A little hen lived at the edge of a forest colony. She lived all by herself and did all her work on her own. Early in the morning she hunted around for worms in the forest; in the day she cleaned up the house; then she cooked, ate and spent the rest of her time in peace. In short, hers was a happy life.

Close by lived a middle-aged fox with his old mother. And, as you can imagine, if the fox was a little elderly, mother fox was quite definitely ancient.

One day the fox and his mother had nothing to eat at home. He had been too lazy to go hunting for food for a few days and now he wondered how best to get hold of some food without too much exertion. All of a sudden he remembered the hen.

Now the neighbourhood in which the fox and the hen lived, most of the animals adhered to the rule that neighbours should not hunt each other for food. If you belonged to another colony, it was okay. But not if you were part of the same neighbourhood. It was believed to upset neighbourly equations. So far, the fox had not much need for disobeying the injunction, either.

But lately, with more and more cutting of trees, the forest had begun to recede, and with it the animals too, had begun to disappear. It was much harder to hunt and the fox was a lazy fellow.

So he announced to his mother “I have a plan to catch that irritating hen. I will catch her and put her inside this sack. Place a pot on fire and add water. We will boil her for dinner tonight”.

Saying so, he crept up to the house of the hen.

The hen came out to pick up sticks for the fire and left the door open while doing so. The fox slipped in while her back was turned. She did not see him. He hid behind the door. As soon as the hen came in with her wood, she shut the door with a bang.

She didn’t see the fox sitting with his big fluffy tail on the floor. Imagine her shock when the fox crept up from behind her, then suddenly caught her. He forced her into the sack and tied up its mouth.

With a happy smile on his face, he began to walk to his den.

So happy was he at the prospect of eating the hen that he paid no heed to the movements inside the sack. The hen had meanwhile taken out her sharp little knife from her pocket. She cut a hole in the bag and jumped out promptly.

What's for Dinner!
What’s for Dinner! [Illustration by Shinod A P]
But immediately she picked up a great big stone and dropped it in the bag.

When the fox reached his den, he was literally salivating in anticipation. “Mother, mother, is the water boiling on the pot? For I have got a whole hen to boil in it.”

“Yes it is boiling hot. Just right for the hen,” replied the mother.

Then the fox held the bag over the boiling water. Pl….lllopppp fell the stone.
Its heaviness made the water jump out of the pot. Splashing straight into the bodies of the fox and his mother. And killing them both in the process.

After that the little hen did not find anyone bothering her in her little house in the forest.