intends to eat the kernel herself, saying nothing to the little rooster.
However, the kernel is so big that she chokes on it. Crying for help from the little rooster, she asks for some water from the well or she will surely choke to death.
The little rooster runs to the well, explaining the situation to the well. But the well asks him to run to the bride and retrieve some red silk from her.
The little rooster runs to the bride, explaining the situation to the bride. But once again the rooster is asked to retrieve something else before being helped; the bride asks him to retrieve her veil.
So the little rooster retrieves the bride’s veil, and the bride gives him some red silk in return. The little rooster gives the red silk to the well, which gives him some water.
But when the little rooster arrives, the little hen is dead.
The little rooster is so upset that he cries aloud, bringing the death of the little hen to the other animal’s attention. Six mice build a carriage to carry the little hen to her grave.
With the finished carriage, the little rooster drives and on the way meets a fox. Explaining the situation, the fox accompanies the little rooster.
Then the wolf, the bear, the elk, the lion, and all the animals in the forest join the journey to the little hen’s grave until they come to a brook.
A straw offers to be driven over, but the six mice step on the straw and slip in the water, drowning.
They do not know what to do until a coal arrives and offers to be driven over. Unfortunately when the coal touches the water, it hisses and goes out; it was dead.
A stone comes to help the little rooster, laying down in the water. The little rooster pulls the carriage himself; but with all the animals’ weight in the back, the carriage rolls back. They all fall into the water and drown.
Now the little rooster is all alone with the dead little hen. He digs a grave for her, grieving over her grave so long that he dies. And then everyone is dead.
Death is a prominent element in Grimm fairytales, whether it is the cause of the stories or the ending of the stories; it is a life lesson shown in numerous fairytales. But I am simply troubled that the little rooster never once questioned the little hen about the large, large nut and why she did not share it.