- ROOSTERS - STORIES AND FOLKLORE
(If you want to retell any of the stories listed below, be sure
to obtain permission from the copyright holder if the material
is not in the public domain)
The Rooster Who Would Be King. It
can be found in Marsh Cassady's Storytelling Step by Step.
2) The Little Red Hen.
• The Little Red Hen by Paul Galdone.
• The Little Red Hen (Makes a Pizza)
by Amy Walrod.
• The Little Red Hen Board Book by
• The Little Red Hen by
Public Domain and Barry Downard.
• The Little Red Hen (Easy-to-Read Folktales) by Lucinda McQueen.
3) The Rooster and the Turkish Sultan.
4) There's an 'urban' adaptation of Chicken
Little by Jay Stailey found in More Ready-To-Tell Tales from Around the World by David Holt and Bill Mooney. It's
called The Sky is Falling. It has
a great twist on the ending!
5) Little Half Chick by Rose the story lady.
http://www.rosethestorylady.com (home page)
http://www.civprod.com/storylady/start.asp?menustate=stories (story page)
8) Talking Eggs by Robert San Souci
has 1 legged chickens, 2 legged chickens, 3 legged chickens and
4-legged chickens of all colors in it.
Two sisters lived down Louisiana way long ago: Rose, who was unpleasant, mean, and the older of the two; and her younger sister, Blanche, who was "sweet and kind and sharp as forty crickets." Guess who has to do all the work for Rose and their mother? Blanche's kind and obedient nature finally pays off when she helps an old woman who has magical powers--and a chicken house full of talking eggs containing treasures for those who do as they're told: gold and silver, jewels, silk dresses, satin shoes, "even a handsome carriage that grew in a wink from the size of a matchbox...." Robert D. San Souci's lively, humorous retelling of this Creole folktale abounds with colorful expressions, and Jerry Pinkney's full-page illustrations make us believe in the marvels that Blanche finds, even the two-headed cow, square-dancing rabbits, and rainbow-colored chickens! This inspired collaboration, a 1989 Caldecott Honor Book, will delight young readers who like a captivating story with a strong heroine and a dash of mystery. (Ages 5 to 10) --Marcie Bovetz
9) Too Much Noise (Sandpiper Books) by Ann McGovern.
Kirkus Reviews: "A simple repetitive tale, equally suitable for noisy participation and for settling down to 'a very quiet dream.'"
10) Bremen Town Musicians.
• The Bremen Town Musicians (Picture Yearling Book) by Ilse Plume.
• The Bremen Town Musicians by David Johnson.
• The Bremen Town Musicians : And Other Animal Tales from Grimm by Doris Orgel.
• The Bremen Town Musicians: Green Level (Read-It! Readers) by Eric Blair.
• The Bremen Town Musicians by Greatest Stories Ever Told.
11) Jack and the Beanstalk.
• Jack and the Beanstalk by Carol Ottolenghi.
• Jack and the Beanstalk by Steven Kellogg.
• Giants Have Feelings, Too/Jack and the Beanstalk (Another Point of View) by Dr. Alvin Grawowsky.
• Juan y los frijoles mágicos / Jack and the Beanstalk
by Arnel Ballester.
• Jack and the Beanstalk by Richard Walker.
12) Jack and the North West Wind
- found in The Jack Tales, Richard Chase
has a magic hen that lays golden egss in it.
13) The Milkmaid - in Aesop's Fables : A Classic Illustrated Edition (Classics Illustrated) is the classic story of the girl who counted her
chickens before they hatched thereby losing all!
14) This story is sometimes called The Rooster
at the Library or The Chicken Goes
to the Library. It's the one (bare bones) where the chicken
goes into the library several times and walk up to the librarian
saying "book, book, book, book, book " - of course sounding
like a chicken. Each time the librarian shows him a book, he takes
the book out & checks out, goes out the door and returns.
Each time saying the "book, book, book, book, book". Finally, the librarian wonders what is going on this
this chicken and follows the chicken to a pond with a lilly pad
and a frog. The chicken shows the book to the frog and the fron
replies "read- it, read- it (sounding like a frog ribbit,
ribbit)" Good library story!! I learned this story in 1992
from Caroline Feller Bauer at her workshop. She gave me permission
to tell it. I don't really know if it's her story or just out
there or what. Do you know if she wrote this??
15) Bones of The Rooster Prince by Sydell Waxman, a traditional
Hassidic tale, surely available on web.
Young Prince goes crazy, thinks he is a rooster, takes off clothes,
down on floor, eats corn only. Wise men cannot help, finally rabbi
comes. He takes off his own clothes, gets down on floor, acts
like prince, says "we roosters" as the scene goes on.
Then the rabbi begins to make suggestions, like "I'm cold,
I know I'm a rooster so I can put on clothes and still be a rooster.
Continues this way, with food, getting up from floor, etc., until
prince is behaving normally. BUT HE KNOWS HE IS REALLY A ROOSTER
so it's okay. He goes on to rule wisely and kindly knowing he
is a rooster. Many messages in this story.
15) Several people asked me for this story.This has lots of possibilities for audience participation. I've used it with preschool through first graders, and one group of first graders acted it out. Part of the charm of this story is the repetition of the whole string of characters every time, and also the repetition of the message.
The Magnificent Rooster and the Little Ant
Source: Waldorf Kindergarten newsletter several years ago--couldn't find the actual newsletter, only my photocopy of the story. I'm not sure who wrote up the story, the name is not on the first page, and I don't have the final page.
A magnificent rooster (a proud and might hero) swaggers around the barnyard in his "fine feather trousers" picking kernels of grain and worms. He sees a little ant struggling to carry a grain much larger than she is. He says "Well, well, little ant, I could eat up your grain of seed and yourself as well."
Little ant is not afraid, she answers calmly: "Please do not eat up my little grain of seed for my children need it. My children need me as well, so please do not eat me either. It would be much nicer if you could help me carry this grain of seed. I am struggling to carry it for it is really rather too large for me." Magnificent rooster answers: "Why should I, a mighty hero, carry this grain of seed for you, a little ant?" She answers calmly, "because one should help another." Rooster laughs, but carries the grain to the ant hill for her, and returns to swaggering around the barnyard.
A sly fox is hidden in tall grass by the barnyard gate, observing the rooster. Rooster hears a "voice murmuring from somewhere: 'Wouldn't you like to crow the time of day for us, mighty hero? Perhaps from down here at the barnyard gate where we can all admire you?" Rooster flies up on gate and crows, fox says "Wonderful! But didn't you know, mighty hero, that the proudest and mightiest heroes crow with their eyes closed?" Rooster closes his eyes, flaps his wings, and crows again, and fox grabs him and runs off toward his den.
Little ant has seen everything. She runs fast to the rooster's dear hen and calls: "Dear hen, the sly fox has caught our magnificent rooster, our proud and mighty hero. He has torn his fine feather trousers and taken him away to eat him!"
Hen repeats message to duck, duck repeats to goose, goose repeats to dog, dog repeats to sheep, sheep repeats to horse, horse repeats to cow, cow repeats to milkmaid, milkmaid repeats to farmer.
Farmer opens gate and runs after sly fox, and the milkmaid ran after the farmer, and the cow ran after the milkmaid (and so on through all the animals in order given), and the "little ant ran behind all the others. And the farmer called, the milkmaid shouted, the cow mooed, (etc.) . . . and the little ant was quiet, for she needed her breath to run after all the others."
The magnificent rooster says to fox: "Sly fox, you will never reach your den with me. Do you not hear that the farmer, the milkmaid--------etc-----are already quite close, and behind them all the little ant is running as well?" The fox answers, "Oh, I can run much faster than the farmer ----- etc. -----." But when the sly fox opens mouth to talk, rooster escapes and flies to tree, where he "beat his wings and raised his voice to crow the proudest, mightiest and most triumphant 'cock-a-doodle-do' that you have ever heard!"
The farmer (-----etc----) arrive, and the sly fox hurries off to his den. The magnificent rooster flies down and thanks the farmer. Farmer says, "Do not thank me, magnificent rooster. Thank the milkmaid, for she is the one who told me." The rooster thanks the milkmaid--she repeats what farmer said, only says to thank the cow, "for she is the one who told me." Rooster thanks each one in turn, until it gets back to the little ant. She says, "think nothing of it, magnificent rooster. One should always help another."
Then everyone goes back to the barnyard, and the dear hen says, "Come home, my magnificent rooster. Come home and I'll mend your fine feathered trousers."
Judith W. 5/2/05
16) The Rooster Prince
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
The Rooster Prince, also sometimes translated as The Turkey Prince, is a parable by Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, founder of the Breslov form of Hasidic Judaism. It was first told orally, and later published by Nathan of Nemirov in Sippurei Ma'asiot, a collection of stories by Rabbi Nachman. It has since appeared in numerous folklore anthologies and works on Hasidic storytelling.
In this story, a prince goes insane and believes that he is a rooster (or turkey.) He takes off his clothes, sits naked under the table, and pecks at his food on the floor. The king and queen are horrified that the heir to the throne is acting this way. They call in various sages and healers to try and convince the prince to act human again, but to no avail. Then a new wise man comes to the palace and claims he can cure the prince. He takes off his clothes and sits naked under the table with him, claiming to be a rooster, too. Gradually the prince comes to accept him as a friend. The sage then tells the prince that a rooster can wear clothes, eat at the table, etc. The Rooster Prince accepts this idea and, step-by-step, begins to act normally, until he is completely cured.
One interpretation of this story is that the prince represents a secular Jew who has forgotten his true self, and the sage represents a Hasidic Rebbe who knows the cure for his soul. Rather than condemn the secularist for being non-religious, the Rebbe "descends" to his level to meet him where he is at, then shows him how to return to God in a way that he can accept. Some Breslov Hasidim say that the "wise man" is Rebbe Nachman himself. In 1991, Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum, himself a Breslover Hasid, published an entire self-help book based on this story, entitled Under the Table and How to Get Up. This book goes step by step through the story, expanding each detail into a personal lesson on spiritual growth.
As noted above, there is some debate as to which barnyard bird was originally being referred to in the story. The parable was originally told in Yiddish. Some early translations and oral traditions rendered the Yiddish word truthahn as "Indian Cock" or rooster. (A well-known example is in Souls on Fire by Elie Wiesel, where he retells the story as heard from his Hasidic grandfather.) Others thought the word referred to the male Junglefowl or a peacock. More recently, some translators, most notably the Breslov Research Institute, have rendered it as turkey. (The fan tail of a turkey does resemble that of a peacock.) These differences do not affect the basic plot of the story.
Greenbaum, Avraham, Under the Table: Jewish Pathways of Spiritual Growth (And How to Get Up : Jewish Pathways of Spiritual Growth), Breslov Research Institute, Jerusalem, 1991.
Kaplan, Aryeh, Rabbi Nachman's Stories, Breslov Research Institute, Jerusalem, 1983. pp. 479-80. A scholarly commentary.
The Rooster Prince -- online version retold by Yonassan Gershom, with commentary.
Tooinsky, Izzi, The Turkey Prince, Penguin Putnam, London. 2001. A children's book version, illustrated by Edwina White.
Wiesel, Elie, Souls on Fire: Portraits and Legends of Hasidic Masters, Random House, New York, 1972. pp. 170-171.
Categories: Folklore | Breslov Hasidism
Parable of the Rooster Prince
a tale by Nachman of Breslov
as told by Yonassan Gershom
Once there was a prince who went mad and insisted he was a rooster. He sat on under the table naked, clucking and eating his food off the floor. The king had tried everything to cure him, but nothing worked, and he was in dispair. How could this mad son of his ever grow up to inherit the kingdom?
Then a Hasidic Rebbe (Jewish sage) arrived and said he could cure the prince. The king was desperate, so he said, "OK, fine, go ahead, I'll try anything..."
So the Rebbe took off his clothes and sat under the table, pretending to be a chicken, too. The king was totally shocked. No doubt he had expected the Rebbe to argue with the prince or try to verbally beat it out of him. But the Rebbe knew what he was doing. And so, sitting there under the table, he got to know the Rooster Prince.
Then one day, the Rebbe called for a pair of pants and began putting them on. The Rooster Prince objected, saying, "What do you mean, wearing those pants? You're a rooster -- a rooster can't wear pants!"
"Who says a rooster can't wear pants?" the Rebbe replied. ":Why shouldn't I be warm and comfortable, too? Why should the humans have all the good things?"
The Rooster Prince thought about this for a while. The floor under the table was very cold and uncomfortable.. So he asked for pants, too, and put them on.
The next day, the Rebbe asked for a warm shirt, and began to put it on. Again the Rooster Prince objected: "How can you do that? You are a rooster -- a rooster doesn't wear a shirt!"
"Who says so?" said the Rebbe. "Why shouldn't I have a fine shirt, too? Why should I have to shiver in the cold, just because I'm a rooster?"
Again the Rooster Prince thought about it for a while, and realized that he was cold, too -- so he put on a shirt. And so it went with socks, shoes, a belt, a hat.... Soon the Rooster Prince was talking normally, eating with a knife and fork from a plate, sitting properly at the table -- in short, he was acting human once more. Not long after that, he was pronounced completely cured.
Moral of the Story?
Instead of condemning the prince for being mad and acting like a rooster, the Rebbe was willing to meet him where he was and then go forward from there. Of course the prince was not really a rooster -- but the Rebbe did not try to argue him out of his madness. That would have been useless. Instead, the Rebbe began with positive reinforcement of things that the prince was willing to do, knowing that he would eventually drop the crazy "rooster business" on his own.
Sure, there were in-between stages where the prince still thought he was a rooster but was already beginning to act like a human. Similarly, there are stages in tshuvah (repentance) where a person may be only halfway there, keeping some of the mitzvot (Torah commandments) but not others. So maybe the guy keeps kosher already, but is not yet observing the Sabbath completely. He's on his way, but not there yet. But does the non-observance of some mitzvot invalidate the mitzvot he is doing? Not as far as I know, because each mitzvah has a value in itself.
Repentance is an ongoing process, not a static state of perfect observance. Nobody is totally observant, and nobody is totally sinful. We all fall someplace in the middle. As the Midrash says: Even the biggest sinners in (the people) Israel are as full of mitzvot as a pomegranate is full of seeds. We are all still traveling on that continuum somewhere.
The important thing is not whether we are doing everything perfectly, because nobody but G-d can do it perfectly, and none of us are G-d. The important thing is for our Jewish experience to be continuously growing toward an ever greater level of observance.
So, when a Jew says to me, " Look, I'm Reform, we don't do such-and-such like the Orthodox...": then I reply, " Why not? Who says a Reform Jew can't do such-and-such, too? The Torah was given to all of the Jews, and all of the mitzvot belong to all of the Jews -- so a Reform Jew can do anything that a Hasid can do."
Or, if a New Age Jew says to me that he believes in angels and reincarnation and spiritual healing, then I say, "OK, fine -- so did the Baal Shem Tov, founder of Hasidism, and so do most Hasidim today! So Let's look at some of the Jewish sources for these things..."
For each Rooster Prince that I meet in the world, I try to find that point of commonality. At sci-fi conventions, I have led discussions about < a href="trekjews.html">Jewish themes in Star Trek. In New Age groups, I will focus more on the esoteric ideas in Hasidic thought, etc. With gardeners and farmers, I can talk about the wonders of G-d's Creation and how all things are singing His praises... and so forth. In this way, I seek to meet each person where they are at, and bring them closer to the Torah, which ultimately contains all of these things -- and so much more!!!
The Torah -- in its broadest sense as the totality of all Jewish teachings -- encompasses everything on earth. M'lo kol ha-aretz k'vodo -- "The whole world is filled with His (G-d's) glory." So in everything and in every place -- even the darkest, remotest corner of the universe -- one can still find a bit of G-d's light, even if that light is obscured by layers and layers of seemingly crazy ideas. I look for those points of holy light, the points of agreement where we can understand each other, and then go forward from there. This is the Hasidic way.
(© copyright 1997 by Yonassan Gershom)
More stories online:
17) The Chicken and Egg Project
Eton School, Mexico City
This article describes a project on chickens and eggs undertaken by 5-year-old children in a bilingual school in Mexico City. It describes the three phases of the project and includes photographs and other documentation of the children’s work.
The students involved in the project belonged to a kindergarten class in a private school in Mexico City. Even though the children’s native language is Spanish, they used only English in the classroom. These youngsters were able to undertake an in-depth study of a topic in their second language.
More, including lesson plan, at:
18) A story about Gramma's Farm by Charles Egan
In 1959 when I was five, my Gramma scared me. She hardly spoke English and when she did her words had an other-worldly lilt. She was 65 and big, too, with wide shoulders and thick arms and legs, her hands callused and leathery, her knuckles swollen a little from arthritis. She wasn't affectionate, rarely held me, and had the waxy smell of fresh potatoes and cucumbers. She wore kitchen aprons and big billowy house dresses that make her seem larger than she already was. She wore thongs too, at least in the summers when I saw her, and you could hear her coming by the flapping sound they made.
She'd immigrated from Warsaw around 1910 when she was barely a teenager. She met and married my Grampa and together they built a farm outside Omaha and raised 8 kids, my mom being the fifth oldest.
As a boy I spent a lot of my summers on the farm. One of my first and most terrifying memories of Gramma was seeing her one day in the chicken yard when I was five. She had lots of chickens--two to three hundred--and normally when she'd go in the yard, they'd flock to her for food. (Seeing my Gramma scattering feed and seeing all the hens and roosters flocking to her in a spectacular cloud of dust and grain--this is another strong memory I have of her but it's eclipsed in power by the one I'm describing now.) This particular day, Gramma had no feed bucket, just a quick and agile determination that I'd never witnessed before. Again there was a cloud of feathers and dust and when she emerged from the gate, she was holding a big white rooster upside down by his feet. The thing kept squawking and cackling, trying to peck her. Next to the pen stood a chopping block with the head of a hatchet buried in it. Gramma strode up to the block, her thongs flapping, and with the nonchalance of a housewife setting a cook pot on the kitchen table, she laid the rooster's neck on the block.
At that point I had to turn away....
The rest of the story is at:
19) More rooster stories:
The Rooster Who Went to His Uncle's Wedding by Alma Ada, 1993, Gr. Ps-3
In such a hurry to get to his uncle's wedding, rooster forgets breakfast, then dirties his beak when he can't resist a kernel of corn in a mud puddle but who will help him clean it off?
The Rooster Who Went to His Uncle's Wedding by Alma Flor Ada, illustrated by Kathleen Kuchera
A Whitebird Book, G. P. Putnam's Sons, ages 4-8
In this cumulative folktale from Latin America, a rooster muddies his shiny beak and no one-not the grass, the stick, nor the dog-will help him clean it, that is, until the sun decides to help and sets off a sequence of events.
New and used books at:
Rooster Who Went to His Uncle's Wedding
The Bossy Gallito / El Gallo de Bodas: A Traditional Cuban Folktale by Lulu Delacre. Retold by Lucía González
In this cumulative Cuban folktale, a bossy rooster dirties his beak when he eats a kernel of corn and must find a way to clean it before his parrot uncle's wedding. Includes a glossary of Spanish words and information about the different birds in the story.
New and used books at:
The Bossy Gallito/El Gallo de Bodas: A Traditional Cuban Folktale (Dual Language Edition)
Gwen R. 1/7/06
Query: Looking for some more chicken stories to put into the soup- I mean coop.
Folktales, Proverbs, Riddles. Here's the few I thought of.
Prince Who Thought he Was A Chicken
Little Half Chick
Rooster Who Thinks He Makes the Sun Come Up
Bob K. 3/28/06
20) The Finnish story of The Rooster and The Magic Mill, on my website http://www.neppe.fi under Stories.
Neppe P. 3/28/06
I just found a picture book at the library called Love and Roast Chicken. It's a retelling of a South American tale from the Andes mountains region in which the trickster hero is Cuy (pronounced Qwee), the Guinea Pig who outwits Se ñor Antonio, the fox and a local farmer.
Another fun one is the extended joke in which the chicken comes to the library to check out a book. The librarian keeps giving her books about chickens, but one day is so curious she decides to follow the chicken. It turns out the chicken is taking books to the local pond and offering them to a big bullfrog sitting on the lily pad. Each time the chicken holds up the book and says inquiringly, "Book, Book, Book? Then the bullfrog replies in the past tense, "Read-it, Read-it, Read-it!"
I combine this one in a story I call Fowl Play, which involves some true experiences with mallard ducks that annually nested in the courtyard of our school. The school library where I worked for 22 years had one two story glass wall with a door in it that looked out on the completely enclosed courtyard, so we had many interesting experiences with the ducks, particularly when the babies hatched and mama wanted to take them to the pond
Judy S. 3/28/06
22) Come to Missouri next January for the annual River and Prairie Storyweavers CHICKEN FESTIVAL. We have an entire afternoon of Chicken Stories.
Steve O. 3/28/06
23) Santo Domingo de la Calzada donde cantó la gallina después de asada.
Saint Dominic of the Causeway where the chicken crowed after being roasted.
This is the town founded by Dominic García (1019 - 1109, not the one who founded the Dominicans) in La Rioja in the north of Spain. He built roads and bridges and a causeway across a bog in an area dangerous for pilgrims because of robbers, and set up an inn for them. The verse above is known by many Spaniards, but they rarely know the story. This is from my collection of Spanish and Basque legends, which is seeking a publisher.
A German couple and their 18-year-old son, Hugonell, were travelling the French Camino on their way to Santiago de Compostela, when they stopped at Santo Domingo de la Calzada to spend the night at the inn and to venerate the relics of Saint Dominic. A waitress at the inn became infatuated with Hugonell and sneaked into his room at night. She jumped into his bed, hopeful, as one source coyly puts it, of "amorous communication", but he rejected her advances.
The scorned and angry woman planted a valuable antique silver cup in Hugonell's bag and then accused him of theft. He was quickly arrested, found guilty and hanged. His distraught parents continued on their pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.
On their return to Santo Domingo de la Calzada a month later, they decided to pay their respects to their dead son, whose decomposing body they expected to find left hanging on the gallows, with the eyes plucked out and skin flayed by carrion birds, as a warning to would-be thieves, as was the custom of the time. To their astonishment, they saw that his body was uncorrupted, and he appeared to be sleeping rather than dead. When they approached, he opened his eyes and smiled at them. He explained that Saint Dominic, invisible to all other eyes, had stood by him from the moment of his execution and supported his body so that the noose would not tighten around his neck.
The parents rushed to the judge to tell him what had happened and to ask him to take their son down from the scaffold. The judge, who had just seated himself before a dinner of a roasted cock and a roasted hen, listened politely to their story. When they finished, he said, "Your son has been hanged, and he is no more alive than this cock and this hen on the platter in front of me." At that, the roasted, headless birds leapt from the table and ran out the door, crowing loudly as they went. The waitress was hanged for her false accusation. As a reminder of their predecessor's miscarriage of justice, judges of the town were formerly required to wear a rope around their necks. This was later changed to a symbolic ribbon.
According to the 12th-century Liber Sancti Jacobi, the hanged youth incident occurred in 1090 in France, and it was Santiago who held the boy up by his feet. The resurrected chickens are absent from this version. The motif of roasted chickens crowing to refute a lie is found in folk tales around the world.
Richard M. Dublin 3/29/06
I'll point you right to our friend Dianne -- and her World Fiesta CD -- the CD that actually had me singing and skipping into the medical building for a stress test (the mood didn't last; I should have brought a Walkman with me).
Mary G. 3/28/06
The chicken story we enjoy telling is Rooster Brother by Nonnie Hogrogian. It's out of print but your library may have it (note from JB: as of 3/29/06 amazon.com had 27 new and used books starting at $1.75). We often use it as an audience participation piece getting folks up to play the baker, watchmaker, tailor, thieves, bathhouse attendant. We drop in some locally known Armenian names such as Dukemejian [former governor of California] and Saroyan [William, the author, also Californian]
Tom & Sandy F. 3/29/06
25) How about Owl and Rooster from Diane Wolksteins's The Magic Orange Tree : and Other Haitian Folktales?
Norris S. 3/30/06
web page updated 2/26/04; 1/7/06; 3/30/06)