And Then Everyone Was Dead

BFF emailed me the other day and sent me the following. He knows I am obsessed with the following things:

  • Death
  • Fairy tales
  • Weird, warped, twisted things
  • Dark humor (even better when it’s not on purpose)
  • Animals

And this has ALL OF THE ABOVE.

This is most definitely why I have the best BFF in ALL THE LAND.

Also, SIDE NOTE!, BFF and I have made a VERY GRAND PLAN. This year I am all vacationed up, and next year, most of my vacation time (and money) will be spent making the most exciting trip ACROSS THE WHOLE WORLD and going to FINLAND, but the FOLLOWING year, I do NOT have plans (well, not DEFINITIVE plans) and I said, “BFF! Do you want to make a plan where we will do something in 2015?” and BFF said “YES I DO!” so we talked about what we should do and it was decided that WE WOULD GO TO MAINE. Maine is on my list of places I have never been and have always wanted to go. This is because I grew up on a steady diet of Stephen King books and read more about Maine than anywhere else in the whole world and have always wanted to visit it and see if the Maine in my head matches the Maine in the real world. Also, Maine has forests and oceans and seafood. These are all things I enjoy on a vacation. (I do not enjoy mosquitoes, but I can learn to adapt, I suppose.)

Ooh, look at all our CHOICES! This is very exciting.

Ooh, look at all our CHOICES! This is very exciting.

VACATION WITH BFF IN TWO YEARS!!! IN MAINE!!! Oh, well THIS is exciting. I’d better make sure my job doesn’t fire me before then, I’d really like to go on this one.

So today we’re going to talk about possibly, in the words of BFF, “the saddest Brothers’ Grimm fairytale I’ve ever heard in my entire life.”

Ladies, gentlemen, and whatever you are, Ding Dong Joe, I bring you:

The Death of the Little Hen

Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

One time the little hen and the little rooster went to Nut Mountain, and they agreed that whoever would find a nut would share it with the other one. Now the little hen found a large, large nut, but — wanting to eat the kernal by herself — she said nothing about it. However, the kernal was so thick that she could not swallow it down. It got stuck in her throat, and fearing that she would choke to death, she cried out, “Little Rooster, I beg you to run as fast as you can to the well and get me some water, or else I’ll choke to death.”

The little rooster ran to the well as fast as he could, and said, “Well, give me some water, for the little hen is lying on Nut Mountain. She swallowed a large nut kernal and is about to choke to death on it.”

The well answered, “First run to the bride, and get some red silk from her.”

The little rooster ran to the bride: “Bride, give me some red silk, and I’ll give the red silk to the well, and the well will give me some water, and I’ll take the water to the little hen who is lying on Nut Mountain. She swallowed a large nut kernal and is about to choke to death on it.”

The bride answered, “First run and get my wreath. It got caught on a willow branch.”

So the little rooster ran to the willow and pulled the wreath from its branch and took it to the bride, and the bride gave him some red silk, which he took to the well, which gave him some water, and the little rooster took the water to the little hen, but when he arrived, she had already choked to death, and she lay there dead, and did not move at all.

The little rooster was so sad that he cried aloud, and all the animals came to mourn for the little hen. Six mice built a small carriage which was to carry the little hen to her grave. When the carriage was finished, they hitched themselves to it, and the little rooster drove. On the way they met the fox.

“Where are you going, little rooster?”

“I’m going to bury my little hen.”

“May I ride along?”

“Yes, but you must sit at the rear, because my little horses don’t like you too close to the front.”

So he sat at the rear, and then the wolf, the bear, the elk, the lion, and all the animals in the forest. They rode on until they came to a brook. “How can we get across?” said the little rooster.

A straw was lying there next to the brook, and he said, “I’ll lay myself across, and you can drive over me.” But just as the six mice got onto the straw, it slipped into the water, and the six mice all fell in and drowned.

They did not know what to do, until a coal came and said, “I am large enough. I will lay myself across and you can drive over me.” So the coal laid itself across the water, but unfortunately it touched the water, hissed, and went out; and it was dead.

A stone saw this happen, and wanting to help the little rooster, it laid itself across the water. The little rooster pulled the carriage himself. He nearly reached the other side with the dead little hen, but there were too many others seated on the back of the carriage, and the carriage rolled back, and they all fell into the water and drowned.

Now the little rooster was all alone with the dead little hen. He dug a grave for her and laid her inside. Then he made a mound on top, and sat on it, and grieved there so long that he too died. And then everyone was dead.

There’s a lot to discuss, here.

First, the little hen. The little hen was a HUGE PIG. I’m not saying she DESERVED to die or anything, but they CLEARLY had an ARRANGEMENT and she broke it immediately. When my brother and I used to put more food in our mouths than was advisable, my mother would VERY SERIOUSLY intone, “GREEDY GUTS AND PIGGY TOES.” Which was the most annoying and now I hear it in my head every time I sit down to eat, thanks, Mom, but ANYWAY, this little hen was most definitely BOTH a Greedy Guts AND a Piggy Toes.

Don't ever show my mom this, she'll say it proves her point.

Don’t ever show my mom this, she’ll say it proves her point.

Also, “Nut Mountain.” A whole MOUNTAIN of nuts! I’m pretty sure this isn’t a euphemism. Except for the line “so thick that she could not swallow it down.” We all know THAT’S totally a euphemism.

Also, “the” little hen and “the” little rooster. Were there only two of them in all the land? AND, whoever FOUND a nut on Nut Mountain? I’d assume there would be billions of nuts there. THE WHOLE MOUNTAIN IS NAMED AFTER NUTS.

This whole story is already fraying at the seams.

I have to assume that “kernal” is how they spelled “kernel” back in the day, yeah? It’s disconcerting to me to see it spelled that way over and over like that.

Now, I think we all know from health class if little hen can still talk, little hen isn’t choking to death. Little hen is being a liar and I think little hen just wants a drink to go with her stolen nutmeats, you know?

What's it say right there? IF THE PERSON CAN SPEAK, DON'T INTERFERE!

What’s it say right there? IF THE PERSON CAN SPEAK, DON’T INTERFERE!

But little rooster is really the kindest, or maybe he’s in love with little hen, I’m not sure. I would like to say I think she’s not good enough for you, little rooster. She bogarted the kernals; she pretended to be choking to death, I can only assume for attention; and now she’s sending you off to get water on some sort of whim. She seems really high-maintenance to me. Dump her now, before things get so much worse and you’re all “Oh, Amy, this is TERRIBLE” and I’m like “I told you so, little rooster, but you chose to ignore me, so whose fault IS this, really?”

Then comes the worst murderous cockblock (no pun intended, little rooster) in the history of anthropomorphism.

First, we have a talking well. WELL (no pun intended), isn’t that something! Only for some reason, the well not ONLY refuses to give up the water, it (or is it he or she? Does a talking well have gender? This is really an interesting discussion best held by college students all in black smoking clove cigarettes, don’t you think?) says it WILL give up some water for SOMEONE WHO IS CHOKING TO DEATH (I mean, the well doesn’t have any idea little hen is a lying liar who lies, so that means the well is, in essence, holding back something that can save a life; there are some states in which that is a jailable offense, talking well) if – and ONLY if – the little rooster brings it “some red silk.”


Nice job, talking well. Well-thought-out.

Nice job, talking well. Well-thought-out. No pun intended.

Water just ruins silk. Does the well want to be pretty? This makes no sense in the entire world. Not even a LITTLE bit of sense. The well is just screwing with the rooster. I think maybe the well hates the lying little hen and WANTS her to die. Maybe there’s a love triangle going on with the well and the rooster and the hen, I don’t know. Maybe the rooster isn’t ALL little, if you know what I mean, and the well IS female.

So the poor little rooster ran on over to the bride, who apparently is the one with all the red silk? I don’t know. And was all, “ok. So my friend/girlfriend is DYING, and the effing WELL won’t give me WATER which is WHAT IT IS THERE FOR unless I, for SOME reason, bring it SILK, which it will just RUIN, but anyway, bride, please, for the love of all that’s holy, DO YOU HAVE ANY RED SILK.”

Well! Of course the bride has red silk. I mean, what bride doesn’t! But she’s not giving it up that easily, no no. She needs her “wreath” (I don’t know, I DON’T KNOW) which is apparently caught on some TREE. This whole town cares very little about the well-being of a fellow denizen, right?

So the poor little rooster zips on over to the tree. Gets the wreath. Brings it to the bride. She hands over the silk. He runs back to the well. The well gives him the water. He RUNS BACK TO THE LITTLE HEN…

…who is so, so dead. Not ONLY dead, but SO dead. So dead that she “did not move at all.”

WELL OF COURSE SHE IS. I mean, all these tasks and all this talking HAD to have taken this poor guy like most of the DAY.

I am having just the worst day, you guys. Just the WORST.

I am having just the worst day, you guys. Just the WORST.

OK, so out of respect, let’s not talk about how she got what was coming for being a greedy-guts-piggy-toes, or what REALLY killed her since we know it’s not choking since she was talking while she was supposedly choking to death, and if little rooster had paid attention during Heimlich classes, she’d be FINE now, and just mourn a little with little rooster, who’s super-sad about the loss of his greedy, lying ladyfriend, who probably would have ended up breaking his heart and leaving him high and dry one of these days, anyway, and was probably only in the relationship for his money or his kernals or to mess with his head or something like that. Let’s not speak ill of the dead, even if they were the worst.

So then things really get interesting. (Interesting in this sentence means “weird as hell.”)

Rooster starts audibly mourning; all the animals come to help. (Where were these animals when THE HEN WAS CHOKING TO DEATH?) Some car-manufacturing mice build him a carriage to bring his hen for burial, which is nice. Odd, but nice. Then they did double-duty and became horses to pull the carriage.



When rooster and his dead friend/lover/liar were on their way to the elephant burial ground, a random fox wandered up all “can I come?” and rooster was like, “sure, but sit in the back, you’ll scare my horses. Who are really mice. That’s how we do it here in Animalland.”

Then I think a sentence is missing or something.

So he sat at the rear, and then the wolf, the bear, the elk, the lion, and all the animals in the forest.

Where did all these animals come from? And how can the mice pull them? And it says it’s a SMALL carriage, how are they all fitting? ALL THE ANIMALS IN THE FOREST! And why were a hen and a rooster in the forest? Are they like wild hens and roosters?

Anyway, I feel we are missing information here, is all I’m saying. IMPORTANT INFORMATION.

So all these animals (being towed by SIX MICE, it’s not like they’re ANTS, who MIGHT be able to tow them, as ants can lift MANY TIMES THEIR BODY WEIGHT, come on, Brothers Grimm) get to the river.

How will they cross the river?

This is where I decided everyone involved in this story might be a complete moron.

OK, so this “small carriage,” loaded with 6 mice, two chickens (one dead, one alive) and ALL THE ANIMALS OF THE FOREST, decide to ride across the river ON A PIECE OF STRAW. I don’t think that’s going to work, buckaroos. Even if it does seem to be a TALKING piece of straw. Everything in this forest talks. Can you imagine sitting on the grass? It’d be all, “Get offa me, ya heavy turdmonster” and you’d be all “WHAT IS THIS?” and then you’d feel TERRIBLE.

Not all of these. ONE of these. ONE PIECE OF STRAW.

Not all of these. ONE of these. ONE PIECE OF STRAW.

Anyway, not to anyone’s surprise READING this, but to apparently EVERYONE’S surprise in the scenario, the straw didn’t work, and the mice all drowned. So now we have a dead hen and six dead mice, which is seven dead animals, in case you’re counting.

Then a TALKING COAL (I know, right, even COALS talk here) decided to GET IN THE WATER TO HELP THEM. But, surprise! THE WATER PUT HIM OUT. And then HE was dead! So now we have 7 dead animals and a dead coal, but I don’t know if I count the coal, because it was just a coal. I know, I’m a total coalist.

Then a TALKING STONE wanted to help. Boy, inanimate objects that are not helpful in water are really stepping up here, aren’t they? What about wood? There’s not like a really helpful piece of wood that might help? Because wood would be the best. Talking wood. WHERE IS THE TALKING WOOD ALL UP IN HERE.

So the carriage like 99% made it over the rock, but EVERY ANIMAL IN THE FOREST, remember, was riding all way in the back, making it totally back-heavy, and although the rooster, who at this point had taken the role of the mouse-horses, and his dead nefarious gal-pal had made it over the rock, the rest of the small carriage did not, and ALL OF THE ANIMALS IN THE FOREST FELL IN THE RIVER AND DROWNED.

(If you read that paragraph out of context it looks like I dropped acid before writing this blog post.)

Now, either that’s a really deep and fast river, or there weren’t many animals in that forest. I mean, seriously, what is it, the Amazon? It drowned ELK? And BEARS? Good gracious. What a river. I mean, you’d think that river would talk, right? Every other damn thing in this story did. I’d like to hear this story from the point of view of the river. Or the kernal. That totally girthy and unswallowable kernal.

Is it this river? You're not getting over this sucker with a straw or a coal, you stupid optimistic animals.

Is it this river? You’re not getting over this sucker with a straw or a coal, you stupid optimistic animals.

So the rooster, all alone in the WHOLE FOREST because for SOME REASON every single damn animal IN THE WHOLE FOREST decided to ride on a SMALL CARRIAGE and mourn a LYING HEN (well, I guess he’s not totally alone, considering all the things talk, except the river and the kernal) digs a grave for his hen, buries her, sits on it, and cries himself to death. He does not eat, he does not sleep. He cries and I think starves to death, I assume because he has lost his ladylove, no one in the forest would help him, and he is to blame for the death of ALL THE ANIMALS IN THE FOREST. I mean, that’s a heavy weight to bear, you know?

And then everyone was dead.




(Can I just say, though, that NOT everyone was dead? Who lives? Well, the people who live are the talking well and the bride. And that means the moral of this story is to waste someone’s time who is trying to save someone else’s life by sending him on pointless errands and then you’ll live while everyone else in the forest dies, and I think that is a very bad moral. This would make a terrible Aesop’s Fable.)

Seriously, can you imagine reading this to a child with their little innocent eyes and such? And you’d get farther and farther along into the story and they’d be like “NO NO WHAT NO PLEASE WHY SO MUCH DEATH?” and you’d shrug and say, “That’s how the Brothers Grimm rolled, Little Lulu. AND THEN EVERYONE WAS DEAD. And someday, I will be dead. AND SO WILL YOU. Maybe even tomorrow, you never know when you might choke on a kernal. Sleep well, lemon tart!” and then you turn off the light and leave them alone WITH THEIR THOUGHTS.

...why momma why...

…why momma why…

Good parenting 101, am I right?

Have a happy Wednesday, MY little lemon tarts.

Watch out for kernals.

And lying significant others who break your little rooster-hearts.

And wells that want things before giving over their water.

And friends who want to tag along, but weren’t helpful when you needed it.

And inanimate objects that SEEM helpful, but will really just lead to drowning.

And mourning so much that you end up dead.

Otherwise, have the best day, you know? Just the utter best. Kisses. Love your faces.

About lucysfootball

I'm not the girl with the most cake. Someday. SOMEDAY. View all posts by lucysfootball

39 responses to “And Then Everyone Was Dead

  • mfennvt

    Have you read any Russian fairy tales? They’re even more fun.


  • lynnettedobberpuhl

    Holy crap! Classic Amy post, right up there with Rudolph. “paragraph out of context…” Hoo!

    Obscure fairy tales are better with Lucy’s Football.


  • grrgoyl

    LOL if we weren’t both ladies, I’d offer to have your baby.


  • sj

    I would read a book of just you deconstructing faerie tales. Make this happen.


      • sj

        See, Amy? THE PEOPLE DEMAND IT!


        • lucysfootball

          Hee! How about I just do it here more often? Because the amount of time I have to write a book…um…well, it’s zero.


          • franhunne4u

            Well, if you can write it into your blog, you got that time – and so you – purely theoretically here – could as well take that time to write it in a text-programme, save it, just not on the wordpress-server, but on your hard drive, and send a collection of those little jewels out as a manuscript to some agent … just a weird suggestion of course. I LOVE to be able to read it without paying for it ;P


            • lucysfootball

              I thought about that, but would feel bad publishing (or attempting to publish) something I’d already written here, that people had already read – mostly because most of my audience would be the people that read my blog, and they wouldn’t buy something they’d already read! I’ll have time. Someday. Hopefully.


    • lucysfootball

      Kickstart me a year’s salary, and I am ON IT.


      • the diarist

        Okay seriously? why is this the time you AREN’t litlistening to sj. because the world needs a book like that. Or, I do. I need a book like that.


        • lucysfootball

          I have no time! I don’t even have time to sleep and eat and write HERE on a regular schedule, how would I schedule in writing a book, too?

          If I had a year off work, then I could write a book. A year off work PAID. With the guarantee my job would be waiting when I got back. And I’m fairly sure that’s not going to happen. They actually need me there, which I love. I have things to do! That matter! Yay, new job!


  • Kris

    I agree with sj!!

    So many snort-laughs!!!

    Also, “talking wood” – euphemism or no??


  • Andreas Heinakroon

    What annoys me the most is the ludicrous idea that birds could suffocate of food. That is an almost totally exclusive human trait, and is due to us having an extended voice box. Even though many birds are experts at vocalising, they don’t suffer from having their epiglottis not reaching their soft palate and leaving the airway wide open for food stuff to get stuck in.

    Silly Brother’s Grimm.


    • Samantha

      The scientific explanation of this story’s impossibility is amazing. Usually that would make me say “It’s JUST A STORY” but in this case, it’s completely awesome. Thanks Andreas. :)


    • lucysfootball

      Well, you put a stop to that story right in the first few paragraphs. See why I keep a Science Fellow around, people? Because he KNOWS ABOUT ALL THINGS SCIENCE!

      Here’s a thing Andreas knew the other day: that penguins have knees. No, sincerely. He did. Isn’t that the best? He didn’t even have to look it up.

      (I *knew* Little Hen was lying. I KNEW IT. She’s the worst. Just the WORST.)


  • blogginglily

    I am incapable of eating popcorn appropriately. I am a greedyguts for popcorn. I use a fist size portion, which is like 5-10 kernels (popped) too many, and I end up chewing it as I stuff it into my mouth…in order to get more to fit. It’s like a food processor with that little shover thingy attachement. You just push more food in as the food processor slices the food up. That’s how I eat popcorn.

    I need to take a picture of that.


  • Samantha

    LOL. Euphemisms galore!

    I don’t think it was Brothers Grimm, it was another collection of fairy tales I read once, that I wish I could remember what they were called and read them again, because they were so awful as a child (but fascinating, no happy endings for sure) and for some reason usually involved a lot of decapitation. I’m not sure. I just remember my aunt gave it to me. (Her and my grandma have always given me the best books when my age could affect what I should read :P)


    • lucysfootball

      SO many euphemisms. This story really is the best. Also the most gruesome. And worrisome.

      I didn’t read fairy tales for gore when I was a kid, but re-reading them now makes me wonder, “were those really appropriate for wee Amy, and are they the reason I’m so gore-obsessed now, I wonder?”


  • the diarist

    For the first third of this I was trying to figure out what historical event this was supposed to represent. (Bubonic plague? That’s it. That’s all I could come up with.) Then I started wondering if the bride was from India, where brides dress in red and white is used for mourning and would be super unlucky to get married in, back in the day.

    Then I started laughing and trying to laugh quietly and then I started laughing even louder.

    This cracked me up. Seriously. I think sj’s on to something.


    • lucysfootball

      Yay, I’m glad. I was cracking up all over writing this, and I was hoping people would like it. It made me happy.

      If I had all the free time and unlimited money, I would totally write a million books. Someday. When I’m a happy retired lady sitting on my porch chasing the kids away with my cane and my walker with tennis balls on the feet. Then I’ll write my books. And watch my stories.


      • the diarist

        well, I hope you get a round tuit before then, because I’m older than you and I want to still have my faculties. (I keep visualizing myself wheeling around a nursing home with your book in hand, saying, “I know her. I read her blog. Hey, kid. I know her.” Gads, I need to keep the book part but put that visual somewhere else. A cabin in the woods with a lover, maybe. “Hey, hone, I read her blog. Hey, hey, I read her blog.”)

        Okay. Done with badgering you. For the night at any rate.

        Thank you for the laugh. You totally cracked me up.


        • lucysfootball

          When I was little, my grandmother had a Little Round Tuit, and I thought that was so clever. I liked wacky wordplay even then.

          We will all be kickass old people. We’ll continue to rule the world, only we’ll be a little slower at it. With wheelchairs. And Hoverounds.


  • An Embarrassment of Freedom

    On behalf of the little red hen ( as an old, chick lit friend) it is good to have this all out in the open but happily she is all recovered and living a new, happy but desperate barnyard life as the bride of Foghorn Leghorn Jr. She has learned to Grimm and bear it.


  • sharpkitty

    I am still wondering what the point of this whole story is. Everyone dies?? Don’t swallow big nuts?? Don’t get help from talking wells?? What IS the moral???


    • lucysfootball

      I think it’s got to be that the more rude and ordering-people-around you are, the better chance you have of surviving when all the animals in the forest perish. Right? Right.


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